Beyerdynamic DT-1770 Mod Thread

  1. TwoEars
    Hi, guys. This started as a post over in the DT-1770 discussion thread but I'm moving it here out of respect for that thread and not to hijack it too much.
     
    So here's the story. Right away when I got the DT1770's I noticed that these cans had potential, the midrange was nice and smooth, treble was extended and smooth, soundstage was very good and precise for closed cans, timbre was good, bass was deep and with layering. But I also noticed that these cans had a few problems. The problems were these:
     
    1) For me the midrange lacked intimacy, air and ease compared to my HD650 and HD800. The DT1770 sounded good... but something was wrong. The sound was a little bit "slow" or "mellow". I didn't automatically want to grab the DT1770's over my HD650's. For a lack of a better word the DT1770's lacked absolute transparency and musicality. Female vocals didn't really grab me.
     
    2) The midrange was great, but the bass was overpowering and bleeding into the midrange. In stock form these are not neutral cans, not by a longshot. I would not recommend these stock for mixing. Not as bad as some other high-end closed cans on the market but still...  EQ'ing will be needed. More on that later.
     
    First off before I did anything else I put the DT1770's on an accelerated burn-in schedule. 30 hours of Rammstein on loud volume. There is not a can in the world which isn't at least 90% burned in after that, but the sound didn't really change much. I had hoped that the midrange would open up but it didn't, more drastic measures were needed. I started by taking off the headphone cushions and then also the thick foam pads on either side of the headphone. This was a big improvement in the midrange, definitely clearer and more easy going. But now something else was bothering me, when playing tracks with a lot of bass I could hear small crackling sounds. It sounded like something was moving about. Almost as if the white textile mebrane which had been behind the thick foam piece was now moving about, and maybe it was. So I listened for an hour or so more and then I decided to go all in.
     
    In the end these were all the things which came out of the DT1770's and which were obstructing the sound:
     
    DSC00837.jpg
     
    One thick foam piece, one thin textile mebrane, another thin membrane. I suppose it's all there to tune the sound but you gotta remember that whenever you tune sound using foam and membranes you also take away alot of details, directness and ease in the music. In the extreme case scenario imagine listening to a pair of headphones through a pillow, how good does that sound? Ideally you want as little as possible between your ears and the headphone drivers. The more direct path the better, the rest is EQ if needed. And here is the end result:
     
    DSC00834.jpg
     
    Looks pretty good. And here is the HD650 for comparision. Also with visible driver:
     
    DSC00842.jpg
     
    This here opened up the midrange of the DT1770 something astronomical. Problem solved. Now let's deal with that bloated bass. This might change but right now I settled on a -3.5 dB bass EQ from zero to about 200 Hz. Then I also EQ'ed down the treble about 3 dB to compensate for removing all those treble reducing foams and mebranes. Like this:
     
    EQ.jpg
     
    And the result? To my ears these headphones are now so much better it's not even funny. Before the midrange was failing to engage but now female vocals are sending shivers down my spine and making my hairs stand on end. The treble is more extended and much clearer but stops shy of being harsh to my ears, even without treble EQ it's still more forgiving than a stock HD800. The bass is clearer and better layered, and after EQ'ing it down it no longer bleeds into the midrange. The bass is there, it's good but it's no longer trying to take center stage. Not all headphones respond well to removing bass, we got lucky in that the DT1770 has no problems with this.
     
    Before my mods I was on the fence about keeping these, I was worried that since they failed to engage me they would just be collecting dust. But now with the mods I'm definitely keeping them. The sound can be summed up like this:
     
    Bass: Much better and more layered then HD600/650. Not quite as deep, tight or layered as the HD800, but still very good (yes - the HD800 has world class bass, just give it a +3db bass boost).
    Midrange: As good as HD600/650, and I'm not saying that lightly.
    Treble: Clearer, airier than HD600/650. But not harsh or metallic in the way that a stock HD800 can be. A few dB down to compensate for lack of foam and other things does the trick.
    Soundstage: Absolutely fantastic for closed cans, more precise than HD600/650. Not as big as HD800 but for closed cans very, very good.
    Musicality/intimacy: The mods completely changed this for me. Before it felt lacking but now I wonder if it isn't as good as the HD600/650.

     
    Yupp. In their current form these are keepers, they're not going anywhere.
     
    If you only listen to classical or midrange focused music, and have no problems with open cans, I think you should still listen to and consider the HD600/650, and probably the new Hifiman 400S as well. But if you specifically want a closed set of cans with a neutral reference type sound, and which can play a bit of everything, these are you babies right here.
     
     
    FYI - this is how you take them apart:  You can try the mod without going "all in" like I did. You can start with just removing the big foam piece first. If so start with removing the cushions, then pull up on the exposed plastic lip with your fingernails. It should come loose. Pull up on the inner plastic lip. Like this:
     
    DSC00844.jpg
     
    And it should come apart like this:
     
    DSC00846.jpg
     
    The plastic ring will flex a little but it's very sturdy, I'd say the risk of damaging it is pretty low. Then when you mount it back together take care to align the plastic lip in the right direction, it only goes in one way. Then you can remove the big foam piece, mount it back together, and see how you like. I'm not saying the sound change is for everyone, probably not for bassheads. But for people who like HD600/650/800 and neutrality I think it's worth trying.
     
    Update: I made an XLR adapter cable for my tube amp (before it was straight from the DAC) and now I don't think there's a need for any EQ at all actually. It's still a tad bass heavy compared to neutral but I can live with it. Treble is not at all harsh, just extended and smooth. Very smooth. I was actually surprised at how much change there was in powering the cans from my tube amp, seems these cans are very transparent and respond very well to tube amps just like the T1 and HD800 does. Here's the complete rig now. Sounds great! A little bit like the HE-500 actually, a pretty fun powerful sound but also detailed and extended.
     
    DSC00856.jpg
     
    That's it from me. I hope someone else wants to have a try at modding their DT-1770's at some point [​IMG] 
     
    Richter Di, jinxy245 and Subhakar like this.
  2. thehexagonal
     
    Quick contribution, quote from another thread.
     
    I will try the stocking solution to protect the driver from hairs and dirt.
     
    Quote:
     
     

     
    Richter Di likes this.
  3. DangerToast
    Wow! Thought these sounded good out of the box, but this mod takes them to another level! I didn't even go "all in," just removed the large black piece of foam sitting on top. The treble has really come alive and I feel like there's less distance between me and the music.
     
    Thank you!
     
  4. TwoEars
     
    No problem :)
     
    I can't really recommend going "all-in" like I did to anyone who isn't prepared to void the warranty of their headphones. But I do think that there is a lot to be gained here by trying different foam materials and EQ'ing. I find that the stock headphones are good but a bit "stuffy" and restrictive, with some mods and EQ'ing like this you get a more "direct" feeling of the music. And it sounds like you would agree. :)
     
    Removing or replacing the stock foam material with something a bit thinner is probably a sensible middle ground. I'm thinking that a computer dust filter could be a good material maybe: https://www.gardteconline.com/images/gt_sc120_m45.jpg
     
    Or the stockings method above.
     
  5. Magick Man
    I pulled out the foam/felt pad and have started port tuning (using blu tak), with great success.


    20160216_201749.jpg
     
  6. TwoEars
     
    Interesting, didn't think about trying that. Looking forward to hearing more about it.
     
  7. Magick Man
    Works like a charm, but small corrections in the size make big changes (obviously). To get the upper bass off the lower mids, cover 40% of the port on each side.
     
  8. Cidious
    Really nice post. I am owning a DT1770 now too and it is a lovely can but I do agree with the minor faults described above. However I am not willing to void the warranty of these things and I've decided to take a different path. 
     
    I still had a set of DT770 cans lying around... not using them for the well known flaws (ear piercing trebble especially with female vocals and heavily recessed midrange, even more flaws but these are the major ones). I could already tune these cans with the 45mm drivers in there and debug some of the flaws but I still figured I would not grab them over my Mad Dog Pros anytime. So I'm going to do it all in.
     
    I have ordered myself some 50mm Tesla drivers used in the T1 and higher end models. The DT1770 uses 45mm Tesla 2.0 drivers. I will use 600ohm 50mm Tesla drivers from the T1. Since the DT770 and the DT1770 use 45mm drivers I have to make myself a new 50mm driver frame to fit into the housing nicely. I will model these with Tinkercad and print them with a 3D printer.
     
    I will replace the cable with a mini XLR and 6.35mm Canare L-4E6S cable. I can also recommend this to the DT1770 owners out here! It makes a difference with the standard cable! Bass is more tight and full. Sounds a bit more open with my DT1770. 
     
    Internal wiring will be looked after with the same care as the rest of course.
     
    For debugging I've ordered myself a lot of stuff like raw cotton, dampening paper, foam etc etc..
     
    Also ordered some pleather DT770M pads to equal the DT1770 pleather pads.
     
     
    My goal is to make the DT770 sound better than the DT1770 and sell the DT1770 again. I would never mod such an expensive device because it would have no resell value after that. But the DT770 is a whole other story!
     
     
    I don't want to take over your thread but since I'm also going to modify almost the same kind of device it could be interesting to share mods that I run into that work well with these shells and drivers.
     
  9. ABushInaMeadow
    @TwoEars: How dix you removed the two smallest membrane? By cutting them?

    Nice thread btw, looking forward to try this out.
     
  10. TwoEars
     
    I used a very small and very sharp pair of scissors (part of a swiss army knife) and cut very slowly and carefully.
     
    I have to warn you though. I'm not sure I can really recommend this mod to others. I did it, my pair sounds good now. I like it. But they sound absolutely horrible without EQ'ing. And they are more sensitive to poor recordings than stock. And they become more sensitive to the equipment you have in the chain. On the other hand they are very direct and musical now with EQ'ing.
     
    Try it without the first layer of foam first and see how you like it. If you want to go further still after that you can try second stage with EQ'ing.
     
  11. ABushInaMeadow
    Well, that's what I have done since my previous post and I believe I've seen quite an improvement doing so! Indeed, there is a quite a step in terms of clarity and intimacy: I believe any DT-1770 owner should try this out!
     
    I'll progress with the smallest membrane once I'll have a proper setup for EQ'ing, for now I'll try Magick Man's port tuning.
     
  12. elad
    Great great mod review
    for now i only try to remove the black foam and it's for sure improvment over stock
    but the highs is little to much for me in a proper volume at some songs (i also like to hear on youtube,low quality)
    the next step as i see from here is the port cover and a new upgraded cable
    i had a he400 with a pure cooper from forza audio 
    http://forzaaudioworks.com/en/category.php?id_category=36
    that was a big imporvment also,great mids and clarity but keeping the highs at the same level
    i so that Canare L-4E6S cable is also been post here,from what that i know the t1 v2 came with a 7N copper cable - is it the same on the DT1770 PRO?
    if someone also try other cables it will be great to know what was the diffrent (i send email to forza audio,but the asked me what kind of sound i want..) 
     
    my gear by the way is
    Maveric audio d2 DAC
    Rega ear mk2 AMP
     
    many thanks
    elad
     
  13. Rowethren
    Just removed the biggest black bit of foam and wow! What a difference, the sound stage really opened up and the clarity is miles better. Thanks for the idea :)
     
  14. mrtnsko
    This headphones are awesome modded. if u want a more open sound Don't overdamp them, 30-100 ohm output impdance. 
     
  15. rasmushorn
    This is like the APureSound mod for HD650. I liked it on the HD650 when I had those and I did the same with my DT-1770 Pro. These are also becoming one of my favorite headphones I have had through the years. Now I am considering trying new cables for them. 
     
    jmills8 likes this.

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