Grado pads – taped TTVJ flats: has anyone tried this before?
Nov 23, 2012 at 6:36 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 10


Headphoneus Supremus
Aug 28, 2011
Canada, QC
Preface: I was a bowl user, and I was just converted to flats by the following trick.

You do that (with [red packaging] 3M Scotch or similar, but not [green packaging] 3M "write-on" Magic Tape nor electrical tape; I promise it won't leave behind any glue residue or take away foam if you remove the tape thereafter):
(12.7 mm is about the right width for covering the lateral spongy area around the flats, as opposed to the 19 mm, larger version of the same tape for the bowls)

The flats have that they warmen the sound from bringing your ear and the driver closer together; but with tape a new significant level of quality is attained.

I'm rediscovering my Magnums v4 right now, and I'm in love! (haven't tried it on the HP 1000 but I'm pretty sure I'll love just as much already) The bass is more visceral and feels deeper, the sound is fuller (actually it feels like a whole new layer of texture and sound in the bass has been added), maybe even more detailed.. and... my opinion, the sound is way better (balanced, more palpable bass) like this. I mean... my story: I've swapped Grado pads for one year (HD414, bowls±tape, flats, upgraded flats, and combinations / reverses / quarter mods), and, pretty much, I think that I'm done with it, and that I found what I've been looking for all this time! (Grado nirvana of course)

I urge all of you that owns both a Grado headphone and TTVJ flats to try putting tape around its side, covering all the spongier, darker shade of black surface.

This mod should work for all Grados, except GS-(i) and PS-1000.

My open back Grado (now a bit more closed in nature) sounds a lot more like my closed back (not so closed / not sealing at all) Kotori 201 (read Creative Live Aurvana!, Denon AH-D1000 and 1001 in silver), and have gotten just as good for "enveloping me" in lush sound, thanks to that tape, making up for a sound-retaining capsule around my ears.

Comfort on flats (taped or not) is definitely lesser than on bowls (in conjunction with Sennheiser PX100/Koss KSC75 pads) for me. I'm working on accustoming my ears to these new pads.

Two previous failed attempt at augmenting the bass of my Grado through soft modding:
It might have improved the low end a bit but at the cost of much of the openness and of an added and a pretty annoying echo / artifact in the highs that I couldn't tolerate living with (so I quickly undone my mod).

And secondly; really, covering the open backs of your Grado with a film of "Glad press'n'seal" reduces bass and it doesn't add anything in return. So you're not missing anything if you don't try this in your life.

Don't be afraid to raise the volume, your Grados aren't near as harsh anymore.
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Nov 23, 2012 at 7:08 AM Post #2 of 10
Have been trying to test this mod out for a while now, but yet haven't quite got to it... but will do. Have also been wondering is there any mods to G-cushes to not mess with the overall sound as many have said. Have tested them out on PS500 instore and did not feel they messed up the sound overall nor took away the bass, but should have them for home testing before going for purchase. 

Could actually post tomorrow few pictures off my PS500 since I've noticed them to have cracking next to the hole where the cable goes through the mahogany parts. But that's another topic.
Nov 23, 2012 at 8:09 AM Post #3 of 10
The Giga cushions have been reported to do quite well with the PS-500, strangely a lot better so than they ever done when put on any other non-GS-PS- Grados, on which they kicked the balance toward brightness, an effect not many liked.
I never tried G cushions, but I've already seen someone put tape around these too. I'm trying to find back this page on the internet, with a tutorial, photos, and comments on the sound. *Edit, there:
Distancing the driver from your ear usually dissipates the bass, which is lost laterally through the airy foam pads. Tape + flats is about pushing it to the other extreme (from bagels, to bowls, to comfies and to flats) by getting ear and driver as close possible together to maximize the received bass. The tape has the same effect, no matter which are the pads under it, of closing the space between the driver and your ear, which, I don't exactly know or understand why, returns you more bass. The infamous mod was discovered presumably by Tyll Hertsens but first reported on Head-Fi by Kramer5150 here (
I have liked 3M Scotch taped bowls since I discovered the mod but I'm not sure many have also tried it with the flats, on which it works just as impressively well, which is what I'm reporting in this thread.
Nov 23, 2012 at 8:20 AM Post #4 of 10
Comfort on flats (taped or not) is definitely lesser than on bowls (in conjunction with Sennheiser PX100/Koss KSC75 pads) for me. I'm working on accustoming my ears to these new pads.

Hmm, you mean flats feel worse than bowls? I've tried comfy and bowl pads, feel the comfy pads much better than the bowl pads. Now I'm thinking of getting a pair of TTVJ flats for my RS1, but won't get them if they don't fee as comfortable as the comfy pads (quart modded).
Nov 23, 2012 at 8:39 AM Post #5 of 10
Yes the comfies are what their name implies :p, them and the HD414 are the most comfortable pads for Grado headphones.
I totally find the flats' comfort trickier (and for the most part worst) than that of the bowls with the Shack Hack mod. I say trickier because you need to make sure that they remain aligned around your anthelix / antihelix (they just don't auto-align themselves like only the bowls do), and if your cups are just a bit too high or too low (or I don't know maybe it's just my own ear's size and morphology) you will experience discomfort after a while. The sweet (comfortable, tolerable) spot for me is quite difficult to attain, I have always had comfort difficulties with only these pads, but this time I'm fighting back and I'll try harder to become accustomed to them.
In short it will depend (I told you about my case), but you will need to gather more impressions... some do actually prefer the flats' comfort over the bowls'.
Oh and the Shack Hack mod thread's first post and mod is made way too complicated than it needs to be, just buy some Koss KSC75 or Sennheiser PX100-type replacement foam pads (that you can quarter mod) and put them under your bowls; and they'll be comfortable for as long as you want them on your head.
Nov 23, 2012 at 8:57 AM Post #6 of 10
Okay, thanks for the reply. I think I'd go for a pair of flats anyway and see how they work w/ my RS1. Really love how they sound w/ some musics, I haven't even put on my HD800 once in the past week :)
Nov 23, 2012 at 9:46 AM Post #7 of 10
Your RS-1 was designed to be used with these flat pads :wink:... and maybe they'll be comfortable to you since it depends on the shape of your ear and because of the fact the RS-1 weights a lot less than my Full Magnum.
I always loved the synergy of the flats on my 2001 RS-1.
And I'm getting to love these pads even more since I found out I could put tape around them and have my Grados sound warmer, lusher and with liquid highs.
Nov 23, 2012 at 6:01 PM Post #8 of 10
Thanks. Just placed an order at TTVJ for a pair of flats. Hopefully they'd be here soon :)

Mine is a pair of super vintage RS1, now using a pair of quart-modded comfy pads from my 12yr old SR60:
Nov 23, 2012 at 8:03 PM Post #9 of 10
My personal preference at the moment is to take an old pair of bowls and cut the back off, then stick those onto a pair of flats.  That way you get the soundstage of bowls, with the bass of flats.  I suppose you could try taping them as well if you want a couple of subwoofers strapped to your noggin.
For this mod you will need one pair of flat pads, a sacrificial pair of bowls, a really sharp knife and some double sided sticky tape. Age of the pads is not a problem, as long as the back side of the bowls is still in good shape since that is the side that will be touching your head (generally when they deteriorate it is the inner bowl part that goes).
Put the bowls somewhere that you can swing the knife without doing any undue damage to anything important, and carefully cut along the line where the dense foam that makes up the back part meets the inner softer foam, as in the pic...

I found it easiest using a sharp kitchen knife, and putting the pads flat on a chopping board, then slicing sideways with my free hand flat on the top to stop it moving. Be patient and you should end up with a neat(ish) circle of dense foam. Set aside and repeat with the other bowl.
Take your sticky tape, and cut out a bunch of little squares and place at regular intervals on the cut side of the foam circles you just created. Once you have peeled off all the backing paper, carefully line them up on the front side of your flat pads and press down firmly. Slip them onto your favourite Grado headphones and have a listen.
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Compared to flats and bowls...



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