Chinese / Asian Brand Info Thread (On or Over Ear Headphones)
Mar 10, 2018 at 11:26 PM Post #3,091 of 7,153
Attn owners of the ISK MDH9000 and it's many clones (Akai Project 50X, Marantz MPH-2, LyxPro HAS-30, Freeboss MDH9000).

I have completed a few mods that you may be interested in.

1. Tuning paper mod
The stock tuning paper is extremely restrictive, and very little passes through it. This mod allows a more spacious sound. You have to be very careful not to poke the driver diaphragm when perfoming this mod. I used the very tip of an xacto knife, and carefully trimmed each circle. You could also maybe poke each hole out with a philips screwdriver, and peel the paper away with tweezers. But I repeat, you MUST BE CAREFUL not to poke the driver diaphragm when perfoming this mod. I wish you could just peel or scrape the tuning paper off in 1 big piece, but the whole thing is held on with some sort of evil mutant glue, and the tuning paper doesn't peel at all (it must be trimmed off).

paper-before.JPG
paper-removed.JPG



2. Locking cable elimination mod
This eliminates the cable lock, allowing the use of any 3.5mm cable that is slim enough to fit inside of the hole (for example, a Beats cable). Note that you will still be able to use the stock locking cables as well. This mod just gives you the flexibility to use any cable that physically fits.
  • On the L earcup, remove the earpad and remove the (4) screws that hold the cup together.
  • Remove the (2) screws that hold the little circuit board down, and lift the circuit board out of the way.
  • Remove the (2) screws that hold the locking mechanism down, and remove the plastic locking mechanism piece.
  • If you look at the plastic locking mechanism, you’ll see the (2) small plastic locking tabs (on the top and bottom). Break both of them off using pliers, a screw driver, or some sort of pokey-pokey tool (like a scratch awl). The plastic is very brittle, and the tabs will break off with little effort.
  • Reinstall the locking mechanism back on and secure it with the (2) screws.
  • Reinstall the circuit board back on and secure it with the (2) screws.
  • Make sure a regular, non-locking 3.5mm cable plugs in smoothly. If for some reason it doesn't that means you didn't break off the locking tabs completely. Go back and double check, and correct the issue until a regular, non-locking 3.5mm cable plugs in smoothly.
  • Put the cup back together and secure it with the (4) screws.
  • Put the earpad back on.

locking-tab1.jpg
circuit-board.JPG
locking-tab3.JPG
locking-tab2.JPG



3. Semi-open mod (stealth venting)
One of the reasons why the soundstage in these cans is so good is because the cup has a number of hidden vent holes. If you look at the 12-o'clock position on each cup, you will see (7) tiny vent holes inside of a small "groove". I took this idea and extended it, adding holes completely around the cup, also hidden inside of the groove. The result was an even wider soundstage than before, and additional sub bass extension that is much deeper than the stock version.
  • On each earcup, remove the earpad and remove the (4) screws that hold the cup together.
  • Put a piece of tape over the vent hold on the driver magnet, to prevent debris from falling into the vent hole.
  • Using a small drill bit (ie the same size as the existing (7) vent holes in the 12-o'clock position), drill additional holes inside of the groove, all the way around the driver cup. Space the holes a few mm apart (use the (7) stock vent holes as a guide to about how far apart to space the new vent holes). Note that you will have to skip a few sections where you won't be drilling any holes, such as the (4) cup mounting screw posts, the (2) yoke mounting blocks, and the aux cable area (I've indicated these with arrows in the 1st photo below).
  • Blow all of the plastic chips away using your breath, canned duster air, a brush, etc.
  • Make sure all of the holes are clean and free of loose hanging plastic pieces (that could later fall off and get inside of the driver). This process took quite a bit of time, as it's critical to make sure every last tiny loose plastic piece is cleaned up and accounted for.
  • Once you are pleased with the results, remove the tape from the driver magnet.
  • Put the cups back together, and replace the (4) screws.
  • Put the earpads back on.
  • Repeat the procedure on the other side.
dont-drill-here.jpg
drilled-holes1.JPG
drilled-holes-light.JPG



4. Semi-open mod (grille mod)
One of the reasons why the soundstage in these cans is so good is because the cup has a number of hidden vent holes. If you look at the 12-o'clock position on each cup, you will see (7) tiny vent holes inside of a small "groove".

I took this idea and extended it to it's maximum conclusion, replacing the alumium name plate with an open mesh grille. The result was an even wider soundstage than the #3 mod above, an increase in sub bass quantity, AND further sub bass extension (than the #3 mod above). WoW!!

You may be asking yourself, "how can Slater do #4 without knowing what effect #3 had?" Simple, I taped the small hidden vents closed before completing mod #4. You won't need to do this, as you'll either do mod #3 OR mod #4 but NOT both. I only had to do this because when tuning and developing mods you often do extra stuff, make mistakes, go back and undo things you;ve already done, etc as you play "what if" with the tuning.

These 50mm drivers seem to really like a lot of air to breathe, and I found the sound of the #4 mod to be even better than the #3 mod. I think it also looks cooler as well!
  • Drill a few 1/8" holes in the stock badge, in approximately the same locations as you see in the photo below. This is important, because there is a very specific 'gap' in the cup directly behind the badge that will allow you to grab the badge with pliers. If you drill in the wrong spots, you will miss this gap. I've indicated this in the photos below (ie where the yellow highlighter is). Also, drill only through the aluminum plate. Do NOT drill all the way through the plastic behind the plate, as you risk drilling into the driver! You will be able to feel when you are through the alumium plate (at which point immediately stop drilling).
remove-badge4.JPG
remove-badge1.JPG
  • Now take pliers and pull off the badge. It's held on pretty strongly with glue around the edges, but keep trying and it will eventually pry off. You can also see the "gap" in the below 2 photos, which is basically a recessed "outer ring". It is this recessed area that gives the pliers the room to grab the aluminum badge.
remove-badge2.JPG
remove-badge3.JPG

  • Now that you have the badge removed, you are going to remove the plastic material as indicated below. I used a cutting disc on my Dremel, and cleaned up the hole with a Dremel sanding drum. Be sure to leave a small amount of material (ie a "lip" or "ledge"), so that the grille has something to rest on. In other words, don't grind your hole flush all the way to the very edge. Go a few mms smaller, so there's a "ledge" for the grille to sit on. Make sense?

remove-badge6.jpg
  • Once your hole is ready, take your grille material (cut to fit perfectly into the hole where the badge was), and lay it down into the hole. The grille will rest on the "ledge" you left.
  • The grille needs to be exactly 42mm diameter. You can buy 42mm grilles on ebay (for $2/pair) that will drop right in as a friction fit, and won't even need glue. Or you can buy a larger grille and cut it down to fit. I've seen the grilles in black, white, silver, chrome plated, or you can spray paint the grille any color you want before installing. On ebay or Aliexpress, just search for any of the follwing terms: 1" tweeter grille, 1" speaker dust grille, 42mm tweeter cover.
  • If your grille requires it (for example isn't a friction fit), secure the grille with 3-4 strategic drops of clear epoxy or Lazer Bond UV glue. For example, 4 tiny drops at 12, 3, 6, and 9 o'clock, or 3 tiny drops arranged like a triangle (you can use the 3 triangle decorations on the stock cup as a guide of where to center the drops).
  • Once the adhedsive is dry, blow all of the plastic chips and debris away using your breath, canned duster air, a brush, etc. It is critical that all debris is removed from the cups, to prevent any from getting inside of the driver. The inside of the bottom cup and the inside of the top cup (where the driver is) shoud be spotless before continuing.
  • Once you are pleased with your results, remove the tape from the driver magnet.
  • Put the cups back together, and replace the (4) screws.
  • Put the earpads back on.
  • Repeat the procedure on the other side.
Here's the final result:

open-grille.JPG
 
Last edited:
Mar 11, 2018 at 8:18 AM Post #3,093 of 7,153
@Slater I'm going to post a link to these mods in the thread OP when I get a chance. Great job!
 
Last edited:
Mar 11, 2018 at 8:20 AM Post #3,094 of 7,153
Attn owners of the ISK MDH9000 and clones (Akai Project 50X, Marantz MPH-2, LyxPro HAS-30, Freeboss MDH9000).

I have completed a few mods that you may be interested in.

1. Tuning paper mod
The stock tuning paper is extremely restrictive, and very little passes through it. This mod allows a more spacious sound. You have to be very careful not to poke the driver diaphragm when perfoming this mod. I used the very tip of an xacto knife, and carefully trimmed each circle. You could also maybe poke each hole out with a philips screwdriver, and peel the paper away with tweezers. But I repeat, you MUST BE CAREFUL not to poke the driver diaphragm when perfoming this mod. I wish you would just peel or scrape the tuning paper off in 1 big piece, but the whole thing is held on with some sort of evil mutant glue, and the tuning paper doesn't peel at all (it must be trimmed off).






2. Locking cable elimination mod
This eliminates the cable lock, allowing the use of any 3.5mm cable that is slim enough to fit inside of the hole (for example, a Beats cable).
  • On the L earcup, remove the earpad and remove the (4) screws that hold the cup together.
  • Remove the (2) screws that hold the little circuit board down, and lift the circuit board out of the way.
  • Remove the (2) screws that hold the locking mechanism down, and lift it out of the way.
  • Break the (2) locking tabs off using pliers, a screw driver, or some sort of pokey-pokey tool (like a scratch awl). The plastic is very brittle, and the tabs will break off with little effort.
  • Put the locking mechanism back on and secure it with the (2) screws.
  • Put the circuit board back on and secure it with the (2) screws.
  • Put the cup back together and secure it with the (4) screws.
  • Put the earpad back on.








3. Semi-open mod (stealth venting)
One of the reasons why the soundstage in these cans is so good is because the cup has a number of hidden vent holes. If you look at the 12-o'clock position on each cup, you will see (7) tiny vent holes inside of a small "groove". I took this idea and extended it, adding holes completely around the cup, also hidden inside of the groove. The result was an even wider soundstage than before, and additional sub bass extension that is much deeper than the stock version.
  • On each earcup, remove the earpad and remove the (4) screws that hold the cup together.
  • Put a piece of tape over the vent hold on the driver magnet, to prevent debris from falling into the vent hole.
  • Using a small drill bit (ie the same size as the existing (7) vent holes in the 12-o'clock position), drill additional holes inside of the groove, all the way around the driver cup. Space the holes a few mm apart (use the (7) stock vent holes as a guide to about how far apart to space the new vent holes). Note that you will have to skip a few sections where you won't be drilling any holes, such as the (4) cup mounting screw posts, the (2) yoke mounting blocks, and the aux cable area (I've indicated these with arrows in the 1st photo below).
  • Blow all of the plastic chips away using your breath, canned duster air, a brush, etc.
  • Make sure all of the holes are clean and free of loose hanging plastic pieces (that could later fall off and get inside of the driver). This process took quite a bit of time, as it's critical to make sure every last tiny loose plastic piece is cleaned up and accounted for.
  • Once you are pleased with the results, remove the tape from the driver magnet.
  • Put the cups back together, and replace the (4) screws.
  • Put the earpads back on.
  • Repeat the procedure on the other side.






4. Semi-open mod (grille mod)
One of the reasons why the soundstage in these cans is so good is because the cup has a number of hidden vent holes. If you look at the 12-o'clock position on each cup, you will see (7) tiny vent holes inside of a small "groove".

I took this idea and extended it to it's maximum conclusion, replacing the alumium name plate with an open mesh grille. The result was an even wider soundstage than stock OR #3 above, an increase in sub bass quantity, AND further sub bass extension (than BOTH the stock version AND the #3 modded version above). WoW!!

You may be asking yourself, "how can Slater do #4 without knowing what effect #3 had?" Simple, I taped the small hidden vents closed before completing mod #4. You won't need to do this, as you'll either do mod #3 OR mod #4 but NOT both. I only had to do this because when tuning and developing mods you often do extra stuff, make mistakes, go back and undo things you;ve already done, etc as you play "what if" with the tuning.

These 50mm drivers seem to really like a lot of air to breathe, and I found the sound of the #4 mod to be even better than the #3 mod. I think it also looks cooler as well!
  • Drill a few 1/8" holes in the stock badge, in approximately the same locations as you see in the photo below. This is important, because there is a very specific 'gap' in the cup directly behind the badge that will allow you to grab the badge with pliers. If you drill in the wrong spots, you will miss this gap. I've indicated this in the photos below (ie where the yellow highlighter is). Also, drill only through the aluminum plate. Do NOT drill all the way through the plastic behind the plate, as you risk drilling into the driver! You will be able to feel when you are through the alumium plate (at which point immediately stop drilling).


  • Now take pliers and pull off the badge. It's held on pretty strongly with glue around the edges, but keep trying and it will eventually pry off. You can also see the "gap" in the below 2 photos, which is basically a recessed "outer ring". It is this recessed area that gives the pliers the room to grab the aluminum badge.



  • Now that you have the badge removed, you are going to remove the plastic material as indicated below. I used a cutting disc on my Dremel, and cleaned up the hole with a Dremel sanding drum. Be sure to leave a small amount of material (ie a "lip" or "ledge"), so that the grille has something to rest on. In other words, don't grind your hole flush all the way to the very edge. Go a few mms smaller, so there's a "ledge" for the grille to sit on. Make sense?


  • Once your hole is ready, take your grille material (cut to fit perfectly into the hole where the badge was), and lay it down into the hole. The grille will rest on the "ledge" you left.
  • Secure the grille material with a few strategic drops of clear epoxy or Lazer Bond UV glue.
  • Once the adhedsive is dry, blow all of the plastic chips and debris away using your breath, canned duster air, a brush, etc. It is critical that all debris is removed from the cups, to prevent any from getting inside of the driver. The inside of the bottom cup and the inside of the top cup (where the driver is) shoud be spotless before continuing.
  • Once you are pleased with your results, remove the tape from the driver magnet.
  • Put the cups back together, and replace the (4) screws.
  • Put the earpads back on.
  • Repeat the procedure on the other side.
Here's the final result:

Very detailed and we'll illustrated tutorial. The end result looks better than OEM.

Looks like it grew that way.
 
Last edited:
Mar 11, 2018 at 11:51 AM Post #3,096 of 7,153
May have to buy another to do this open mod on.

It's so worth it, and the mod is not that difficult.

I have 2 pairs - 1 stock and 1 modded, and honestly I can't even listen to the stock one now. In comparison, it sounds very narrow, compressed, and all I can think of while I'm listening to it is "where's all of the sub bass"?

Don't get me wrong, the stock one is good when compared to other competitors in the same price range. And if you NEED a closed can (for the isolation), it's a good option. But the open modded one walks all over it, and there is no comparison.

Think of it like you're Iron Man, but you're always walking around as Tony Stark and you never use your Iron Man suit (it just sits gathering dust). Think of everything you're missing out on.

I have NO IDEA why they didn't make an open version of this can! Besides looking badass, the sound is sooo improved.

I would go as far as saying the open modded one could be considered a basshead can, because the sub bass extends that low. It's nuts how much this thing is held back by the drivers not getting enough room to breathe.

I'm going to try and snag a 3rd set, just so I can have a set of these awesome drivers for swaps. I have a few donor shells that could benefit from the 50mm drivers.
 
Last edited:
Mar 11, 2018 at 12:42 PM Post #3,097 of 7,153
@Slater great modding tutorial! do you happen to have any pictures of back of the driver? I'm curious to see if the drivers resemble any other headphones.

Never knew the baffle had so many holes. Reminds me of Denon/fostex. If those are allready bassy I wonder what adding a foam donut would do! :DIMG_20180128_221202.jpg
 
Last edited:
Mar 11, 2018 at 1:43 PM Post #3,098 of 7,153
FWIW, The V-Moda cable fits in these easily without having to the locking mechanism mod. Its secure too. Of course though, that cable is $20 vs cables of similar or better quality can be had for cheaper. If I didn't already buy the V-Moda cable I would def do the mod. Very impressive work man.
 
Last edited:
Mar 11, 2018 at 2:13 PM Post #3,099 of 7,153
@Slater great modding tutorial! do you happen to have any pictures of back of the driver? I'm curious to see if the drivers resemble any other headphones.

Never knew the baffle had so many holes. Reminds me of Denon/fostex. If those are allready bassy I wonder what adding a foam donut would do! :D

Thanks :)

This headphone has a lot of tuning possibilities, and is very versatile. Even if someone wanted to keep it in a closed format, there’s numerous things that can be done to tweak and tune it (both to the driver itself as well as the cups).

I’m currently working on a full size headphone FR measuring coupler, which will be a powerful tool in my tuning arsenal.

Sure, I’ll snap a few pics of the drivers in a little later and post them up.
 
Last edited:
Mar 11, 2018 at 3:14 PM Post #3,100 of 7,153
I would not be surprised If there is a $50 headphone that can compete with many $500 headphones.
...
If there is a affordable headphone good as say t1, gs1000, th900, hd800... I would gladly hear about those. Point is that If someone claims affordable headphone x is allmost on par with hd800. Well, has to be some bias because things like that just don't happen in real world. Unfortunately...
Here is some reading material: https://www.head-fi.org/threads/tak...s-and-discussion-thread.849965/#post-13490895
 
Mar 13, 2018 at 11:26 AM Post #3,102 of 7,153
Well last night I did a whole lot of A/B comparisons with many of my headphones. I have too many to go through them all at this point. There are a few clear winners that are at the top of the pile. Many are very, very good. A couple mediocre ones, and a couple of bad ones. The bad ones were rare. Couple of them I thought were bad, I did a few pad swaps and they ended up better, but didn't get put on the top. Since I have sooo many, I'll list the ones I put on top and bottom.

Top 3:
Fostex TH900 mk2. Incredible bass resolution, text, detail, and punch. Treble is clear, smooth, without grain. Mids are ever so slightly recessed but are still very clear, smooth, and resolving. On some bass heavy tracks there is some bleed though from the bass to the mids, but not enough for me to not enjoy the music for me. They are barely "U" shaped, but can certainly handle being made into fun cans. Sound stage is great and at the right setup for me. Meaning I can feel a sense of space without it feeling artificial.

Audeze EL-8 open. Mids are clear, precise, a bit forward and present. Treble is just at the edge sparkly without being too much so. Bass is punchy, present detailed, and controlled. Honestly it's hard to decide if I like the EL-8 more than the TH900mk2. The only thing that holds me back is that the mids almost seem too shouty and forward for me. Many would love it more, I just a better balance with the rest of the sound that the TH900mk2s have. Soundstage is slightly wider than the TH900mk2, but not so much it sounds wrong to me.

Hifiman HE4XX: Mids are rich, full, and smooth. Slightly recessed more than the TH900mk2, but just barely. Treble is a bit more tame compared to either the EL-8 or TH900mk2. Bass is on par with the previous two. These are a bit more comfortable to wear over long periods as they are lighter than the other two as well.

All three of my top 3 really close to each other in terms of my liking and preferences. The build quality on them all is outstanding, and the comfort for them all is great too. The HE4XX tends to be my daily driver though as it's comfort slightly edges out the other two. Mostly due to weight. Also the price is a whole lot cheaper at $150, so if the somehow get messed up (like from a kid knocking it off my head) I'm going to be less upset if something happens to it.



Bottom 3:
Langsdom VA800: Muddy, veiled, not revealing, and just mush sounding in comparison to even mediocre headphones. They are uncomfortable unless perfectly setup, but are a pain in the posterior to get setup on your head right. Even when setup right, they aren't all that comfortable. The headband setup for it is garbage. The price they charge for this makes me cringe.

Freeboss FB 888: Almost as bad sounding as the VA800, but it is slightly clearer in sound. It's also more comfortable at least. Well it was fairly cheap. Recent acquisition that is a dud.

Superlux 668B: Comfort with those wings is bleh for me. I know some people don't mind wings for a headband, but I can't take them with my head. Just makes hotspots of pain after short use. Build quality is a joke as well. The sound is for me what makes it on the bottom. Bass light, and the treble sibilance just kills me. I can stand using these for like 5 minutes before it starts to give me a headache from the sharpness of the highs. If I could find a way to tame the highs or take the edge off the sibilance slightly they might be ok. As they are.. man they suck for me stock.



Next category is what I call the most surprising for the price. Meaning they sound very, very good for their cost. As good, or in some cases better than other headphones. Meaning these would be the ones I recommend to anyone on an extreme budget and looking for good sounding headphones. Here is 3 of those:

Akai 50x (or any of the other clones): Seriously the sound on these is fantastic for the $20 price I paid for them. Build quality to me seems good, although the reports of hinges breaking when people try to collapse the headphones too far is disappointing. My feelings on the hinges breaking is more a user error problem, but one that can be fixed as others in this thread have pointed out. As for sound specifics, the whole frequency response is terrific. The bass is excellent on these. Soundstage is wide. Isolation is good. Treble has a little bit of grain and mids are slightly recessed but still smooth, clear, and detailed. Really if they were in the same housing as the TH900mk2s, I would have thought they were almost the same thing. These really are that good on sound quality.

Superlux H681 Evo: The build quality is cheapie, but feels sturdy enough. It is comfortable to wear for extended sessions. The sound is just ever so slightly warm. Slight veil to the mids, but still clear and detailed. Treble is nice, precise, and nothing like the harshness of the 668B.

Griffin Woodtones: I am so surprised no one else really has these. Build quality is decent on them, although like the Akai 50x there is complaints of the hinges breaking when over stressed. Other than that they are really, really good. Detailed, clear mids. Good thumping bass. Nice smooth treble with very little grain. Stock pads are garbage, and I put the senitek cloth pads on them which sound the best for them. For the $11 price I paid these are seriously a good buy. The only problem is that these aren't made anymore and it's hard to find them to buy. At least prices where you can still buy them at are still decently low at $20ish.
 
Last edited:
Mar 13, 2018 at 4:41 PM Post #3,104 of 7,153
Griffin Woodtones: I am so surprised no one else really has these. Build quality is decent on them, although like the Akai 50x there is complaints of the hinges breaking when over stressed. Other than that they are really, really good. Detailed, clear mids. Good thumping bass. Nice smooth treble with very little grain. Stock pads are garbage, and I put the senitek cloth pads on them which sound the best for them. For the $11 price I paid these are seriously a good buy. The only problem is that these aren't made anymore and it's hard to find them to buy. At least prices where you can still buy them at are still decently low at $20ish.

I had these and really, really liked them, but my pair kept shorting out on one side and I opened it up and attempted to fix it but I'm terrible at those kinds of things and finally gave up and just threw them away, but was very sad about it. I handled them with kid gloves so I'm not sure why they started doing that about a month after buying them (this was over a year ago).

They were really comfortable on my ears, and I loved the sound signature, which is warm and detailed, no harsh highs -- but didn't last. I bought my mom a pair as well, and she still has hers, so I guess there is just some variability on the build quality and I got a dud.
 
Mar 13, 2018 at 4:49 PM Post #3,105 of 7,153
I had these and really, really liked them, but my pair kept shorting out on one side and I opened it up and attempted to fix it but I'm terrible at those kinds of things and finally gave up and just threw them away, but was very sad about it. I handled them with kid gloves so I'm not sure why they started doing that about a month after buying them (this was over a year ago).

They were really comfortable on my ears, and I loved the sound signature, which is warm and detailed, no harsh highs -- but didn't last. I bought my mom a pair as well, and she still has hers, so I guess there is just some variability on the build quality and I got a dud.

They are $20 shipped from ebay. Put these $8 senitek cloth earpads on them from Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B071X2K9YQ/ref=twister_B0714GB6BK

then enjoy them for what they are :)
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Back
Top