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

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  1. richard51
     Oups! i dont think  now you are an audio beginner like me [​IMG]
    Happy new year!
  2. chrismini
    Hello Ed and everyone.
    I can report that my HiFiMAN HE-400's have been transformed into Hi-End phones due to sorbothane damping due to the experimentation of my friend Richard51.
  3. richard51
    thanks my friend, and we are all indebted to Edstrelow....[​IMG]
  4. edstrelow Contributor
    Good to hear another success story. Audiophiles have  believed for a long time that the only meaningful improvements to sound come about from high tech, mega-buck designs. And all the while the mechanical vibration problem has been sitting out there waiting to be solved. Admittedly sorbothane and some of the other materials now being tried are high tech,  Sennheiser talks about "space age material,"  Grado about "proprietary polycarbonate" and even sorb was only patented in 1982. But certainly sorb isn't expensive.  A few bucks worth will treat most phones. I have been staggered at how good even $2.00 earbuds ended up sounding after adding some sorb. ( see earlier posts)
    richard51 likes this.
  5. saidentary

    Richard51 is one of the coolest people on head-fi, in my opinion. Very smart, wise, and adept, yet also humble and kind.
    richard51 likes this.
  6. richard51
    thanks saidentary , youre too generous....I hope my wife would  stumble on that [​IMG] Happy new years !
    edstrelow likes this.
  7. chrismini
    I agree. Richard51 is the best.
  8. chrismini
    My He-400's have been transformed from cheep planar into top dollar headphones. All for $10 worth of duro70 sorbothane and some careful application of said product. This next statement is for owners of HE-400 'phones. Not HE-400S or 400I. I have no experience with those models. However it's reasonable to assume the sorb upgrade would worth as well. But you have to have some stones to disassemble these headphones and make the modifications. Keep in mind this is all reversalable if you don't like the sound. And according to HiFiMAN any modifications will violate the warranty. 
    Also a shout out to edstrelow who got the whole thing happening!!
    Peace for 2017
    richard51 likes this.
  9. richard51
    20  minutes ago i have the flash-idea to put 6 pieces of self adhesive sorb. duro 70 around the inside surface of each of the rear port hole of my Mission speakers, because if i put my finger on them they vibrate badly...The gluing process just start,  and already i listen to  a more stabilized  imaging sound....[​IMG] i have now pieces around each  front driving membrane, pieces under the speakers, on top of it, and now inside the port hole....Greater results each time.... I plan to put some more inside my he 400 ...
    update: in fact it is more than this stabilizing effect, it is easy to listen now more high clarification and bass clarification, hence this stabilization of the imaging...Sorb is wonderful. not less necessary to implement than the crystals...
    (On a lesser note: After one year, it seems that if the sorb. is under stress it is necessary to change it....under speakers and amp.  very compressed the pressure fatigue it ....) 
  10. Jaab
    I would like to report the result of my moded He-6, I started last year and I postponed many times
    many things unexpected happening!  I wanted to finish before year end and I finally did!
    English not being my mother language...if something is not clear let me know! I took many photos  and the saying "one image worth 1000 words" will help me!
    At first my motivation was to replace the SMC connectors by mini-xlr (I never have done any mod before of this amplitude).
    At one point I thought why not to add sorbothane inside? with the possibility to add compression
    (having read this thread from the beginning I tried to apply what Edstrelow and Richard51 have found)
    in fact the mini-XLR exceed ~1mm the hedge where the driver stand, from where the idea to cover the edge with a ~2mm thick of sorbothane.
    When I bought the He6 the only source I had was the dap Cowon P1 and a Schiit Lyr1, any of them were appropriate to drive the He6. The Cowon being the less capable (I was not surprise by the result! it was dull and lifeless). 
    At the time I finished the mod,  the only source availabe was my dap Cowon P1 and a beta22 I purchased few months earlier, I was not able to use the beta22 in balanced mode because I needed  a cable 2 xlr 3 pin to jack 3.5mm to connect the source.
    I plug the He6 to my dap and I was astonished by the sound I got! of course the volume was setted at 120 (I think the maximum it's 140). The clarity, dynamic, the bass it was enjoyable!  I was in shock! 
    I waited to got the cable to use my b22 and see how it will sound! ...for sure I found a better soundstage but the sound looks like out of my head (I'm using the original velour pads, not an angled one!). I can imagine what will be the result with a high end amp!.
    I didn't expect this result ! and I don't have any explanation ! I'm a little reticent to report this in the He6 thread because people will laugf at me! myself with my precedent experience with the Cowon I will not believe such statement! 
    I wish in Vancouver we had some meetup to show the result and to have some feedback.
    I think the mode can be done without changing the connector but protect the driver with some tape!
    I used sorbothane duro 70
    I have some advises:
    My He6 is a 4 screws model and I thinks would had been better to put just 4 pieces of sorbothane and not 6 as I did, the 4 screws are not evenly placed and the presure is not even
    I didn't use any glue for the biggest pieces of sorbothanes they were inserted by a little presure
    and I use a micro drop of super glue (gel form, more easy to control the quantity and the flow) at each extremity of the strip of sorbothne.
    I used also a very sharp chef knif to cut ~2 or 3mm thin strip (between the big block) otherwise perhaps frozen sorbothane are more easy to cut (?) I didn't try! 
    I replace the plastic ring by the aluminium one, but I had to use an hammer to remove the protuberance before to install the ring (can someone explain me how we are supposed to use the aluminium ring with those f_____g  protuberance ? ) and they sell that 10$ ?
    I bought new screw a little longer that the original (+ 1/4 inch)
    Avoid to put and remove the screw too often!  you will not be able to tight as well the next time
    is not a mod we can redo often
    Thanks you, Edstrelow and Richard51 for your dedication and this thread! it's unbelievable 
    sorbo is not more use!
    I had the chance to got a Denon 5000 (I think is not moded!)  I will use sorbothane but I will take inspiration on the Lawton mod.
    Sincerely the he6 with the dap sound incredible! P1090940.jpg
    edstrelow and richard51 like this.
  11. richard51
    All piece of audio gear, be it a HE-400, or a HE-6, be it an amp. of entry level, or another one at top hi-fi level, all piece of gear( power conditioner, power supply at any price, speakers,dac etc) are plague by vibrations that induce  generalized negative internal resonance, and plague also with internal and external EMI at all level of interaction, hence blurring some imaging or timbre,it is only a question of degree with the best product
    (at the top of our own product history life where we all are at some point of the entire course, we have no comparison point, except the last one, if we make some expanse to upgrade)  ... Nobody that pay much ,much, money want to hear that the product he was buying,  is not up to his optimal level right  out of the box, and nobody who sell products want to say that a much less pricier product dont sound so much less than the costlier one if you treat it with sorb. and crystals...It is the reason why people chase their tail to upgrade, like i was doing myself,for the first 2 years of my audio journey without satisfaction. (before i take an offer to experiment freely, giving to me by generous Edstrelow,  with the good luck of stumbling  on this thread at one point of my journey where nobody sells nothing, except low cost solutions) And if we can pay for top of the line product we live with the illusion that our system already play at his optimal level in the first place without any obligation to doing nothing for that, we all want to pay for some finished product ....
    For myself i dont have Alas! this kind of  money like many people here, and cannot completely buy this illusion, and i cannot go to meeting to listen by comparison, hence i only want to have my modest and good system now  playing at his optimum , and i only want to say to people who dont want to spend too much money that there is cheap solutions to experience some hi-fi , not the top hi-fi for sure ,but  not the worst hi-fi either ,without investing thousands of dollars...  Simply it is absolutely necessary to erase some vibrations, diminushing the level of negative resonance in your system, and  sorb. is a cheap solution but very efficient for that... It is also necessary to absorb and dissipate some EMI from your system, the piezo-electrical effect of crystals is a cheap but very efficient solution for that ....Some high end audio company uses crystals, it is not necessary to pay so  much, buy some  rough crystals, they are  equivalent low cost solutions... With this 2 solutions in my system, i dont recognise anything i play now,compare to the same system without sorb. or crystals.....  
    After all music is music when we hear it at last,and the price has less to do with that, than the sorb. and the crystals mods, simply because with this "law" of diminushing returns, the most important steps to make, in the beginning and in the end of our audio journey, is not so much caculated in dollars but in small modifications...
    Crystals update :
    i just receive by the postal service 2 sodalite crystals, i place them on the in and out of the panamax, and place one of the displaced quartz  on the central electrical panel of the house, in my basement,( i have 2 quartz now there) and the other  displaced quartz is now  on the power strip where all my computer and external drive are connected ( i had nothing there before)....Wow immediately audible change for the better.... I try some  other placement to discover  the best before but this is the best  ...Guess what: i never have a so good sound !
    My conclusion is a  combinatorial problem to you : calculate all possiblities of 5 or 6 species of different crystals (they are way more species but i have order 5 or 6 different species )distributed on 15 possible distribution spots....Dont waste your brain the possibilities are in the billions... my real  provisional  conclusion is no crystals sound  exactly the same at any place in any order,because of his shape, weight, density,internal  chemical composition, and species, and the change is no less evident than with different tubes, the impact change is in  fact more potent than with tubes( i know that, i have bought 400 dollars of tube for the Ember that i listen no more) and the tweaking to your liking is potentially without limits for a cost much, much lower than tubes and a more spectacular results... I wait for my best crystals to arrive in the next weeks... 
    Sorbothane update:
    After 24 hours of the gluing process that has begun, the sorb., i has place yesterday in the tubular port hole of my speakers that were badly vibrating without my knowing it the  least before that, is a total success, this modification has change completely the details of the imaging...I have listen for some hour this morning before placing the sodalite crystals that adds more to that...My system is now better than yesterday and better than ever with a NATURALNESS unknown to me at this point... Think that many people pay for changes less spectacular a great deal of money,all in all  that cost me a few bucks...[​IMG] I now not only think but really feels that my Mission and Sansui are stuff of, at the least, entry level high-end audio, but nothing like that without sorb. nor crystals....
    I wish  to all of you happy music...[​IMG] thanks very much Jaab for this experimentation with the HE-6, i am dreaming to buy a used one someday...
    P.S. I feel so much differences between crystals ONLY because the sorbothanization of my system is so successful that tiny differences are magnified and are no more tiny....For example the last introduction of sorb. in the rear port hole of my speakers  were stupendous and makes possible to hear more delicate change after that... All modification for the better adds toward the final bliss...You must experiment yourself and you will not obtain the best in one trying action....
  12. edstrelow Contributor
    Looks like a good way to modify these.  Glad to hear that it worked.
  13. edstrelow Contributor
    Have a look at p26 of HiFi News and Record Review  http://www.politicalavenue.com/108642/US-MAGAZINES/Hi-Fi%20News%20-%20July%202016.pdf  for both measurements and a discussion of mechanical crossfeed between earcups which is very much a part of what we are considering in this thread.   There is some very good measurement here, the author, Keith Howard,  has even gone to the trouble of eliminating electrical crossfeed   between the earcups due to use of a common ground. That is probably not an issue with most Stax phones which use separate grounds. 
    Of course the reason for the cross talk is the mechanical vibrations building up in the earcups.  If these were totally damped in the originating earcup there would not be crossfeed.   As I have noted  in the last pages, I am finding that there is still significant distortion to be eliminated by adding more damping to the headbands.  So I am very much in agreement with what this author is doing. 
  14. Jaab
    is not the kind of mod you can redo often,  to optimize it, but the result it's outstanding! 
    I understand what Richard say about vibrations etc but the supposed power hungry (it is somewhere) of the He6 is due mainly by the lack of dampening of the driver! it's what show me the mod. what I don't understand is why a more powerful amp is able to compensate this lack of dampening? and bring clarity! 
    the improvement is not a question of 10-20% but several hundred percent! (for the dap)
    I think all the Hifiman can improve by this mod and of course any undampened driver!
    I think we have to put the sorbothane at the source of the vibration and not around (speaker drivers and headphones drivers, perhaps underneath the tranformers too) 
  15. richard51
    In my case i have put sorb. everywhere with great improvement...Sorb. not only damp but absorb and transform into heat some vibrations that otherwise would add to the  power of negative resonance that destruct the naturalness of the musical timbre,  and destruct the fine information to construct the imaging...The sound we listen to is the result of a  fine equilibrium constructed by the battle between positive and negative resonance, between the reactive interacting parts of the gear,and the vibrating membrane or driver of the speakers or headphone...It is my explanation but i am only an ignorant audiophile with no science background for sure...[​IMG] 
    I think that perhaps the power of the amp compensate for the power of the interacting parts creating the negative resonance, empowering more the drivers or membrane . But if you put some sorb., hence diminishing the resulting interactive negative resonance of all the parts, you need no more the same  power to drive them adequately and compensate for the noise... There is a plateau, a limit to the possible quantity of  interactive noise that is under the  possible plateau or limit of the potential of the excited drivers or membrane, hence a powerful amp compensate.... It is only my speculation for sure...i apologize for that if it seems non-sense for a scientific brain...[​IMG] 
    It is very instructive to know that your experience with the dap and the HE-6 is proof that this headphone need less a costly or powerful amp than a good treatment like sorb.... thanks vey much Jaab ...  
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