E-MU Wooden Series Headphones
Mar 5, 2021 at 3:46 PM Post #1,531 of 1,812

tdl2024

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Honestly, that is so far off from my own impressions of those two headphones compared to each other, it sounds like your set is broken. Not trying to argue with what you hear, but you are going to have an awfully hard time finding the right pads and cups to correct the sound enough to fix it. Pads and cups can only do so much. It might be a better idea to cut your losses now by returning or selling your set.
Yeah, I'm leaning that way. They're probably just not for me unfortunately. Shame because I had high hopes and well...they didn't pan out :frowning2:
 
Mar 5, 2021 at 4:00 PM Post #1,532 of 1,812

plmon

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Well....that's just it. I have tested it. Had my Teak's for a week now, and they're pretty underwhelming to be honest. They're not terrible, but they're nothing special. Instead of leaving them as is and settling for "just ok" and "well...I guess it's lighter than the LCD-X *shrug*" I'd rather do some cup/pad swapping to see if I can improve it for my tastes. I'd rather spend $200-300 trying to mod them than sell them at a loss and then spend $1000-1500 on something "totl".

I don't have the vocabulary (still learning all the terms and whatnot) to properly express my disappointment or rate/review their performance in any way that would make much sense...but overall other than the slight improvement to bass (over the Sundaras which are anemic with bass themselves, hence the "upgrades"), the vocals just sound hollow and lifeless especially female vocals...except for S' which are I guess "sibilant" is the word(?), the mids all sound jumbled and mushy and tend to blend together (don't know the correct terminology, sorry). I've spent the last 2 days reading various posts and following their EQ suggestions...and while they're better now than they were fresh out the box, it's still not great.
Just based off my own experiences wading through mid-fi land, I have to agree with the others. The tonality of the Teaks mids are quite good to me, including female vocals. I do wish they were a bit less recessed, but it's a compromise I can take since I can't find anything else in the price bracket with that kind of balanced bassy tonality.

But since it doesn't seem to fit with your sound profile, I can chime in on my pad-rolling experience. I haven't tried different wood cups so can't speak for those, but I can say different pads drastically change the sound. So maybe a different pad will work better for you.

I tried various Dekoni pads, ZMF Auteur pads, Aliexpress pads, and Defean pads, here are some observations from my listening:

- Pad thickness has a big impact on the mids. The stock Teak pads are pretty thin, if you go much thicker than those, mids will sound more distant. This can improve the sense of soundstage and imaging, but it'll sound less engaging and full-bodied.

- I found the mesh for a lot of pads dampen the highs too much. I ended up cutting them out for many pads. I suspect cutting the mesh on the stock Teak pads would give that little bit of extra clarity I want, but don't want to ruin my only pair lol.

- The Teak's stock pads have the opening slightly off-center. This seems to control the treble a bit more so it's smoother sounding. But getting pads with centered or even larger openings helps the treble comes through better and make the general sound clearer. But this can be a double-edged sword, too much treble thins out the mids or becomes painfully sharp.

- Off-center hole also applies to attenuation ring, so Dekoni's attenuation ring is kind of useless for comparison since its opening is centered.

- Teak has pretty light clamp force, so pads with larger openings were also looser on my ears. Sheepskin material was best for me in terms of comfort, it stuck around my ears better, giving some stability.

Will provide some specific examples and links when I get to my desktop lol.
 
Mar 5, 2021 at 4:16 PM Post #1,533 of 1,812

phthora

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Yeah, I'm leaning that way. They're probably just not for me unfortunately. Shame because I had high hopes and well...they didn't pan out :frowning2:

Unfortunately, that happens sometimes. If they're not for you, they're not for you. Better to face up to that now than to sink a bunch of time and money in trying to get them to be what you wanted them to be. That's my two cents, anyway.

The big draw of the Teak is the tuning. If you didn't like the tuning, there are plenty of other options around 500 bucks that outdo them in technical performance and would likely better meet your sound preference in stock form. If you have other pads or cables or gear to mess around with, by all means try that stuff out, but buying those things to alter the sound the Teak to your liking seems like throwing good money after bad. Plus, given what you've said about the mids, it seems like at least part of the problem is with the technical performance of the Teak, rather than the frequency response. I doubt you will find pads to improve that much.
 
Mar 5, 2021 at 4:42 PM Post #1,534 of 1,812

tdl2024

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Unfortunately, that happens sometimes. If they're not for you, they're not for you. Better to face up to that now than to sink a bunch of time and money in trying to get them to be what you wanted them to be. That's my two cents, anyway.

The big draw of the Teak is the tuning. If you didn't like the tuning, there are plenty of other options around 500 bucks that outdo them in technical performance and would likely better meet your sound preference in stock form. If you have other pads or cables or gear to mess around with, by all means try that stuff out, but buying those things to alter the sound the Teak to your liking seems like throwing good money after bad. Plus, given what you've said about the mids, it seems like at least part of the problem is with the technical performance of the Teak, rather than the frequency response. I doubt you will find pads to improve that much.
Yeah, makes sense. I just wanted these to be perfect for me though lol. I was more amped for this purchase than any of the other HP's :frowning2:

Question though...just occurred to me: does the DAC/Amp have much to do with the "shortcomings" I'm having? I know the Magni/Modi are on the low end, and some people say that the amp helps with the presentation being I dunno, grander(?) and bringing life to HPs...could that be a weak link in my setup? I know in the LCD-X thread everyone was saying that big/expensive amps can do wonders for them, but tbh the Magni seems to drive everything on low gain really loudly at ~10-11 o'clock on the dial so I'm not sure what to expect (again, still new to this so sorry if this is a stupid question)
 
Mar 5, 2021 at 5:15 PM Post #1,535 of 1,812

phthora

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Yeah, makes sense. I just wanted these to be perfect for me though lol. I was more amped for this purchase than any of the other HP's :frowning2:

Question though...just occurred to me: does the DAC/Amp have much to do with the "shortcomings" I'm having? I know the Magni/Modi are on the low end, and some people say that the amp helps with the presentation being I dunno, grander(?) and bringing life to HPs...could that be a weak link in my setup? I know in the LCD-X thread everyone was saying that big/expensive amps can do wonders for them, but tbh the Magni seems to drive everything on low gain really loudly at ~10-11 o'clock on the dial so I'm not sure what to expect (again, still new to this so sorry if this is a stupid question)

A better quality amp can often make a big difference, but usually not to the sound signature. One amp might sound a big warmer, the other a bit brighter, but typically those differences in FR are pretty small. Instead, usually the improvements are on the subtler aspects of the sound, the technical performance. For example, running the Teaks out of my iFi Black Label the bass is slower, less textured, has a longer decay and softer impact, and is harder to track in terms of individual notes than they are on my Benchmark HPA4. The difference is significant, but the change in FR is pretty minor, if it's even measurable and not just a psychoacoustic effect. That's the sort of improvement better amps tend to get you.

You complained about sibilance, hashy mids, and unimpressive bass, to paraphrase, so a better amp might help with those. Better treble resolution tends to alleviate sibilance a bit, less distortion from the amp tends to increase clarity and instrument separation, and more effective power supply in the amp tends to help give bass better control and oomph. Or, it might still come down to your taste. The X is a much more difficult and choosy headphone to drive properly, but you seem to be happy with the Magni powering that, so it's hard to blame the amp here. The Teak doesn't require a TOTL amp to sound close to its best. If you can, your best bet would be to take your Teaks into an audio store and see if a different amp changes things for the better. I have no idea if this is anywhere close to you, but The Source in Torrance could probably help you sort that out.
 
Mar 5, 2021 at 5:17 PM Post #1,536 of 1,812

bigjako

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I would agree - the issues with the mods doesn't sound like my experience at all. My experience though is unique in that I've never heard an EMU Teak without the Lawton Cups and the full (driver/cup) Lawton Mods, so I don't know how much I can offer - except that it also doesn't sound like what I've heard others talk about. I don't EQ personally (except for a Loki in particular setups). There is a Mexican Bocote Lawton cup for sale here for $265 and the Lawton mod is less than $100, so you'd be right there in your $2-300 range to fix them (minus pads, I guess) and I can say that you will enjoy the hell out of them then.
 
Mar 5, 2021 at 5:38 PM Post #1,537 of 1,812

tdl2024

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A better quality amp can often make a big difference, but usually not to the sound signature. One amp might sound a big warmer, the other a bit brighter, but typically those differences in FR are pretty small. Instead, usually the improvements are on the subtler aspects of the sound, the technical performance. For example, running the Teaks out of my iFi Black Label the bass is slower, less textured, has a longer decay and softer impact, and is harder to track in terms of individual notes than they are on my Benchmark HPA4. The difference is significant, but the change in FR is pretty minor, if it's even measurable and not just a psychoacoustic effect. That's the sort of improvement better amps tend to get you.

You complained about sibilance, hashy mids, and unimpressive bass, to paraphrase, so a better amp might help with those. Better treble resolution tends to alleviate sibilance a bit, less distortion from the amp tends to increase clarity and instrument separation, and more effective power supply in the amp tends to help give bass better control and oomph. Or, it might still come down to your taste. The X is a much more difficult and choosy headphone to drive properly, but you seem to be happy with the Magni powering that, so it's hard to blame the amp here. The Teak doesn't require a TOTL amp to sound close to its best. If you can, your best bet would be to take your Teaks into an audio store and see if a different amp changes things for the better. I have no idea if this is anywhere close to you, but The Source in Torrance could probably help you sort that out.
Awesome, thanks for the help! I'll definitely try to head up to Torrance, and maybe the Schiit store too next time I have a free day to compare.
 
Mar 6, 2021 at 3:19 AM Post #1,538 of 1,812

The Third

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Well....that's just it. I have tested it. Had my Teak's for a week now, and they're pretty underwhelming to be honest. They're not terrible, but they're nothing special. Instead of leaving them as is and settling for "just ok" and "well...I guess it's lighter than the LCD-X *shrug*" I'd rather do some cup/pad swapping to see if I can improve it for my tastes. I'd rather spend $200-300 trying to mod them than sell them at a loss and then spend $1000-1500 on something "totl".

I don't have the vocabulary (still learning all the terms and whatnot) to properly express my disappointment or rate/review their performance in any way that would make much sense...but overall other than the slight improvement to bass (over the Sundaras which are anemic with bass themselves, hence the "upgrades"), the vocals just sound hollow and lifeless especially female vocals...except for S' which are I guess "sibilant" is the word(?), the mids all sound jumbled and mushy and tend to blend together (don't know the correct terminology, sorry). I've spent the last 2 days reading various posts and following their EQ suggestions...and while they're better now than they were fresh out the box, it's still not great.
Might even be a pad sealing problem?
 
Mar 6, 2021 at 3:47 AM Post #1,540 of 1,812
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The pads are definitely very placement reliant, and you gotta seat them just right on your head. It's the ONE major thing I'm not a fan of here.
 
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Mar 6, 2021 at 4:29 AM Post #1,541 of 1,812

plmon

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A lot of the pads I tried were not that great on the Teaks, so I'll just comment in more detail about the better ones I tried:

ZMF Sheepskin Auteur Pads
These are definitely the most comfortable of the bunch. The memory foam has just the right balance of firmness and give, the sheepskin feels very nice against the skin without slipping, and they don't get very warm. They're a bit big on the Teaks, but the mounting rings should fit (I'm using a 3-D printed one, but the stock rings come off too).

The difference in pad thickness from stock is only 1/4" (6.35mm) but that's still enough to affect the sound! Fortunately, the tonality isn't too different with the Auteur pads. It's a bit brighter sounding in general, vocals and instruments have a little less body to them. The mids are a little less detailed than stock. Bass quantity is slightly less and female vocals can be slightly sibilant. But you also get some extra treble detail, the shimmer from cymbals doesn't cut off as fast and instruments like horns have a more defined sharpness to them.

Soundstage widens up a decent amount. Stock pads are above average in width for a closed-back, but ZMF pads get them closer to AKG Kxx series level. But the compromise is that you lose some of the intimacy the stock pads have.

A previous pad-rolling post picked the ZMF Eikon pads as the best of the bunch. I suspect these are probably a better pick than the Auteur pads since the larger hole size of the Auteur pads probably contributes to the brighter sound.

Dekoni Fostex TH-900 Velour Pads (mesh cut out)
If you wanted your Teaks to sound more like Beyers, these are for you lol.

Comfort-wise, it's better than stock since the ear opening is larger. But Dekoni velour is not as plush as Beyerdynamic velour and slips easily on my ears. I need to bring the headband down a notch or two when using these.

Though the pad thickness is exactly the same as stock, the mesh on these pads really killed the treble and made the Teaks sound pretty muffled to me. After cutting the mesh out, the treble is in full-force, especially since the TH-900 style pads have a rounder opening instead of the narrow oval. You get a boost in clarity and can hear more subtle details, but the downside is you get these nasty Beyer-like peaks. The low end is sucked out too, so the timbre of vocals and instruments sounds unnatural and somewhat thin. Female vocals are especially off on these.

Maybe could be a good analytical-sounding pair if you could find a better material to cover the opening with.

Aliexpress Sheepkin Pads (mesh cut out)
I had these pads from a previous experiment, so unfortunately I wasn't able to hear them with the mesh intact.

Comfort-wise, these are second to the ZMFs. The pads and the opening are slightly larger than stock so it's not as constricting around the ears. And the sheepskin + memory foam feels very similar to ZMF's.

Pad thickness is the same as stock. These are actually the closest pads I've seen to stock because even the ear opening is off-center like the Teaks. Sound-wise, they're like if you combined the above two pads. You get a slightly brighter tonality than the ZMFs, having a bit more clarity and airiness. But surprisingly, not so much that it's sharp or overly sibilant like the TH-900 pads. That off-center hole does seem to be for controlling the treble.

The downside though is that these pads have less bass and body than stock or the ZMF pads. The mids do not sound as luscious or rich. Maybe if the mesh was intact, it wouldn't lose as much in the low end.

***

Like others who have pad rolled, I still think stock pads are the best for what I like about the Teaks: A tonality similar to the HD6xx, but trading off some of the detail and texture in the mids for more emphasis in the bass. When compromising for comfort, I'd probably pick the ZMF pads if I wanted to retain bass, the Aliexpress pads if I wanted a bit more clarity. Since it's likely the low end would've been retained if I kept the mesh intact on the Aliexpress pads, those might be my top pick as an alternative.
 
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Mar 6, 2021 at 12:02 PM Post #1,542 of 1,812

bigjako

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I had good experience with the Custom House pads (most similar to stock pads) and the ZMFs but ultimately settled on the Lawton Angle pads. They sound similar to your description of the ZMF Auteur pads above, I think. I made some attenuation rings that bring back a little more bass but I think it’s the most balanced sound. The Custom House and stock pads were the most bass heavy pads but they went half on my ears, not over them.
 
Mar 7, 2021 at 1:38 AM Post #1,543 of 1,812

KamijoIsMyHero

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Reposting my review from Drop of the TH-900 Sheepskin earpads with the EMU Teak here.

Great earpads as usual from Dekoni. I have been using this combo ever since I got the pads a few weeks ago.

As a glass user, I was looking for a set of earpads that were more comfortable than the stock pads that came with the EMU Teak. I also wanted to tilt the sound to have a bit more treble presence and less mid bass hump. The bass is much too rumbly for me and I didn't like how I couldn't easily distinguish the bass guitar to the drum bass.

For reference the stock, EMU Teak has a lot of mid bass lots of rumble in the lows with no leak in the mids. The treble can only be describe as polite. As a metal listener, the highs could be better.

With the skeepskins, the mid-bass is lessened and much less rumble. Instead, the bass response is now flatter so bass slaps and the reverb from the cups can be felt. The bass sensation is a lot better. The mids aren't affected too much. The treble is a more present now but they are still smooth. Guitars in metal now have bite to them without being too strident.

The overall tonality is similar to the Focal Clear (my previous daily headphones). But of course, with a closed design, the bass to mid presentation is different. Surprisingly, the headphone remained open-sounding so long listening session is great, closed sounding headphones can be tiring for me.

As a tangent, the Focal Elegia was garbage to my ears. The tonality of the TH-900 Sheepskin + EMU Teak is what I expected a closed back version of a Focal Clear to be.
 
Mar 7, 2021 at 10:41 PM Post #1,544 of 1,812

rohit8

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I absolutely love the sound that my EMU Teaks produce in the entire FR, and I'm only powering these from a FiiO K5Pro. I also own a Sony MDR-Z1R, which are also great, but honestly I'm reaching for the Teaks just as often. Has anyone seen a sound quality improvement with their Teaks with a better DAC/AMP?
 
Mar 8, 2021 at 10:40 AM Post #1,545 of 1,812

The Third

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I absolutely love the sound that my EMU Teaks produce in the entire FR, and I'm only powering these from a FiiO K5Pro. I also own a Sony MDR-Z1R, which are also great, but honestly I'm reaching for the Teaks just as often. Has anyone seen a sound quality improvement with their Teaks with a better DAC/AMP?
The LG V40 makes the Teaks sound amazing, though the higher frequencies their detail and bass control improve greatly when pairing the Teak with the SMSL SP200.
 

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