BeyerDT931 + Equinox Impressions
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Number9

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I've made a recent discovery that may be good news for DT931 owners and/or those considering the 931s.

I've been using the 931s for a couple of years now. I chose them for what they do well - nice clear sound - top to bottom. I had tried the Senheiser HD580 and Grado 325, and I preferred the Beyer sound.

But after living with them a while, I started to encounter some of the same complaints heard here on Headfi and Headwize. That they can be at times bright and can be a thin on the bass. The 931s don't seem to get much respect around here as a result. I think this is actually a great headphone, but it needs some work ....

Last year, I picked up a Wheatfield HA-2 from Kshaft. This was a synergistic match, but I felt there was still room for improvement. After some tube rolling experiments, I found that my favourite output tube for the Wheatfield was the Tung Sol 5998. I checked with Pete Millett who designed the HA-2, and he guessed that the 5998 would provide a 70 Ohm output impedance.

As many of you know, the Beyers were designed for 120 Ohms. So on Jan Meiers advice, I added a 50-Ohm resistor in the signal path. That helped. But then I tried a 120 Ohm resistor. That helped even more. Bass was now much more solid, maybe a little too much bass. I finally scaled back to a 100 Ohm resistor.

So now, no one could say the Beyers lacked bass. There was oodles of it. But after a lot of careful listening, something was still not "perfect" in the bass. For example, on bass guitar, you could hear the strumming clearly and powerfully, but there was a little bit of a "hollowness" to the notes. It should have been fuller, more weight.

Enter the Stefan AudioArt Equinox, which I ordered in a custom length so I could hook up to the Beyers. With the Equinox, at first, there was way, way too much bass. It was kind of muddy.
Did not like it. So I went back to a 50-ohm resistor in the path.

The bass is now amazing. Bass is nice and solid. My wife - who is not into headphones one bit - listened to a couple of her CD's through my setup and said: Wow, really great bass!

So what is the lesson here?
Jan Meier has been right all along. Beyers need 120 Ohms.
But if you want a warmer sound, with bass that has weight, the Equinox makes a very big difference. According to reviews here, the Equinox has a forgiving sound, so it removes some of the edge of the 931 too.

The stock Beryer cable is not all that bad. But if you like the Beyer clarity and openness, with a bit more warmth and bass presence, feed it through a 120 Ohm output and an Equinox cable. It really brings the Beyer's to another level. Unfortunately, don't have Senn 600s to compare to, this would be an interesting comparison.

Caveats - I can see some people who had gotten very used to the 931s in stock form, and may find the Equinox makes the sound too smooth and warm for some peoples tastes. Personnally, I find it strikes just the right balance.
 
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Toe

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Very interesting! Could you compare the 'new' sound to that of any other headphones, especially other Beyers?
 
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Number9

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I have not heard the other Beyers: 831, 990, 770 or 20/250, 250/80. So I cannot compare.

From what has been said in these threads, is that the 990 and 770 bass can be a little boomy and loose. But everyone has personal tastes - so I don't want to start an argument. All I know is, that with the Equinox and 120 Ohm matching, the bass with the 931s is very, very good.

Anyone who has heard the 931s through the stock cable and a 0 Ohm output, would be hearing a very different animal altogether.

The 931 has clairity in spades. With the Equinox, the 931s no longer lack bass weight (with the proper impedance loading) or warmth. Transformation.

Maybe now, more people will give the 931s a chance and find them more to their liking.
 
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Ebonyks

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Where did you get an equinox cable for the 931's? I looked on the site, and i saw nothing about a 931 cable. Can ya tell us your seceret
 
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Number9

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James at StefanAudioArt can provide a custom cable.

It's the same Equinox as provided for the Senn 600, but without the little connectors for the earpieces. So it is terminated with two bare wires, which makes it very easy to solder to the DT 931 drivers. He identifies which is the signal and ground wires so that they get soldered properly.
 
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Ebonyks

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Ok, thanks alot. I'm getting in some 931's from jan soon enough (i'll be sending out the money on monday) and want them to sound the best possible.
 
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kelly

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nine
Thanks for posting this. I had wondered about this myself. Jan uses the Clou with his DT931 which is my least favorite of the Clou/Cardas/Equinox. The Cardas is, in my view, built best to correct the flaws of the HD600. The Equinox is more for people who like the HD600 as it is.... which, is why I wondered if it would be the best one for the DT931. I think you're right that the 931 clearly needed more bass. I wonder about the other coloration in general though--I wonder if making the headphone "more forgiving" is something I would want.

I don't presently own the DT931 but debate it from time to time. This hobby is addictive and silly--I already have a collection of headphones but curiosity overwhelms me. I'm going to borrow someone else's stock 931 soon and decide more about it.

I'm a little confused about the resistor. Jan recommends a 120 ohm resistor and you're using a 50 ohm? Or is that 50 ohm in combination with a tube that is already adding another 70 ohm? This must be what you meant.
 
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Number9

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Kelly ... Hmmm, if I recall, Jan Meier uses his 931s with a custom Belden cable. But perhaps I lost track.

As for resistance.
My Wheatfield, when used with a 5998 output tube provides a 70 Ohm impedance. That is why I add a 50-Ohm resistor to the signal wire (connected at the driver) to bring it up to 120 - which is the recommend resistance for the Beyers. The resistor adds a little more bass and smooths the highs.

With the stock cable, I used a 100 Ohm resistor (70 + 100), which added a lot of bass, but the bass timbre was still not right. That to me, is the key benefit of the Equinox. Not necessarily more bass, but quality of bass. Another point worth mentioing re: the Equinox. It lowers the noise floor noticeably over the stock cable.

It would be nice to see how the Cardas would fare. It is supposedly a little more transparent than the Equinox. But quite frankly, I don't feel I am missing anything with the Equinox right now. Maybe in six months something will show up.
 
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Jan Meier

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Number9, I'm glad you like your "new" DT931 :)

and yes, I indeed use a home-made Belden cable. (but that's simply because I'm too miserly to buy myself a decent professionally made cable :)
 
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Nightfall

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Quote:

Originally posted by Jan Meier
Number9, I'm glad you like your "new" DT931 :)

and yes, I indeed use a home-made Belden cable. (but that's simply because I'm too miserly to buy myself a decent professionally made cable :)



Which Belden cable, Jan? Perhaps I should upgrade my 931's!
 
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Jan Meier

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Dear Nightfall,

All the information on upgrading the cable can be found in the chapter "tips and tricks" on my home-page: www.meier-audio.com

Cheers,

Jan
 
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Gluegun

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Hello Jan!

Would it be possible for one to order an already 'decked out' set of DT931's from you? As in, would it be possible to pay you to install the cable, and package it and a 120 ohm resistor as with the headphones themselves?

So one would get everything at once, immediately ready to plug into an amp??
 
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Jan Meier

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Gluegun,

Sorry, but I don't offer modified headphones.

However, maybe some fellow Headfier will be able to help you out. Simply ask around.

Cheers,

Jan
 
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Gluegun

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Yea, probably... I'm just curious on this concept of an "Open Ety"...


Since I've pretty much decided that a REAL ety isn't for me (feels too wierd), i'm interested in open stuff...

I wonder if I could pursuade someone to do this mod for me.. hmmm...
 
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Gluegun

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Okay, so, to do this the right way, for use with an 0 ohm jack like most normal headphone amps, one would have to do this, right?

*Take the Stock DT931 headphones
*Get a custom Equinox cable from James at StefanAudioArt
*Add a 40 ohm resistor at the base each driver
*Get one of the 80 ohm adaptor cables from fixup, or the Ety extensions from Headroom
*Solder the Equinox cables to the DT931 drivers
*Connect your now-customized DT931's to an amp and go!
 
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