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CD3K Woody impressions

post #1 of 270
Thread Starter 
Lesson #1: "Ears First"

I admittedly have trouble hearing harmony and/or harmonics, so any "woodyness" that the CD3000 signature gains would conceivably be more extreme (ergo more enjoyable) to someone else's ears. (for example, whilst Larry reacted instantly to the Woody vs. Stock sound, it took a while to "Set In" for me.) FWIW, YMMV.


I hypothesize that those who feel the mids are somehow "lacking" on the CD3000 (as i've read a few times) will benefit from Larry's woody (heh heh), as through my experience i've come to accept that the stock CD3K is lacking, not in detail or anything like that, but that there's just a sort of richness that the stock cups/foam are devoid of.



Lesson #2: "Garbage In, Garbage Out"

I didn't want to write this sooner (sorry for the wait) because I hadn't yet heard it on a good amp, so I was pretty excited when my V2-SE arrived. Not only because i've been awaiting the amp for multiple months, but since I could now be positive that my signal path was up to the tasks set before me. Also, the extra time allowed Larry to do different/better/newer designs on the cups as well as figure out how to put the cord into both cups instead of stringing it through the headband, which I felt made the Woody vs. Stock comparison easier, at least to my ears. Hope the wait wasn't too long, and if anybody needs extra help, elaborations, or some chili cheese fries, just let me know. I can be reached quite easily via PM, e-mail (sduibek@yahoo.com), or IM.



Lesson #3: "Stock = Bad; Modding = Good"

To prove that the plastic cups and foam damping on the stock CD3000 is sucking something out of the sound, we need only to remove them. After watching Larry go through the tedious effort of removing the pads so that the cups could be removed, I listened to my phones without any cups at all. I actually liked what I heard, such that I questioned him if it would be possible to create an "open-aire CD3000" (). Since then I've realized that I wouldn't be fully satisfied with the Open CD3000 sound, but overall I prefer it over the Stock. To my ears the soundstage is actually better when open, there's less of the "blip" effect, and the curvature of the soundstage sounds less fake, more "wide and straight" like i've heard people say about the R10. (sadly, I don't have enough experience to say with certainty whether this change in soundstage is subject to closed vs. open, the damping, or the plastic cup. Although i'm willing to bet it's the plastic and foam, since the Woody soundstage is just fine, even though it's closed.)



Lesson #4: "Coloration Can Be Good"

Before you begin to hate my use of the word coloration, please read the entire paragraph below. If you still dislike my use of said word, feel free to let me know in explicit language. That way you'll get banned from HeadFi and I won't have to listen to you anymore. Just kidding.

The first time I tried out the Woody sound, they were about 1/2" - 3/4" thick, IIRC. They were also not fully smoothed out on the inside (i.e. products not meant to be sold just yet), and to be honest some of them I liked equal to or less than Stock. But today I compared a few of the Thick Woodies (heh heh) on my V2-SE, and these woodies were nice and smooth on the inside. I heard Zebra, Purple Heart, Paduak, and... can't remember the other ones. Blast. In any case, the differences were interesting. I only sometimes liked the soundstage of the original Woodies compared to Stock, but the soundstage is even bigger (but by no means faker or less hifi) on these new Woodies, and makes the older woodies seem kind of like a Grado in comparison. Besides the signature sound of each wood which may "remove" frequencies, these new Thick Woodies only "add" to and increase the HiFi-ness of the CD3000.

I think it's cool for people to go after transparency, but if you think about it, all devices technically have some sort of signature. I don't believe wood is any different. Of course these Woodies change the sound of the CD3000 slightly, they add their own, "woody-ness" to the sound. I would call this Coloration. But in this case (as with, say, tubes), it sounds very nice. If we wanted totally clean sound, we've have just a driver hanging there like the K1000s. Well, I want closed headphones, and the Open-Aire CD3000 didn't cut it for me in the Sound Quality department. So if in this case we need Coloration, why not use the best coloration available? Wood! Little side-track there, sorry.



Conclusion: (also known as Lesson #5: Read The Whole Post )

I already knew how big a difference a re-cabling could make (from my HD590 days), so it's been pretty fun getting to mess around with Larry's Woody (heh heh). I'm currently awaiting a Purple Heart (no, not because of how it looks; the sound is what matters.) and that will be the last upgrade to my system for a long, long time. The Purple Heart seemed to "clean up" the sound across the spectrum, without emphasizing or sucking out any frequency too much, and I really liked what it did for the bass. Things like timpanis sounded very natural, and the vibration of the drum's skin after being striken was audible, whereas it defnitely was not on other Woodies. The Purple Heart literally had information in the low end that the other Woodies did not have. Pretty interesting. Obviously each person has their own tastes though, so I implore you to ask myself and Larry, and whoever else you can, to figure out which Woody's sound is right for you. In any case, everything I threw at my Purple Heart Recabled CD3000s sounded fantastic to my ears, and that's all that matters.


Addendum:

I'd be interested to see what some of the CD3000 nay-sayers have to say if they ever lay their hands on a Woody.

Hope you had fun reading my Woody Review. I definetely had fun taking part in this whole thing. Thanks, Larry! Thanks, HeadFi!

References to "Larry" are talking about the owner of www.headphile.com, in case anybody was unclear
post #2 of 270
Kewl.

You tried the CD3000's open? Nice to hear that you tried it. I didn't even think about that one as a possibility, even though they were designed with closed ear cups in mind. Even though it didn't sound good, bravo for thinking outside the box., er uh, ear cup....

I couldn't tell from the pictures, but are the "Woody" cups angled like the stock plastic ones? The angling of the ear cups may help the sound as Sony intended their ear cups to be angled like the R10's, which seem to have a steeper angle for some reason. Although, I haven't measured it, so I'm only guessing from pictures of the CD3000's and past experience.

-Ed
post #3 of 270
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Edwood
You tried the CD3000's open? ... Even though it didn't sound good, ...
Actually, I seem to remember saying I liked Open over Stock. I think it's just because the damping and plastic suck something out of the sound... when they were open they just sounded cleaner and more natural to me. It was only after hearing the newest rendition of the Woodies that I realized how bad Open sounds in comparison. And Stock is even worse, so I try to avoid hearing it at all...


Quote:
Originally Posted by Edwood
I couldn't tell from the pictures, but are the "Woody" cups angled like the stock plastic ones? The angling of the ear cups may help the sound as Sony intended their ear cups to be angled like the R10's, which seem to have a steeper angle for some reason. Although, I haven't measured it, so I'm only guessing from pictures of the CD3000's and past experience.
If I remember correctly, they are not angled. The inside curves down to a flat plane. I am really curious how it sounds when angled like that, though... future product, perhaps? In any case, the lack of angling doesn't make the soundstage sound fake or anything. I like the Woody soundstage better than Stock or Open CD3000s.
post #4 of 270
it's so hard to resist these kind of stuff..
post #5 of 270
Sduibek:
The CD3000 were designed to be closed, those drivers as many others are not designed at all to work on an open space, even though, and just for curiosity, I also tried them like that some time ago, and I did not find that the sound is better that way at all, the sound get lost in space that way IMO, and it loose the nice sounstage...
If you want to use woodies good for you, if you find that mod a good addition, good for you, but please this is one thing (BTW a very possible fact, as wood has better propperties soundwise) and another is stating that even no cup is better, this IMO is not true, and we already have too much misinformation about the CD3000. I do not believe that the CD3000 can't sound, and IMO does not sound better open, than close, as they were designed to work as a closed headphone, and not as open....please!!!!!!!!

I found the CD3000 to sound ridiculously good the way they are to even think in any mod yet....LOL...but this is just me....

And why not stop experimenting with a headphone that really sounds good the way it is, and leave all those mods and experiments for the ones who really need it, eh???? Just my two cents...
post #6 of 270
I wished I lived in Washington.

That's the way to do it, in my opinion. Listen to them without cups, and then wish the huge selection that is now available.
post #7 of 270
The woody mod plus the cable mod is about $300, almost the price of a new pair of CD3000.
post #8 of 270
Quote:
Originally Posted by ampgalore
The woody mod plus the cable mod is about $300, almost the price of a new pair of CD3000.

A tenth of the price of the R10 too. So your point is...
People often use tweaks that may outweight the cost of the component itself. A good example is the APL Mod for the DV-563.
post #9 of 270
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sduibek
[size=3]Well, I want closed headphones, and the Open-Aire CD3000 didn't cut it for me in the Sound Quality department. So if in this case we need Coloration, why not use the best coloration available? Wood! Little side-track there, sorry.
Sduibek,

You're absolutely right. There is no such thing as coloration-free sound reproduction. The best we can hope for is to minimize the effects of a component's contribution to the sound. And if we want a closed headphone, wood seems to be the natural choice as enclosure material.

In a sense, open headphones can sound "cleaner", but I am not convinced that they have less coloration. I believe the sonic character of the membrane plays a bigger role in open headphones. Since an open headphone has no "air-spring", no enclosed space the membrane has to work into, there has to be a greater danger of over-excursion, of membrane over-shoot. I suspect that the membrane's self-resonance is less controlled in an open design. And I always find open headphones somewhat lacking in the fundamentals region. Generally, I prefer the richness and fullnees of closed headphones.

I am not fond of the stock CD3000, but I am very curious what Larry's wood models sound like. Congratulations on your purple heart CD3000, Sduibek!
post #10 of 270
Sduibek,could you post some impressions on how do different wood types sound?Is the purple heart clearly better than all the others?
post #11 of 270
At the last Chicago meet I listened to the CD3K's on some primo equipment and walked away amazed by their sound. I cannot conceptualize their sound with wooden cups. I do wonder if the difference in sound is worth the price. If I had plenty of cash I wouldn't care because the pictures of the woodies are good enough--if I were rich. I do wonder if the change in sound is not a placibo effect. I don't think wood would make the sound worse, I'm just not sure it would make it that much better.
post #12 of 270
Quote:
Originally Posted by Norbert
At the last Chicago meet I listened to the CD3K's on some primo equipment and walked away amazed by their sound. I cannot conceptualize their sound with wooden cups. I do wonder if the difference in sound is worth the price. If I had plenty of cash I wouldn't care because the pictures of the woodies are good enough--if I were rich. I do wonder if the change in sound is not a placebo effect. I don't think wood would make the sound worse, I'm just not sure it would make it that much better.
Ditto, you put the right words in my mouth, this is exactly my impression, I do not like to talk of, (or bash) anybody's work, specially this kind of work, that is so talented and artistic, as in fact they look terrific, and I love the way they look, but I have my doubts about the audio aspect, I do not see how they could improve the sound, and not because wood could or not do it, is just that I love the way it sounds the way it is....I feel that I'm not missing anything, at least not yet, in almost 2 years of relationship, ignorance is a bliss, and call my conformist if you like, but this is solely my personal point of view....and why I had not jump in that wagon, unless more evidence or at least I feel that need.....I won't....the cable is another story though....
post #13 of 270
Norbert,
why won't you become a member, then? we welcome you!

Sovkiller,
i haven't said that for a long time, but.. relax man
on the one hand, you say you don't think it would make an improvement, on the other hand, you say that ignorance is bliss... you are curious about the mods, i know it
there is always room for improvement! none of the products we love was made from our ideals of sound, which meen that we sometimes have to discover them!
you don't have to defend your stock CD3000 or something.. you and i know that they sound just great
just sit back with your CD3000 and music, and wait for a lot of impressions and maybe some improvements in the woodies.. i, for myself, am too happy with my Stock CD3000 with the DI/O. in half a year i'll take a look how many people did the upgrade, and then i'll do it all; cable and woodies, if i'll feel the difference worth the money!
post #14 of 270
Sduibek,

Congratulations.

I do have to ask if the stock was ever listened to without the foam donut, if the foam donut is used with the woodies, if other materials were tried (like cotton acoustic batting or cotton balls), if the "deeper" woodies you mention reflect the same internal volume as the stock, and if the stock flange is used with the woodies as the stock flange, I believe, angle the drivers.

Post script,

Where're the pics?
post #15 of 270
Quote:
Originally Posted by AdamZuf
Sovkiller,
I haven't said that for a long time, but.. relax man
on the one hand, you say you don't think it would make an improvement, on the other hand, you say that ignorance is bliss... you are curious about the mods, i know it
Sorry Adam, do not misunderstood me, I'm not saying that I do not believe it will improve the sound, what I said was that I do not see how, I do not visualize (as Norbert said) in which areas, as the CD3000 IMO sound terrific the way it is to my ears...I heard mainly rock just as a side note.

But if you find that there is a flaw that needs to be correctted, which is perfectly understandable as we all hear diferently, and feel that the wood would correct that flaw, go ahead....
While I said ignorance is a bliss, was referring to that I have not heard anything better yet, and honestly I do not want to, my wallet is already pretty bad hurt, unless I manage to sell one of those CD3000 I have extra here....
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