Does the need to modify headphones ever bum you out?
Jun 21, 2009 at 7:21 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 20


Headphoneus Supremus
Jul 8, 2007
What I mean is........A person goes out and spends $200, $300, $500, $1000, even $2000+ dollars on a headphone and then after that expense, they have to further modify the headphone in order for it to be either more comfortable or better sounding.

I don't know about you, but sometimes it bums me out that certain headphones need to be modified and tampered with by consumers in order to achieve the optimal effect. I'd like to NOT include recabling in this scenario as I feel recabling is a slightly different issue. But I look at countless mods on this site, some look very compelling, but it just bothers me that it seems certain headphones lend themselves to the need to be modded in order to be comfortable. I, myself have modded certain IEMs, and I see no problem with attempting to mod a headphone or IEM, but it bothers me when I spend money on a headphone and then spend more time and money to improve what should have been already the case!
Jun 21, 2009 at 7:36 AM Post #2 of 20

Originally Posted by DavidMahler /img/forum/go_quote.gif

I don't know about you, but sometimes it bums me out that certain headphones need to be modified and tampered with by consumers in order to achieve the optimal effect. I'd like to NOT include recabling in this scenario as I feel recabling is a slightly different issue.

It's the nature of this hobby I'm afraid. Many people are purchasing the item virtually blind..there's only so much reviews can tell a person about the item without actually physically trying them on and actually listening to their sound. I've read a lot of people praising the JVC RX-700/900, and I listened to the 900 and was frankly unimpressed. I'm sure the mods will help these phones out. Othertimes, there are other truly worthwhile mods like the Koss mods that are virtually free. IMO modding and DIY is in of itself a hobby (within a hobby i suppose), and I take great personal enjoyment in the ability to re-create an item that performs superior to that of its former part. I guess kind of like people who fix up their cars and what not.

Also, out of curiosity, why do you feel recabling is different? Recabling is perhaps the most costly of mods to performs (both monetary and risk-factor), and it definitely can change the sound signature.
Jun 21, 2009 at 7:37 AM Post #3 of 20
There are plenty of reasons to mod a headphone but you don't necessarily NEED to mod them. Some mod their headphones so the sound signature would be closer to their ideal (in their system, with their ears). On the other hand, there are plenty of others who are contend with what they already got. Modding a headphone is sorta like tube rolling in some sense.

So it doesn't bum me out.
Jun 21, 2009 at 7:57 AM Post #4 of 20
Right, headphones should not "require" modding for better comfort or sound. Some headphones were designed with comfort in mind, others with better sound in mind, and some with both. It's whatever will turn a buck, and that does not always mean taking the time and expense to produce something that does not "require" a modification for better comfort or sound.

The thing is consumers for the most part are fairly ignorant when it comes to headphones and usually buy accordingly. And that just encourages manufacturers to continue producing as usual.

The solution is competition, which tends to weed out the lesser products, and forums like Head-Fi help this process.

But I don't get bummed because modding helps. If I can mod and improve the comfort or sound, then I get something better than what most everyone else has, and that's OK by me.
Jun 21, 2009 at 8:07 AM Post #5 of 20
Not at all. It is part of the game..
If you need to modify the headphone to get the last bit of sound quality, then so be it.

I wonder why you feel recabling is a slightly different issue? They can be quite risky, but if done right change the sound.
Jun 21, 2009 at 8:12 AM Post #6 of 20
Ive only ever dabbled in reversible mods.
I take some pride in owning a stock phone that a company has dedicated many hours to creating the signature for.
I also feel the need to say "if it aint broke dont fix it".
If there is a confirmed way to improve every aspect of the headphone that almost everyone agrees on, then sure. Otherwise I think theres often a trade-off that comes with it which diminishes the point of DIY phones for me.
Jun 21, 2009 at 8:16 AM Post #7 of 20
modding is part of the fun. Virtually every phone I've had since 1976 has been modded/tweaked in some fashion so it's neither a new thing or unexpected in my case. One of the first things I do it try some surface stuff, if it shows promise I'll pull them apart and do more. If not, they go, or get modded anyway.

Most things are built to a price, budget or low standard in many cases and are far from optimal in any sense aside from 'at the price'. Uncompromised rarely exists in headphones, if at all. There's *always* room for improvement.
Jun 21, 2009 at 8:29 AM Post #8 of 20
Well, I personally don't mind doing it if it means getting the sound right. For example, the D2000 in its stock form has a horribly bloated bass and only by dampening the driver, we can get a clean sound out from it.

The ESW9 on the other hand already sounds fine in its stock form and therefore, I'm more reluctant to perform Germania's mod on it. Speaking on that mod, does anyone have more experience/impressions regarding the procedure? The markl mod is well-documented here so we can get a good view on its pros and cons but that's not the case with the ESW9 mod.
Jun 21, 2009 at 8:42 AM Post #9 of 20
It's for fun. That is the reason I mod two of my audio-technica cans.
Jun 21, 2009 at 10:31 AM Post #10 of 20
Dont even get me started on the fine art of changing pads on Grados. Gotta love the posts that go 'I changed to the bowls, and they were awesome, but I couldnt handle the pain so I went to the 414s, but they look soooooo uncool, so I have ordered a new set of comfies'. Disturbing.
Jun 21, 2009 at 10:56 AM Post #11 of 20
Like others have stated, its a hobby within a hobby. Just like how people spend a whole day on their cars on minor cosmetic or performance boosts. It's just that much more enjoyable, and the end result will "bond" you with the headphones closer together.

I will never, ever sell or part with my MS-1. It's not only my first (entry-level) audiophile grade headphones, but I've also spend a lot of time researching, modding and listening to my now completed MS-1000. The sentimental value of this pair of headphone is priceless. Which is also one of the reason why I still haven't send it back for repair, despite how annoying the Grattle sounds.
Jun 21, 2009 at 12:55 PM Post #12 of 20
I mod almost everything I possess, not just headphones. Things have to be adapted to my personal requirements (the reasonable part), and its part of the process to "ensoul" lifeless consumer goods (irrational part).

Just buying is sooo boring...
Jun 21, 2009 at 3:48 PM Post #13 of 20
Some like modding, others like me have never found the need or want to mod a pair of cans.

Wait... almost never. Cutting off the screens on a pair of Marshmallows barely counts, nor the brief stint my Grados' bowl pads spent dressed in black electrical tape.
Jun 21, 2009 at 4:18 PM Post #15 of 20

I don't mod my headphones and don't feel any need to. I don't pretend to know better than the manufacturer's engineers.

If something isn't what I want I don't buy it in the first place.

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