Denon D2000 - Headband Rebuild - Full DIY Guide (Photo Heavy)
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D2000

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My beautiful D2K's have served me very well over the years. Since purchasing them I've re-terminated the end 5 times, shortened the cable, swapped in Cocobolo Rosewood Cups and it seems the headband was feeling left out, so it decided to break on me - forcing a complete rebuild rather and repair. 

The original headband is a poor quality fake leather and padding that wraps around 2 pieces of slim plastic, spring steel, and the adjustable rails. Many hours of listening and transit over the years have caused it to deteriorate and the final straw was the screw mechanism inside the housing breaking. See photos below. 

YOU WILL NEED:

- Phillips head screwdriver
- A sharp blade (I used a box cutter and x-acto knife)
- Double Sided tape. (Fantastic for the temporary bonds)

- PVA glue or contact bond. 
- 2x Leather Stitch needles (you could use large sewing needles)

- A leather punch ( I used a 4 prong)
- A scribe.

- A flexible yet springy material for the structure (I chose wooden veneer strips)
- Leather: soft  and pliable, no thicker than 1.5mm. (I used upholstery leather (buffalo hide chrome-tanned)

- Leather stitching thread (wax coated linen thread is most common)



Onto the build... (ALL PHOTOS LINK TO HIGH-RES VERSIONS)


Open the 2 screws on the panel. The fraying leather and exposed mechanism are within. The central screw became loose and threaded over time. This was tapped with a larger tapping thread for use with a larger more robust screw.


Disassembly: Removing the pads will help handling the HPs.


Cut away the previous fake leather and padding and keep the metal frame. This will act as the core. It's springy qualities were essential for the build.


Here I used strips of 1.5mm veneer, held temporarily in place with doublesided tape, and glued with PVA glue. Contact bond is flexible and would also be ideal, if not better. When dry the veneer gives a bit more rigidity to the springiness and more compression, which is what I was looking for (as Denon's are on the light side of headsqueeziness)

I placed the metal core in the middle as this was ideal for fitment and made sense. 

Layer up to the desired rigidity and shape. Make sure you do multiple dry fitments first before gluing. Ensure your layers fit especially with the rails inside the band. Notice in the above photo the gaps that I've left for the adjustable rails. If you plan on using leather you will also need to accommodate for the thickness of the leather you use. I run into that problem later in this build which you will see. 

Place a spot of tape at the top of the band. This holds it all together whilst allowing the freedom to remove the cups during fitting. At this point if you're happy with the way it feels, place tape at the crucial points to keep it together. 

If you choose a beautiful wood laminate you could even get away with no leather, as I too was contemplating. But perhaps that's another build. Anyway...


Choose your cushioning of choice and cut to size. Double sided tape is a wonder here and great for quick placement.


 
Cut the leather to size so that it overlaps the whole frame -  even the metal tabs. This is important as when the leather is set in place it will move and having more rather than less gives you more freedom to work. Some leathers will stretch more than others, so be sure to check yours. 
Here I've covered the whole metal and wooden band in double-sided tape. It grabs the suede side of the leather particularly well and is closer to a permanent bond than temporary. Press down only when you're happy with the placement. 
The inside layer of leather will need more length due to the contours it has to mould around, hence always have extra. You can trim later. 


Start from one end and work your way down, pressing the leather firmly into the shape and contours. Dont be afraid to add more doublesided tape.

I ended up with something like this and now it's ready for hole punching the stitch lines.
 

The idea is to simultaneously punch through both layers. This is why the tape is so handy.
The hole punch works best with some force. Ensure you have a firm but safe material for the hole punch to go into. If you don't have a hole punch a sharp thin scribe will do, but will take longer. Work your way down both sides. The hole needs to only be large enough for the needle and thread.


There are plenty of great guides on how to stitch leather so I'll just link the guide I used. The idea is to stitch both sides together. Ian Atkinson - Hand Stitching Leather 
 
After you secure both sides down it can be helpful to remove some of the excess with a nice sharp blade or scissors.

 
After it's been securely stitched you can slide it back onto the rails and re-attach the metal tabs to the screw points. Once again ensure the thickness was correctly anticipated before this point to ensure you can seal the leather into the housing. I made that mistake and trying to adjust the thickness at this point was very painful and laborious.  Trimming the edges is essential if you do this style of stitching. Notice the overhang in the inside photo compared to the adjusted trimmed first photo.
I also trimmed the excess leather to a consistent border (with a SHARP blade) and burnt the fray edges off with a flame.


If you've made it this far - awesome! Well done. Your headphones should look amazing by now. 
Hopefully you've found this post enjoyable. Comment with questions or your own build if you DIY.

Thanks for reading.
David
 

 
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MikeW

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man, that's alot of work, the ebay fake leather ones with button snaps are like 8$. Good job tho
 
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rellik

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Holy mojo filter, that is quite the serious diy.
 
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D2000

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man, that's alot of work, the ebay fake leather ones with button snaps are like 8$. Good job tho
True - it's a bit of work but it's a ground up rebuild - more than just the leather - I had to repair the attachment mechanism and the button snap leather ones off ebay arent my cup of tea. Cheers though.
 
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D2000

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Holy mojo filter, that is quite the serious diy.
Yeah its been a long time coming - and should be the last time I have to fix anything on them.
 
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Maxx134

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Thanks for this info as I was wondering about how similar my Dennon 7200 headband is to this..
Haven't heard this D2000 but I did hear the D5000 and found it to be great signature with a woody tone.
 
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Reinhold

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great project and well done.
The natural leather will get a nice patina with time, i am sure :)

is it possible to upload some pictures from the current state?
 
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Stealer

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Awesome job there.. I am surprised U did not try to change the cable to a removable type ...
 
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D2000

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Happy to upload some photos of it's current state :relaxed: Just took these so I will have to get some when lighting is a bit better.

The leather is wearing really well and softened over time. The glue and double-sided tape has given no hints at weakening either.

I do regret not making the cable input only 1 side or even removable - but the opportunity to do so is always there. They are still going strong.

You might notice many new chips in the paint from their regular use. The pads have been replaced once.

When I feel up to it, the plan is to dissassemble them, strip the magnesium frame back, copper electroplate it and reassemble them, and in the process, re-route the all sound through 1 side of the cans with a removable cable.


20200428_170831.jpg
20200428_170854.jpg
20200428_170914.jpg

These days I shave my head and natural oils from my skin have changed (and softened) leather considerably.
 
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That headband looks great! I need to make, or get, one, too.
It's really hard to find reasonably priced leather in Japan, though. Despite the fact Denon is a Japanese company, they don't have any replacement headbands to be found here.
Also, those 002 John James needles can't be had here; perhaps unless I go to some specialty store.

Anyone know of a good substitute for leather? If the material were a little softer, I likely wouldn't need to get those nice needles.
Btw, I don't care about appearance. Something somewhat natural and more durable than the original pleather is all I need.

Once I get the material nailed down, then I can follow this tutorial.

Tried looking around for recommended materials for headphone headbands and couldn't find any useful info.

Edit: I wonder if neoprene (that wet suit material) would be ok. It's pretty durable.
 
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D2000

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That headband looks great! I need to make, or get, one, too.
It's really hard to find reasonably priced leather in Japan, though. Despite the fact Denon is a Japanese company, they don't have any replacement headbands to be found here.
Also, those 002 John James needles can't be had here; perhaps unless I go to some specialty store.

Anyone know of a good substitute for leather? If the material were a little softer, I likely wouldn't need to get those nice needles.
Btw, I don't care about appearance. Something somewhat natural and more durable than the original pleather is all I need.

Once I get the material nailed down, then I can follow this tutorial.

Tried looking around for recommended materials for headphone headbands and couldn't find any useful info.

Edit: I wonder if neoprene (that wet suit material) would be ok. It's pretty durable.
Thanks Hanser77. Neoprene is a pretty versatile material - way to think outside the box :thumbsup:I think it would be ideal for comfort, grip and finish.
I would recommend getting some that is roughly 2-3mm thick - any thinner and it wont be as robust, and any thicker and it might become difficult to work with.

I would also caution against using pleather again - it just doesnt hold up enough over time and regular use.

Maybe you've already checked, but have you enquired about getting small off-cuts from local/nearby leathercraft stores? The amount required for this build is pretty small and you may be able to score some for free or even cheap. I was lucky enough to secure these incredible pieces of leather directly from a workshop visit when I went to the esteemed designer/luxury furniture company Fritz Hansen in Denmark. The leather in this build normally goes on their flagship product The Egg. They were very generous about their scrap pieces and you'd be surprised about the peices they think are scrap that appear absolutely flawless.

Another option is to harvest the material from a cheap knock-off bag/leather product. Some of those items can be very cheap.

Worst case, if you can't find some locally, let me know and I'd be happy to ship you one of my offcuts that could fit the build - all you gotta pay is postage. I'll check my bag of leather off cuts tomorrow. Are you rebuilding Denons?
 
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@D2000 Thx a lot for the reply!
I was a little worried about neoprene not being a good substitute. Thanks for the feedback on whether it's a good candidate, AND on the recommended thickness.
Also, I appreciate the awesome ideas about getting leather via other means (unused leather from leathercraft stores, or harvesting it from other products), and the offer where you'd send me some so long as I pay shipping. So cool of you!

Actually, I just found this site in Japan that sells Japanese made neoprene:
http://neoprene.jp/?pid=98664081

It's 2mm thick and 30cm x 22.5cm
Pretty sure I can just cut it in half to get the top and bottom flaps.
It's a bit pricey, but I'm not really good at maintaining things, so neoprene might be a better choice for me than leather, seeing as it's relatively low maintenance.

If I were to go the neoprene route, I'd assume it would only replace the "Leather: soft and pliable " required material you listed, yeah? There's no way it'd cut through leather, but I wonder if that wooden veneer you used might cut through neoprene after a while.

edit: That leather they use on The Egg is so premium! Makes me have second thoughts about using neoprene...

Btw, I'm not rebuilding the whole d2000. I replaced the headphone cushions 1/2 a year ago, because they were worn like the headband is now.
Currently, I'm only looking to replace/rebuild the headband.
 
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D2000

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You're very welcome. Yes, just replace the leather in my build with the neoprene (or material of your choice)
I think it should be fine for the veneer against the neoprene, but to be sure just make sure you sand the edges of the wood material down to smooth and rounder, to reduce the chance of it ripping. If you stitch it all up tight enough it will not move inside the neoprene and therefore not cut the material.
 
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Superb thread.

I have a newish pair of Fostex TR-X00 which I thought were great except for the headband and ear pads. I was planning on double-face taping a Sennheiser headpad inside the headband but the removeable grade of 3M I wanted is unobtanium here and if I buy it from UK I have to buy rolls, total cost about 200 euros...

I'm not sure if I can undertake a project like this but I applaud the use of real leather instead of the crap most people are happy with. Every time I read posts about how great fake leather ear pads are I feel like I'm gonna to lose my lunch.
 
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