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Damping Mechanical Energy Distortion of STAX and other phones with SORBOTHANE and other materials.

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  1. edstrelow Contributor

    If I understand it, you are placing sorb on the headband.  I wouldn't have thought much vibration could get there on these phones.  There is a lot in the Stax 007 because the metal strips which comprise the headband are directly connected to the earcups.  However, Sennheiser puts its damping material in the headband of the HD800, but I believe it's headband is also tightly connected to the earcups.  At any rate, what you report would indicate that the SR5's can use more sorbothane damping material.
    I finally figured out how to open these phones up with the intention of doing exactly that.
    1. The earpads simply lift and pull off although mine were also attached in two spots by 2 1/2x1/2 inch  pieces of double-sided tape. If yours have these, locate their locations and pull the tape off slowly.
    2. Unscrew three small screws that hold the earcup together.
    Mine were in quite good condition considering their age, there was no dirt and the dust covers over the driver were intact.  In fact they looked almost new.
    I added 8 strips of 1/8 inch 30 duro sorb as shown in the picture. Each piece was about 3/8 inches deep and 3/4 inches long.
    I added 3 more small 5/8 x 5/8  inch pieces under the earpad locations and put the earcups back together.
    While you really want to let the sorb adhesive cure over night before doing serious listening. I was starting to hear some improved dynamics and tonal detail.  I found myself swaying and tapping my toes to the music, always a good sign.
  2. richard51

    i must say that i try to put the sorb. on the headband without any hope of results because the headband on the Stax SR-5 is so loosely attached to the cups but i was hearing way more cleanness than i was prepared to hear....
    I had a question, before you had put the sorb like mine under the pads, now you have tried this new placement of sorb. : Do you have listen a betterment superior to the first placement  when it was directly place under the earpads? i will wait for  the gluing process to go for sure and wait for your impressions....thanks
    Dear edstrelow, if my theory about compressing the sorb. for better damping process is right , that will explain my results with the piece of sorb on the headband press on by the paper clipper, that method permit a better absorption reaction by the pressured sorb.... My Stax SR-5 are now extraordinary better than with only the sorb. put only under the earpads and that  with ONLY  one piece of sorb 1/8 inch (duro 40) 1/2 inch by 1/2 inc on each cup... I want that you try that because it is so simple and take 1 minute with 2 paper  metal clip and 2 little pieces of sorb....I want a confirmation of this idea, compressing the sorb is better than just applying it with gluing process.... Like with my 2 granite plates compressing the sorb (duro 70 ) between them made all the difference in the world  on  the speakers and on the Stax SR-5,  or like putting 2 bricks on the gear and  the sorb rather than just gluing the sorb. on certain part of the gear....Thanks 
  3. edstrelow Contributor

    The sorb I added inside the earcup is in addition to that under the earpads. As I.listen this morning the SR 5' s sound tremendous through the SRD6. They have better dynamics and sound more solid at the bottom end, with a cleaner and more tonally pure sound than before. I can't believe I am listening to a 40-year old, obsolete design. It's very close to the sorbed Lambdas. The sorbed 007 has a more pure sound and extended bass and treble, but annoyingly suffers from a somewhat bassy sound. The SR 5 is very nicely balanced and that makes it delightful and highly listenable in its own way.

    It doesn't surprise me that your procedure of mechanically clipping sorb to the metal headband gives a good result although I am surprised that so.much vibration is making it up to the headband. Presumably if the SR5 was more heavily damped at the earcup there would be less vibration to get to the headband. Still the HD 800 seems to be relying solely on damping material in the headband.

    As I noted, my very first efforts using sorb on phones used a mechanical clamping system and it gave different tonal characteristics depending on how much pressure was appled. Clamping presumably allows the sorb to fasten better to the surface of what you are applying it to, at least better than some glues. Also the pressure from the clamp, or clip in your situation, may change the damping characteristics if the sorb.

    I have just laid in a stock of superglue so that I can compare its effectiveness against self-stick and 3M glue.

    This topic starts out looking pretty simple but in the end is quite complicated.
    richard51 likes this.
  4. richard51
    I have finally put the sorb. 12 pieces (6 rectangular pieces cut in 2  contiguous squares  )  (duro 30 1/4 inches) on  each of the planars speakers this time and not only the subwoofer.... Incredible better clarity and midrange, better tonality and timbre representation, no audible compression of the sound now, and the anterior level of distorsion at high volume is now greatly remove  and the only "caveat" is that the razor shape holographic sound of this planars had no mercy for bad recording now more than ever but with good recording they are more detailed than my Stax altough less musically true , but trust me they are truly high end for a ridiculous price....In truth this sorb. mod is an audiophile revelation.... Thanks Edstrelow ...
    My response is , any vibration transmit itself along a line or point of contact and induce some resonance cumulative  effect with all other vibrating parts  in the chamber of the earcup muddling with the membrane speaking true sound ....It is the reason certainly for that spectacular effect with a little piece of sorb compressed on 2 points along the the headband i had observed, if you remember that the headband connect the 2 earcups chamber, hence sorbothane on the headband act  on the connexion between the resonant 2 earcups and not only in  the resonant chamber of one earcup, they isolate each earcup of the other earcup resonance echo  ....And also too much sorb is not always good, compressing the sorb on the headband is better i think than putting more gluing sorb on a earcup( that have already many pieces) and that because of the  positive effect of the right amount of  compression, and like i had already  said because of the killing  of the resonance echo between the 2 earcups... But you said that putting more sub inside near the membrane make them better and i must try that in some time to come, perhaps that will be more better to try that also, anyway thanks Edstrelow for your experience and advice... 
    An important remark for all people reading this : if you dont have other   better headphone for comparison or reference point  with your damped one final result, remember that the only and most important characteristic of an headphone, is not measured frequencies, but the testimony of our own ears listening what is the most natural rendering of  musical instrument timbre or the naturalness of intonation of voice in a recreated 3-D space resulting from the synergetic interaction of all our gear ...it is that that convince me in the end and only that....
    Now my speakers completely damped  and ALL my gear completely damped and the sR-5 completely damped give me a sound so good in the last 24 hours that literally i  almost dont recognise any of my cd , hence by trials and error i had a final result i think....
    In truth my Stax SR-5 kills upgraditis..."In fine" the science of headphone is already there for 60 years, the big problem was and is now : how to induce the transmission of sound by the membrane not to be muddled by the vibrations-resonance effect of the headphone himself...It is my understanding of the problem...No more...i am no engineer...
    It is probably possible to create a perfect headphone with  almost no supplemental big cost...that will kill the market...[​IMG] oups! i think that this headphone already exist, it is a Stax rightly damped and  my SR-5 is a good candidate to some high point in the route to perfection...i will buy a  future Stax with a graphene membrane + manufacture sorbothanization included  for sure, but waiting  for that in the mean time i will  listen to my old SR-5 "imperfection"  partly corrected by the sorb. mod ...
  5. richard51
    ed i have a question? How do you remove the 2 pins that hold together the 2 cups? they are so small that i am afraid to break something and i dont see any sign  on top of the head that they unscrew like an ordinary screw...[​IMG]
  6. edstrelow Contributor
    You don't unscrew them, they stay on. To open the earcups, first you pop the earcups off the headband, which you may have already
    done, which is quite easy, and then pull off the earpads. You will then see three screws which hold the earcups together. These unscrew and the assembly opens quite easily. They don' t stick as the Lambdas tend to do.

    BTW if you take the earpads off , you might want to do something like put a chalk mark on each earpad and earcup so you can line them up properly when you put them back. The inside shape is elliptical and I found one ear was uncomfortable because the pad was slightly rotated when put back.
    richard51 likes this.
  7. Pokemonn
    please someone teach me how to glue sorbo pieces to headphone?
    should i use double sided sticky tapes? i want to do it with reversible.
    Thank you very much.
  8. richard51

    you can buy self-stick sorbothane.... you must study if you apply another glue on the sorb. instead of selfstick sob. what glue will not degrade the sorb., hence better to buy self stick....It is not necessary to gluing the 2 side sorb.
    you can look for that  here :
    this buyer was ok for me also :
    By the way applying sorb. rightly is not an instantaneous solution, you must learn to evaluate the weight of the product to damp (amplifier,dac,speakers,sub-woofer,power strip, energizer, etc) and try the right solution using trials and error because the thickness of the sorb. and the duro number  and the form of the piece needed to be adjust to the product you want to damp...Simple trials and error attempt with you ears open will guide you right to the golden spot... Simply read this not too long thread to learn basic...
    If you want to damp only your headphone i had try with success, duro 30 and duro 40 self-stick sorb..The thickness better is probably 1/4 or 1/ 8 inches depend of your headphone and the densities of the cups, no one had a definitive answer yet for that, read Edstrelow experiments here and adjust that to your headphone...
     Sorbothane , it is my experience , made more for the sound than any other product, that will not transform for sure a bad amplifier in a good one, but that will make ALL you gear true to their own potential... It is  my experience... ALL my gear is sorbothanized...thanks to Edstrelow beginning with the headphone... This thread was the most important news for me in all headfi simply because of the price/quality ratio solution it offer...[​IMG] good luck to you
    Pokemonn likes this.
  9. richard51
    just a remark to you all :
    i had put 4 sorb. pieces duro 70 ,3/4 inches diameter, under my amplifier between 2 granite plate, but my amplifier weigh is little more than 30 lbs and the side with the transformer had all the weigh, hence the sound was clearer but the sorb. pieces too compressed by the weigh, hence the sound also was too compressed... THis morning  I put 3 pieces duro 50 on the heavier side with the 4 other little pieces duro 70...Now the sound is clearer yes, but no more compressed....This is an elementary lesson and i must say that just this little change in correcting the amount of sorb. under the amp made a very big last  improvement ...The way i put the sorb between 2 granite plate was more stable and with better results than directly under the feet off the amplifier....[​IMG]And it is  very important to say that the correct damping of my amplifier reflect in refinement sound listening with my speakers yes, BUT reflect also immediately audible refinement in my Stax SR-5, especially  in correcting the depth-shape of the soundstage with this better clarity gain from the amplifier rightly sorbothanized... [​IMG] 
    In my experience the soundstage imaging of an headphone necessitate, to be reconstruct, so subtle cues of information, that any blurring interference resonance from your  other piece of gear without sorbothanization (dac,amp, energizer, power strip) will muddle it... And effectively it is just NOW that i can listen to the real soundstage imaging of the SR-5 AFTER this last  right implementation of sorb. under my amplifier HENCE all piece of gear must be sorbothanized ...
    Finally with sorbothane, there is no definitive improvement from only one piece of gear, all improvement are great and audible  if sorb. is rightly put, all improvement were evident in my  experience, with for sure trials and arror, BUT ALL PIECE OF GEAR must be sobothanized for a  completely satisfying  optimal final result...I will not describe the sound of my 60 dollars SR-5  now because i dont want to push price higher up[​IMG], suffice to say that they beat my planar speakers Monsoon MM 2000 sorbothanized, which are probably one of the best  desktop speakers under 1000  dollars, and they blew them off with a natural timbre musical rendering and with a better  imaging, and i was in love with my Monsoon sorbothanized... thanks God for the creation of Edstrelow ! and the invention of  sorb. mod. ...
    final update after few hours of listening  : It is the first time in 3 years after trying headphones, amplifiers,dac, that i finally listen to the immersive music without thinking  what the f...  is not so good with my gear ?... and surprizingly it is  only after this last move in adding the right  pieces of sorb. under the amplifier, and  yesterday adding 2 pieces of sorb. compressed by metal paper clips on the headband of the Stax SR-5 , it is after these  2 last modifications i have  finally obtained  what i have dreamed of  for the last 3 years ,  and at almost  no cost, (while thinking desesperately, not so long ago, to invest  many thousand of dollars i dont have, in better amp or headphone)
    : simply, clear, immersive 3-d  fluid, organic field of music with natural musical timbre of voice or instrument...Thanks God( or edstrelow) i have touch my holy grail.... the best  Hifi system of the world in 1975 was precisely these 2 : stax Sr-5 and Sansui au 770, and with sorbothane i think these 2 are  now  after 41 years always one of the best Hifi  in the world for their price, a ridiculous price in the used market...I dont know now what else to do, all my gear are rightly sorbothanized and the result is pure music...I had nothing else to say... good luck to all ...
  10. edstrelow Contributor
    I have seen references to damping speakers with sorbothane by sorbothane sellers but until your post, no mention on Head-Fi.  I am sure it works, because I have been playing with it too and also like the results I am getting.  In a simliar vein,some people have used sorbothane footers under their speakers. That makes less sense to me because I think you want to keep your speakers as rigid as possible.  In my two speaker systems are kept rigid, the smaller set (Spica's) are fastened to metal brackets studs in the wall of the room. The larger set (Polk SDA1) use spikes into the floor and are further fastened to the wall behind them although that is mostly to stop them falling over in earthquakes.  
    It has always seemed to me that speakers should be less susceptible than headphones to distortion from mechanical resonance in their structures, because  they would have sufficient  mass to dissipate the energy which degrades the sound.  Also you can help the dissipation of energy by attaching them to heavy object by floor spikes and brackets. So it is with some surprise that it seems sorbothane damping can even help speakers that use these other techniques.   
    I often wonder if the audio industry is deaf to these developments.  Certainly because sorbothane is a comparatively recent invention, patented in 1982, before this time, there probably was no way to  address this problem other than by adding mass to systems. I remember things like speakers built into concrete pipes, and filled with sand  However, now we know at least that Sennhesier and Grado are working on this problem.  So I am optimistic that changes are coming. 
    richard51 likes this.
  11. richard51

    My speakers are hybrid planars, hence vibrating ribbons in a part metal, part plastic casing, the sorbothane glued on it  immediately act spectacularly like for an headphone....For the sub-woofer i think like you it is not a good idea to put sorbothane feet under them for many reasons, one of them is the  better homogenuous compression of the sorb with granite plate , the best solution is mine, 2 granite plate slightly compressing the sorb. without destabilizing the woofer, spectacular result like under my amp...
    Ed what is the result of your listening with the SR-5 ?
  12. edstrelow Contributor
    I am listening to the sorbed SR5 a lot.  It's surprisingly competitive with the later high-bias phones. Like the SRX3 low and high bias, it seems very neutral but with no harshness. The 007A probably has better treble and bass and lower distortion, but the 5 has a musicality or listenability. 
  13. richard51

    i was asking that to you because i dont have any comparison at hand except the lambda nova basic non-sorbothanized...I was very surprized of your experience with the Sr-5, because i was thinking like almost all people that there was " progress" in the technology of headphone... But experience confirm a sort of trade off , trade in, between the qualities you develop and the qualities you dont bother with anymore when you want to market a new product...Personaly i dont want a better treble and bass without musicality...Hence my surprize because your 007 A is with sorb like the SR-5.... The Sr-5 is veritably a success for stax, without doubt the omega must be  more musical, and with more bass and more highs, and less distorsion also ... With sorb. the omega would be a must listen...[​IMG] 
  14. edstrelow Contributor

    The SR007 and 009 resemble the SR5 in construction, i.i. the are all round, circumaural phones. Stax went to the rectangular Lambda design after the SR5, So Stax ' progress is somewhat circular. You should try to sorb your Lambda, which I assume is a low bias. A lot of people seem afraid to.open up their phones. I have almost never had a problem this way. Of course, it helps to have a soldering iron, in case a wire breaks or comes off.
  15. richard51

    i will open it ( i had already the sorb. for that )....But for now enjoying the Sr-5 is so extraordinary for me that my motivation to made the move is low.... Like you said probably this organic musical  coherence  effect of the sound  is linked somewhat to the circular membrane and the design of the chamber cup versus  rectangular cheap plastic atrocius square [​IMG]....I am sure now that to made my system really better than what i have now and not a sidegrade move, a real upgrade move will cost me thousands of dollars... I plan to try with the money of my  "old age" the microzotl amp + a linear power supply  with an energizer for my Stax SR-5.... Only this will cost me near 2 thousand.... And for upgrading the dac one thousand more....I will made that around the Stax SR-5... I am afraid to buy an headphone now without hearing it before buying, because of this inherent musical quality of the SR-5... I have observed that without sorb. the SR-5 was musical already....I know that sorb dont make a non organically musical headphone  an organically musical one... Hence i am stuck with the SR-5 for a good time to come[​IMG] 
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