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Chinese / Asian Brand Info Thread (On or Over Ear Headphones)

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by slowpickr, Oct 5, 2016.
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  1. Humblepie
    For poops and grins, I did my first detachable cable mod. I decided I wanted to give it a go as there are a few nicer headphones I own that have attached cables which I want changed. I'm looking at you Fostex!

    Anyhow, I am not quite brave enough to start on expensive headphones yet. So I decided to go with my Marantz MPH-4 headphones.


    Here is a stock image of the headphone with the cable attached.


    Bought them when they were on sale for $40 instead. They are decent sounding, but the stock pads are crap. I wouldn't buy them above $40 though as they are only decent sounding and all that great sounding. Anyhow, since they are one of my cheapest headphones with an attached cord, I decided to make them into my guinea pigs.

    Now this is how they look after the mod.


    I don't have anything too fancy for setup, I am working with an X-tronic 3020 soldering station found here:

    And here is how it looks on my desk.


    Got some decent lead free rosin core solder found here and some flux of course.

    I also picked up a 10 pack set of 3.5mm jacks.

    With that I was set to get to work. Removed the earpads. Unscrewed the retention ring the earpads were wrapped around, which also was held on the baffle/driver assembly.

    Here are some screen shots of it in action.

    After removing earpad:


    Close up of the driver.


    With retention ring unscrewed.


    The driver basically falls out once the retention ring is removed. Just tip it over into your hand and it falls out easily. Here is a picture of the driver laying flat from the backside.


    And a close up of the default wiring to the driver from the cord coming in.


    Inside the cups where the cord came in was a bar that was screwed down holding the cable in place. I unscrewed that and pushed the cord through into the cup before snipping the cord so I had some extra cord to play with incase I needed it. I then push out the rubber strain relief for the cord through the hole.

    After that I peeled out the 3 wires out of the cord to use for soldering. This way I didn't have to redo any solder points on the drivers themselves. The three colored wires inside the black sheath are coated to prevent shorting each other out. That's what the coloring is doing (red, blue, and copper) is being used as insulation. A quick flash of a lighter at the end of the wires burns it off real quick. I literally mean FLASH the lighter on and off for a second. Then scrape using your finger nails anything left. Going longer than that can damage the wires.

    Using the wiring diagram provided by Amazon, I soldered the ground to ground, the red wire going to the right driver to the right terminal, and the blue wire going to the left driver to the left terminal. I then screwed the jack into place, put everything back together, and tried it out. It works! Sort of. The wiring diagram was wrong. The right post is left channel and left post is right channel. Which now makes my polarity wrong. At least the drivers aren't angled so if I reverse them on my head they sound fine. Going to fix them later tonight and try the mod on another set. Eventually I'll work my way up to those Fostex.

    Here are some pictures of the soldering done at the time before I swapped the blue and red wires to fix the polarity.



    Further mods that can be easily done to this headphone is adding dampening material to the backside of the cups (there is none there now) and look at the tuning paper/holes currently around the driver. Right now these are a bit bass light and treble hot for my preferences.
    Last edited: May 9, 2018
  2. Pharmaboy
    Checking in with an update on my recent collaboration with @Slater (a collaboration in which he did all the work, while I sat around) on modding a new Akai Professional 50X headphone w/LyxPro HAS-30 earpads.

    Here's what went down:
    • We agreed the ISK MDH9000 clones (of which I've owned 2 X Marantz MPH-2 & 1X LyxPro HAS-30) are good-sounding, inexpensive sonic overachievers
    • I'd seen some of his posts about modding this or that HP & was most impressed by his imagination & workmanship
    • So I asked if he was up for modding one of these clones to the max--to see just how good this design & driver can get.
    • The list of mods he did is extensive, including converting this closed-back HP to open-back
    • I received the modded Akai's on Saturday and have done a moderate amount of listening since.

    My goal here is to do lots more listening to the Akai, comparing it to my stock Marantz MPH-2s...ultimately posting my write-up of that comparison on Head-Fi. BTW, the comparison should be meaningful (ie, happening on a level playing field) because I've found these clones are sonically identical, so long as they have the same earpads (these do).

    Early listening shows me 2 things:
    1. After all the mods, this very "fun," enjoyable headphone is even more fun & enjoyable. In fact, it's a real blast...a party for my ears (maybe even verging on basshead territory)
    2. @Slater really knows what he's doing. His work is something to behold (clean, refined, subtle), and the cumulative sonic effects of his mods are overwhelmingly positive (I'll have a few nits to pick--but then, I did w/the stock HPs, as well).

    Much more to follow. My hope is that I & others here will be able to hear more of his modding handiwork (on the ISK MDH9000 clones and other HPs TBD).
  3. Cruelhand Luke
    Today you are a man. I did my first cable mod on one of my FAVORITE headphones (Sony MDR 7506)....I should've started with my cheap Superlux, but where's the fun in that? I think a cable mod, while relatively simple once you do it, is kind of a 'barrier mod'. What I mean is, it looks like a big hump to get over, but once you do it, the doors are open. You realize you are capable of making changes to your headphones competently, you don't fear the problems your headphones have, you just look for solutions and then freestyle them into reality.
    did you happen to take pics? You should add it to this thread:
    Slater and HungryPanda like this.
  4. Humblepie
    didn't take pics of the process, but I'll be having to reverse the polarity anyhow so I can take pics then.
  5. Cruelhand Luke
    Ha! I was talking to Slater about this very set of headphones...didn't know you were the Headfier that he did it for. I look forward to your thoughts of open versus closed on these cans. I have actually already done a lot of the same mods to mine, I just don't have a Dremel to cut open the backs. I'm really fascinated by the idea that the bass gets better. The only thing keeping these headphones in my daily mix is that bass....if that factor is actually improved by opening them up, that is really interesting to me...I want a reason to keep the Akai, but if it doesn't do SOMETHING that my other headphones don't I will give them away.
  6. Cruelhand Luke
    awesome. please post in the mod thread?
  7. Pharmaboy
    The idea that the bass gets better is somewhat mind-blowing to me. It's a magic trick: make a closed headphone open...and the bass gets better!

    Still early, lots of listening. But so far I think the main effects on the bass are qualitative, not quantitative: ie, more sub-bass (distinctly more); the rest of the bass range becomes slightly more level/flat; there's less bass bleed into the mids; and bass resolution is somewhat better (bass notes more distinct).
    • This is a theme I'll keep coming back to ... @Slater's mods didn't really change the basic sound IMO; what they did is allow certain aspects of the already-there sound to coming shining forth.

    Converting these to open-back not only doesn't hurt the bass--it also resolves a persistent issue w/the clones I've heard: the slightly claustrophobic "pressurized" feeling arising from soft pads that seal well with the stock/closed headphone. But w/the back open, the pressure eases & the whole listening experience becomes more relaxed. I can listen longer now--not to mention go deaf quicker, 'cause these fun-phones beg you to crank it!
    Slater likes this.
  8. groucho69
    Do not limit your contribution. Didn't you also drink beer?

    peter123, trellus and HungryPanda like this.
  9. Slater
    Yes, copious amounts of beer was consumed over the weeks of modding them :wink:

    It is a necessary part of the equation lol

    So there is quite a bit of flexibility when modding the ISK clones. The driver and cups is extremely responsive to tuning, and it's possible to tune them from basshead (L shape), to mid-forward (W shape), to an almost flat/neutral tuning - any many levels in between.

    How much of that is influenced by the driver and how much by the cup still remains to be flushed out. But regardless, it is somewhat rare to run into a headphone that has that wide of a range of possibilities. Once I transplant a set of the drivers into another donor headphone, I will have a fuller understanding of the capabilities of the driver itself (and if it would be a good driver for transplants).

    As far as his exact pair, @Pharmaboy and I discussed quite in-depth ahead of time what type of tuning he was looking for, and I used his preferences to tune his headphone to where I felt he wanted it. Of course, if he didn't like it, there is plenty of room for adjustments in case I had misunderstood what he wanted. I am eagerly waiting his critique to see about how to address any deficiencies.
    Last edited: May 9, 2018
  10. Humblepie
    Updated the post here with pictures. I'll copy pasta it over to the other thread.

    Also of note, the earpads I put on those are ATH-MSR7 clone pads I found for cheap. Deep pads do not work well with these at all. Bass and mids get all hollow sounding and distant. The MSR7 pads are perfect for these though.
    Last edited: May 9, 2018
    Cruelhand Luke likes this.
  11. larry piencenaves
    Ive now come up with my final modification of my isk hf2010. Ive removed unnecessary dampeners and make it more simple.

    Ill post them after I took some pictures
    Last edited: May 13, 2018
    Slater likes this.
  12. larry piencenaves
    I think, the main difference between the iskhf2010 and its brother takstar hi2050 is the dampening. you can see the takstars way in this link


    the hf2010 lacks those extra dampers that takstars used on the front of the drivers thats why they may sound different, but literally they have the same drivers and overall construction.


    After removing unnecessary dampeners, these are all the dampings Ive used inside the cup (in order). the key thing to change the headphones sound signature is the size of the opening of the hole. the larger the hole the more bass/v-shape it will sound. Ive tried blocking all the opening and it sounded cold with the lack of low frequency. to cover the headphones Ive used some leatherette that Ive used in repairing my grado headband. You could use other materials that have similar properties to this btw. as long as it can block the whole thing up. that white damper you see is just a very thin tissue that helps more blocking the hole up but not completely closed.

    IMG_20180513_114516_1_1_1[1].jpg IMG_20180513_114439_1_1_1[1].jpg
    this is the leatherette up close.

    the 1st foam you see is the one to be installed first right at the grill, its quite thicker than the other and it comes from the original sr60e grado pads. while the other is a less denser foam which is also quite thinner in length.( idk where it came from tho). you could use other foams as long as it have the same density as the one you see on your grado pads.

    Ive also punched at least 6 holes on the drivers, Personally I didn't notice sonical difference but this was done on my past modifications I forgot to patch it up and just leave it open. but you may or may not do these. If your already satisfied with the end result.


    after putting all of that. install some thick pleather pads and you're done. tho the ones I have is angled I dont think its necessary as long as its thick. I personally tilted mine at this angle as it affects the low frequencies and better imaging.


    Its also less fatiguing at longer listening because of the flatter sound signature and somehow this mod managed to quell those harsh highs. it also sounded way cleaner than the unmodded hf2010, those grains..ughh. I also use these for gaming now because of the added soundstage, thanks to that thick pleather pads, also way more comfortable than the stock velours, that thing is very itchy after an hour of use.

    Last edited: Jul 28, 2018
    audionab, Niqeres and trellus like this.
  13. trellus
    88FE9177-5672-4B15-B535-31B893131846.jpeg 6B5A6317-3184-4D71-B182-1EFD766D9DAD.jpeg
    Well, my Chinese, wood-back Grado clones (OKCSC M1 DIY) came in today and promptly shredded my ears with murder treble :laughing:

    They look even better in real life than the pictures, I’m in love with the look, but I’ve had to take to EQing them to bring down 8 KHz and up the low end some as well...

    Maybe some burn in (headphones less so than my brain) will save them, or else these will only be used with EQ handicap :)
    Last edited: May 15, 2018
    HungryPanda and peter123 like this.
  14. trellus
    ...proof that listening to headphones creates a supremely subjective experience. I gave the OKCSC M1 DIY Grado clones to my friend to listen to briefly and he immediately declared he really liked them (even after I had biased him to be wary of the murder treble), and he said he could hear no difference when I enabled/disabled the EQ. Also, he said they were very comfortable and he could feel no pressure on his head. I think these headphones were made for him.

    I showed him a Google image of the Grado RS2e (with the price! - and which I'm confident my ears would prefer) and he immediately said, "I like these better than those!" :beyersmile:
    HungryPanda, peter123 and mbwilson111 like this.
  15. Markolav
    If they are just eardrum slaughtering treble-cannons im probably going to skip them. Even N350 is sometimes a bit too bright sounding for me.
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