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

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  1. richard51
    very good explanation, i think you are right , thanks Ed...
     
    I think that the compression of the sorb, homogeneously, is very important with the glue because it improve the fusion with the surface yes...But  in my headband the compression of the duro 50 1/4 inches 2 pieces with this paper clip is not homogeneous and the result is great, in the beginning i have tried with a  thin plastic plate on the sorb.precisely to have an homogeneous pression, but the sound was less clear, and the paper clip was not stable in the gripping, hence i try without the thin plastic plate, hence non homogeneously compressing the sorb. (because the paper clip press  on a line not equally on all the surface)and the result was better...Only the thinner   rectangular piece 1/8 inches duro 40 is homogeneously compressed by the small paper clip and a thin plastic plate  on the sorb.now ... Perhaps i will try a more homogeneous clamping process in the future for the 1/4 inches pieces , but for now i must admit that it is very good like it is with these 2 paper clips clamp on each cup....  I think that perhaps with compression in general a firm adherence to the surface is necessary, but a less linear absorption of the vibration is better, if the thickness of the sorb. piece permit it. My sorb.1/4 inches  under the  bigger paper clip is pressed  non homogeneously, in a manner that make  it slightly curved...
     
    I am also convinced like you  that a tigh but not too tight  compression change the damping characteristics for the better... I am also almost certain that applying 2 different  thickness (1/4 and 1/8 inches) and  2 different duro simultaneously   on this headband has  added something better for me in terms of  a complementary filtering  of vibrations and resonance...I dont know yet which one  play the decisive effect, the 2 different duro or the 2 different thickness of the pieces, or perhaps all that together...But my sound is greatly improving in separation and  clarity with these difference in sorbothane application...
     
    It is very difficult for me now  to fault the SR-5 headphone on depth 3-d  imaging and particularly on the realistic natural organical rendering of the voice and musical timbre...Certainly other headphone are better, with a greater soundstage for  example, and with more  better imaging,  and certainly only way  more expansive one, but will they have this musicality and naturalness of timbre ?
     
    Upgraditis frighten me now, and excite me less ... How to discover something better? and at which price? sorbothane. is a cure for many headphone certainly, but this sorb. mod. resurrect my old SR-5 princess and transform it in a queen, righter of the rights in his own sound kingdom...[​IMG] 
     
  2. edstrelow Contributor
    Added another piece to the puzzle about  the best size of sorbothane  to apply to a headphone for enhancing its sound.
     
    Using my trusty Stax SRXIII Pro  with an set extra earcup metal covers I am able to make comparisons of different sorbothane treatments by the simple process of using the different treatments on different covers and then swapping one cover for. another. As I noted before it takes less than 2 minutes to swap the covers over.
     
    Previously I noted that the applying two  3 inch strips around the covers was not as effective as using the same amount of sorbothane with each strip cut into 4 equal segments.  Specifically the high frequencies were smoother, there was better dynamics, individual instruments stood out more and the bass was more pronounced.  But was this size the best or would even smaller pieces enhance the sound more? 
     
    So I took another set of strips, cut them into 8 equal parts and compared this to the strips cut into 4 pieces.  Because there are two strips on each earcup that translates to 8 and 16 pieces of sorb on each earcup. Remember the amount of sorb is still the same as on the original set-up of two 3-inch strips on each earcup..
     
    The results were  mixed inasmuch as the treble seemed even smoother and the dynamics and separation of instruments were also better.  However the benefits were  lost in the lower frequencies as were the lower frequencies themselves.  Because these phones are already somewhat bass-shy  the overall effect was not too good.   I would definitely stick with  the 8 piece set-up for the SRXIII.
     
    Of course you might think differently with other phones.   For example my Stax Sigmas are somewhat boomy in the bass, and lacking in treble.  They might very well benefit from smaller size pieces.
     
    Another possibility is to use a range of sizes, some small pieces to tweak the treble but also some larger pieces so as not to lose bass.
     
    I recognize that these results may only apply to one set of phones the SRXIII because the different construction of other phones could mean that they interact with damping materials in a different manner.   So one needs replication of these results with other phones.
     
    However using the SRX III was the best I could come up with to allow easy and quick comparisons. The only two identical phones I have are the tiny SR003's which are too small to really play with.   I intend to continue with these studies with the SRXIII pro to compare different stiffnesses (duro) of sorb, different thicknesses of sorb and different adhesives to attach them with.  The photo below shows the  phones and the two sets of covers.
     
    102_3672.jpg

    BTW is anybody else having trouble loading pictures? Could be the change to Windows 10 on my laptop.​
     
    richard51 likes this.
  3. richard51
    i had the same experience with the he 400, cutting the pieces  was better for me than not cutting them, up to a point for sure, because like you i observed that big pieces blurred the bass and mids and more pieces was better clarity and imaging...I think that no headphone are the same but this observation  is a general rule i think...
     
    edstrelow likes this.
  4. nick n
    richard51 likes this.
  5. edstrelow Contributor
    I am getting some great results applying 70 duro sorbothane across the underside of the plastic headband of both Stax Lambdas and Sigmas. I am using small pieces, no dimension greater than 3/4 inch.

    While I generally recommend applying sorb to the inside of the earcups of these phones, damping these headbands gives significant benefits in clarity and width of soundfield. I was surprised that sorb would be of any use on these headbands since they are fairly loosely attached to the earcups, unlike the SR007 where the metal headband is tightly screwed to the earcups and definitely does benefit from such damping.

    I owe it to richard51 for reporting that these other types of bands also benefit from sorb, he noticed this first with the SR5.

    For anyone who thinks this is impossible, You should realize that the Sennheisser HD800, according to their own ads is using plastic damping material,solely in the headband. I suspect that this contributes significantly to this phones reputation for a wide soundstage and clarity of sound. I also suspect that Senn is also using this approach in its new $K50 superphone.

    I have tried simply damping the band on a set of SRXIII pros and that alone gave an obvious. Improvement.

    For a long time I have been stumped trying to.locate spots to apply sorb to either Lambdas or Sigmas although there is space inside the earcups but some people are reluctant to open them up.

    Applying sorb to the underside of the headband is simple and the sorb is barely visible. You can buy a 3 inch square piece of 1/10 inch thick, 70 duro self-stick sorb for about $6.00 on ebay. If you don't like it you just pull the stuff off. The sorb sounds best after the adhesive bond sets, so allow at least several hours before you decide about its effectiveness.

    I have recently started experimenting with the harder 70 duro sorb after talking to the technical rep at Sorbothane. He indicated that it might be better in this application because it is heavier and denser than the softer 30-40 I had been using. He may be right and I will be reporting a direct comparison in a few days.

    The photo shows what I am doing with the headband.

    102_3556.jpg
     
  6. richard51
    wow thanks Ed , very interesting experiment with the 70 duro.... If i understand you the result seems to are on par with sorbothanizing only inside the cups? I have not try to sorbothanized only on the headband  with my SR-5.... When possible for me because i must buy a new cable before, i will try my stax  lambda nova basic....[​IMG] 
     
    There will be no excuse now for anybody for not trying this sorb. mod, simpler than that is impossible....
     
  7. edstrelow Contributor
    102_3557.jpg
    Damping applied to the headband is especially useful with the Stax Sigma because there is so little room in the earcup to place damping material. I was pleasantly surprised that damping the headband reduced the boominess that these phones tend to have.

    The Sigma is virtually unique among headphones because its drivers do not face into the ear canal but rather face forward and back. This gives their sound a notable out-of-the-head forward projection. With the damped band, I get an uncanny sense that the phones aren't there, that there is just sound out there bringing me music.

    I am jumping the gun on the use of the stiffer 70 duro sorb. I am still making comparisons of 40 and 70 duro with the SRXIII, but my initial reactions were so good that I started buying 70 duro.
     
    richard51 likes this.
  8. richard51

    what thickness do you recommend with the 70 duro ? 1/4 inches   1/8 inches ect. ?
     
  9. edstrelow Contributor
       
    Quote:
    I haven't compared thicknesses yet.  I have been using 70 duro  1/10 inch just because I was able to get a range of 1/10 inch thick small sheets.   Here is an old Stax poster.
     
    100_2266.jpg
     
  10. richard51

    ok thanks ed i will go with that and try ...
     
    I have order 1/8 inches duro 70 for my Stax lambda and perhaps my Sr-5
     
  11. richard51

    i am curious to know to what this stax sigma pro sound  compared with in the Stax realm ?
     
  12. edstrelow Contributor
    The Sigma is unlike any other headphone. The closest to it is the AKG 1000 which is a dynamic phone but which  allows the driver to be placed in a similar location.  Here are  a couple of threads that I started on the Sigmas:
     
     http://www.head-fi.org/t/464873/stax-sigmas-compared-low-bias-sigma-pro-and-sigma-404
     
    http://www.head-fi.org/t/175556/the-sigma-404-a-new-stax-headphone
     
    They preceded the Lambda series which uses a similar sized driver to the Sigma.  The are very hard to get since Stax stopped making them about 30 years ago.   Occasionally you can find an older low bias model for $500 and up.  The high bias models are selling about $1,500.  I have turned down 2 unsollicited offers on my Sigma/404 ( a Sigma modified to use the Lambda 404 driver and cable) , the last of these offers  was $1,950.00.
     
    richard51 likes this.
  13. scotsstax
    hi there edstrelow, i tried the mod using blu tack, and i can tell you this one word AMAZING!! clarity detail, no mid muddiness, spatial detail is superb!! thank you so much, you saved me several grand, and thats no joke!! i have very acute hearing, anyone  doubting this sorb mod , or blu tack, try it!! be carefull, as stax drivers are fragile 1 hour then sit back and be amazed!!
     
  14. edstrelow Contributor
    Sounds very interesting. As I understand it you tried using blutak rather than sorbothane as damping material and find it works well. Can we get some more information, eg. which Stax phones and where did you apply the blutak?

    I have only recently started comparing different densities of sorbothane. Looks like blutak needs to be added to the list of damping materials. While I listed "other materials" on the title of this thread yours appears to be the first report of such an other material.
     
  15. richard51
    this is why i always thanks edStrelow here....saving money is one important thing, yes, improving life of someone at no cost is another more important thing... i dont understand that only few people here had try this marvellous mod.... People like to spend money without thinking i guess...It is more easy that way....But more rewarding the other way [​IMG] 
     
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