Grado modders go Magnum
Oct 21, 2011 at 4:24 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 4,965

stratocaster

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In order not to infect and bring the SR60mod thread off-topic I thought it might be an idea to start a new thread for those of us Grado modders who want to share ideas/impressions/mods concerning their Symphones Magnums.
Personally, I have been very impressed with the Magnum drivers and think that in view of Grado's unwillingness to sell drivers separately the availability of Magnum drivers is just what we need to proceed on our sonic journey.
At the moment I own a Magnum 3.5 driver set. As stated above, I like the sound that is being produced. As a result I have already ordered  V4 drivers and I am scheming plans of using them in the following setups:
 
  1. full wood Magnums
  2. full aluminum Magnums
  3. Magnum 1000 (Magnum version of MS1000 or MS Ultimate)
  4. Magnum drivers in wood-lined aluminum shells
 
Much has already been said about the impressive sound of the Magnums in full-aluminum, upgraded SR325's and MS2's, buying Rhydon's full mod. Little, however, on Magnum drivers in wood housings, different woods, with and without MS1000-like distancers etc. Now, this is what I guess this thread should be there tor to explore and share.
 
Oct 21, 2011 at 6:10 AM Post #2 of 4,965

Flipjack

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I'm using my v3,5 Magnum SR325i goldies with the MS1000 mod. I always used the mod with an MS1 and I loved it, but I wanted more. The MS1 drivers were the limiting factor in what could be a really nice headphone. I bought an MS-Pro but I was disappointed with them. They sounded very tame, to me they seemed to lack character. 
I removed the distancers and (lined) pads from the MS1 and put them in the Magnums. They were technically a hugh step up. The sound was very dark with very little treble energy. At first I liked it, but soon I wanted a clearer sound. I experimented a bit and ended up removing the felt from the distancers. What I found was really satisfactory.
It is quite heavy on the bass with the lined pads, buts that's the way I like it.
 
There are a couple of things that can be experimented with:
- Stock or lined pads. Lined pads are less airy, but the sound is more 'grounded', fuller, with more bass and a little less treble
- Depth of the distancers. With deeper distancers you'll get a wider soundstage, but less kickbass. You'll need to find the sweetspot between soundstage wideness and instrument placement. 
- Bare or lined distancers. I find the sound with lined distancers really dark. Bare distancers aren't recommend with MS1000, but I can recommend them with the Magnums. 
 
My set-up is lined pads on bare distancers with a depth of 11mm:
 

 
I also want to know what the differences/improvements of V4 are , so I look forward to your findings with the MS1000 modded Magnums, strato :) 
 
Oct 21, 2011 at 10:12 AM Post #3 of 4,965

rawrster

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i've tried the magnum v2.5 drivers in 325i shells and they sounded great but I've always wanted a woodie so I am going to send them to get modded and then turned into a woodie headphone. Hopefully I'll have something to add to this thread in a month or two :)
 
Oct 21, 2011 at 11:09 AM Post #4 of 4,965

stratocaster

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This is where I had my V3.5 Magnums first. In their original alu air chamber, installed in a custom made Blackheart RS1 clone:

 
Now, this is where they have landed today, drivers-only in Cocobolo shells, TTVJ flats:

 
 
 
Oct 21, 2011 at 1:23 PM Post #5 of 4,965

Twinster

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Very nice work Stratocaster. Very nice! Can you notice some differences in the sound from each wood? I know you have the full Alu sleeve so I'm curious to know if the wood is only for the look or can impact the sound. I'm taking a little break on the Grado mod for now (I'm on to the Fostex T50rp like many others and enjoying my new MS-Pro a lot) but will come back and try the Magnums drivers with a full sleeve I think. 
 
Quote:
This is where I had my V3.5 Magnums first. In their original alu air chamber, installed in a custom made Blackheart RS1 clone:

 
Now, this is where they have landed today, drivers-only in Cocobolo shells, TTVJ flats:

 
 



 
 
Oct 21, 2011 at 2:02 PM Post #6 of 4,965

stratocaster

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Quote:
Very nice work Stratocaster. Very nice! Can you notice some differences in the sound from each wood? I know you have the full Alu sleeve so I'm curious to know if the wood is only for the look or can impact the sound. I'm taking a little break on the Grado mod for now (I'm on to the Fostex T50rp like many others and enjoying my new MS-Pro a lot) but will come back and try the Magnums drivers with a full sleeve I think.  
 



The Cocobolo cans do not have the alu inner, it's a full woodie with just the plain V3.5 drivers, which have been removed from the alu air chamber.
For an elaborate comparison I would have to be able to do an A/B comparison of both setups. That will be possible as soon as I get the V4 drivers.
From my first impressions I can say that the alu-wood setup sounds a little more refined, very nice high frequency detail and clarity. The full wood setup sounds a little darker, more emphasis on the lower frequencies, which sound full yet controlled. Very smooth. Yet less refinement in the highs. I will experiment with pads to find the best combo,
I guess both versions do have their strong sides. They sound different, but both excellent in different domains. It will be nice to have different setups in the future to be able to choose a sound signature you feel in the mood for at the moment.
 
Oct 21, 2011 at 7:11 PM Post #7 of 4,965

wje

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I have my Magnum 4.0 drivers ordered.  They are supposed to ship out next Friday, the 28th.  Paired with them will be a pair of Iroko cups from Cabillas.  However, I couldn't leave well enough alone.  Last week, I started to apply some stripper material to the finish - it doesn't appear to be lifting the finish on the cups.  I'm not sure if Cabillas' carpenter used a clear lacquer, polyurethane or CV glue on the cups.  I suspect, it might be CV glue which is applied and then buffed out to a nice gloss.  I'll have to put some more elbow grease into it this weekend - or, see if some of my lacquer thinner will be able to loosen up that protective finish.  In any regard, I can verify that the finish is stronger than almost anything I've ever encountered in my life.  I've done plenty of furniture and cabinet refinishing but never experienced an issue such as this.
 
So what prompted the Magnum ver. 4.0 purchase?  I was fortunate enough to be able to test out a pair of headphones constructed by Marty where he used his cups, a pair of Magnum 3.0 drivers and one of his leather headbands along with detachable cables (both the stock copper and braided silver.)  The sound of the Magnum drivers didn't draw me in at first.  It took a few days of listening to develop a good mating to what I was hearing.  Now that I've listened to many artists and genres of music on them, these drivers are really outstanding.  Very clear, very good at instrument separation, very good with vocals as well as providing excellent bass and not too "hot" of a higher end frequency.
 
More updates to follow as this progresses.
 
Oct 21, 2011 at 8:07 PM Post #8 of 4,965

xaval

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Please, do keep notes pouring in. I'm still on the fence about ordering these drivers... with another woodie with 325is incoming I guess I don't need to be too anxious to get a pair of... 4.5 drivers lol
 
Oct 22, 2011 at 1:57 AM Post #9 of 4,965

WhiteCrow

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I wish I could aford magnum drivers....RS2 magnums...
 
Oct 22, 2011 at 3:20 AM Post #10 of 4,965

stratocaster

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Quote:
The sound of the Magnum drivers didn't draw me in at first.  It took a few days of listening to develop a good mating to what I was hearing.  Now that I've listened to many artists and genres of music on them, these drivers are really outstanding.  Very clear, very good at instrument separation, very good with vocals as well as providing excellent bass and not too "hot" of a higher end frequency.

 
I can second that.
You know, when one is buying a  highly acclaimed product and waiting for it, one tends to expect miracles from that prodoct. Of course, you then realize that these drivers are just drivers, no wonder babies. Badly engineered music still sounds bad, highly compressed music even more so, maybe even worse because the drivers bring out each note with more clarity.
With each day the Magnums have grown on me, however. All the audiophile talk may sound good to you, but when a headphone does not enchant you, that talk means nothing. With the Magnums I am looking forward to every minute of putting my woodies on again. That's what counts for me.
 
 
Oct 22, 2011 at 3:54 AM Post #11 of 4,965

DefectiveAudioComponent

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Quote:
This is where I had my V3.5 Magnums first. In their original alu air chamber, installed in a custom made Blackheart RS1 clone:

 
Now, this is where they have landed today, drivers-only in Cocobolo shells, TTVJ flats:

 
 


 
Those shells both look very good. But what have you done with the fine metal parts from the Magnum (that are in the upper photo)? 
 
Oct 22, 2011 at 7:28 AM Post #14 of 4,965

Chris_Himself

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Quote:
Excuse my noob question but by using these drivers with wood cups haven't you essentially built a new set of headphones?



Haha you still need the metal headbands, rod blocks, and rods... but yeah none of that is that important haha
 

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