Grado wood cups
Aug 13, 2012 at 8:15 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 24

Klaatu

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I want a set of the wooden cups for my Grado SR80 (non "i" version). I was wondering what I could expect in the way of improved sound if any. I'm honestly largely looking at them for aesthetic reasons, but I can reasonably expect improved sound. Does anyone have this combination, and if so what can I expect in the way of improvement?
 
Aug 13, 2012 at 11:16 PM Post #4 of 24

tzjin

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Call me whacky, but I wasn't of the mood to sift through 160 pages of posts.

 
Search function. 
tongue.gif

 
Here are two places. Martin does really nice custom work (check out his amboyna burl cups), while Chris_Himself has started mass-producing them, which brings the price down.
 
http://www.martincustomaudio.com/
http://headphonelounge.com/products/mahogany-grado-cups/
 
Aug 14, 2012 at 6:18 AM Post #5 of 24

Klaatu

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I was actually looking at the cups from Vibro Labs. This was mean to be a simple query as to whether or not I'd get an improvement in sound as opposed to a response of "U R a n00b, u no use search! Non n00b SMASH!", but that seems to be the case here. Can someone direct me to  a friendly forum?
 
Aug 14, 2012 at 6:38 AM Post #6 of 24

wje

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Quote:
Call me whacky, but I wasn't of the mood to sift through 160 pages of posts.

 
Actually, then, it's your loss.  In the modification threads, there are a lot of great posts as the modification process progressed for many of us Grado enthusiasts at the time.  In those threads is information on some small but essential tweaks that we've utilized to make the headphones better.  However, a Cliffs Notes guide for such a thread doesn't exist.  I would not recommend forcing your way into the upgrade by just ordering the cups and think things will be easy.  The thread on the Grados has some excellent user pointers.
 
Edit: If you don't have the patience to read through the thread, then buy a pair in the For Sale section with the wooden cups already in place.
 
Aug 14, 2012 at 7:39 AM Post #7 of 24

Klaatu

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I am sifting through that thread, but admittedly, it is a fair chunk to be expected to sift through for a simple question of "will wood cups make my cans sound better?"
While the bit about the "special audiophile grade shampoo" is amusing, it doesn't get me a lot closer to higher quality musical listening. I had already made it through a fair chunk before posting this query. I was just hoping for a relatively simple answer. There are tons of mods on that thread that don't even state if there's an appreciable gain in sound quality, simply that they were done. 
I'm new at this, and was just expecting an opinion from someone who already had done such a mod. I don't see that as terribly unreasonable.
 
Aug 14, 2012 at 8:45 AM Post #8 of 24
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OK - personal opinion only - and I don't have the experience with modding that Wayne (wje) and some of the others have - but here goes .....
 
I started off with Alessandro MS1is.  I originally performed a few basic mods - including venting the drivers (just a couple of holes), damping etc.  From there I purchased a set of Aluminium cups from another head-fier & tried them for a while.  Had to damp the inside of the cups - interesting experience, but not what I was looking for.
 
From there I moved to a set of full wooden cups from Cabillas (thanks to wje's) help.  From there I replaced the headband, recabled, transplanted a set of 325i drivers.  Oh  - and during all this I also played around with various pads.
 
From my experience you'll get the biggest sonic changes with (in order):
 
  • Driver transplant / changes
  • Pad changes (I personally prefer bowls - nice mix of sound stage & comfort).  For bass, look at TTVJ flats.  For lower end Grados IMO don't consider the jumbos.
  • Cup changes AND/OR venting drivers
  • Other tweaks
 
As far as the wooden cups go - mine are Iroko - to my ears it has taken a little edge/sparkle off the upper end (which is nice on the 325i) - and the mid-range seems to have a little more 'presence'.  This of course could be placebo on my part - but it's what I hear.  What it also provides is a very light weight headphone, which IMO simply looks stunning as well.
 
Not sure if that helps at all.  Here's my 325is - I love the signature, the look ..... they're one of my keepers for sure.
 

 
Aug 14, 2012 at 5:15 PM Post #9 of 24

tzjin

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I was actually looking at the cups from Vibro Labs. This was mean to be a simple query as to whether or not I'd get an improvement in sound as opposed to a response of "U R a n00b, u no use search! Non n00b SMASH!", but that seems to be the case here. Can someone direct me to  a friendly forum?

 
I apologize if you perceived my post as aggressive. I didn't mean for it to sound that way.
 
 
From my experience with aluminum cups, the difference is noticeable, but only up to a certain point. For example, I would rather opt for a Grado SR325 than a SR80 with aluminum cups. For the rates wood cups are going for, you can almost get a magnum driver, which would be a much more significant upgrade.
 
Aug 14, 2012 at 9:07 PM Post #10 of 24

Klaatu

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Thanks for your replies, they're quite helpful. 
The general consensus seems to be that the wooden cups do improve things, but not necessarily on the lower end Grados.
I do see that someone has asked the same question on the mod thread, but has yet to get any replies.
 
Aug 15, 2012 at 7:47 PM Post #11 of 24

taiden

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Quote:
 
Search function. 
tongue.gif

 
Here are two places. Martin does really nice custom work (check out his amboyna burl cups), while Chris_Himself has started mass-producing them, which brings the price down.
 
http://www.martincustomaudio.com/
http://headphonelounge.com/products/mahogany-grado-cups/


Hey tzjin, I just wanted to make sure this was clear. I am the man behind the curtain at Vibro Labs and the one responsible for making all the cups. Headphone Lounge was kind enough to host me while I got Vibro Labs' site up. I would say that I am not mass producing these, as each one gets finished by me and me alone in my humble wood shop. I have just decided to only do two styles of cups for now to keep things straight forward on my end.
 
I have noticed that a lot of people think that these are outsourced cups, and it is discouraging seeing as I personally spend 8-12 hours a day making sure everything is perfect. They are entirely USA made and finished by hand. The only reason I use the CNC is so that every cup has identical chamber dimensions. The faces are all totally done on a lathe by hand.
 
Anyway, I didn't mean to derail the thread or anything, I just wanted to make sure this was clear.
smile.gif

 
Aug 15, 2012 at 11:59 PM Post #12 of 24

tzjin

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Hey tzjin, I just wanted to make sure this was clear. I am the man behind the curtain at Vibro Labs and the one responsible for making all the cups. Headphone Lounge was kind enough to host me while I got Vibro Labs' site up. I would say that I am not mass producing these, as each one gets finished by me and me alone in my humble wood shop. I have just decided to only do two styles of cups for now to keep things straight forward on my end.
 
I have noticed that a lot of people think that these are outsourced cups, and it is discouraging seeing as I personally spend 8-12 hours a day making sure everything is perfect. They are entirely USA made and finished by hand. The only reason I use the CNC is so that every cup has identical chamber dimensions. The faces are all totally done on a lathe by hand.
 
Anyway, I didn't mean to derail the thread or anything, I just wanted to make sure this was clear.
smile.gif

 
I'm glad to hear! I didn't mean to imply outsourcing, just that you have made the process more efficient, which allows you to produce more cups at cheaper prices. Your cups are beautiful. If I ever got back into the Grado sound and didn't want to make my own, I'd probably look into purchasing them.
 
Aug 16, 2012 at 10:16 AM Post #13 of 24

taiden

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I'm glad to hear! I didn't mean to imply outsourcing, just that you have made the process more efficient, which allows you to produce more cups at cheaper prices. Your cups are beautiful. If I ever got back into the Grado sound and didn't want to make my own, I'd probably look into purchasing them.

 
Thanks tzjin, I wasn't meaning to come down on you, I just figured your post was as good as any to reply to clear this up.
smile.gif

 
As far as wooden cup makers go, every one has their strengths and weaknesses, but there should be enough variety between each of them for someone to find what they are looking for.
beerchug.gif

 
Aug 16, 2012 at 12:41 PM Post #14 of 24

bbophead

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Quote:
Thanks for your replies, they're quite helpful. 
The general consensus seems to be that the wooden cups do improve things, but not necessarily on the lower end Grados.
I do see that someone has asked the same question on the mod thread, but has yet to get any replies.

I used MartinCustomAudio to change out my 325i to wood.  I can't really say I notice a difference in sound.  For that, it seems to me you would have to do a quick A/B test to make sure.  Like you, I did it mostly for aesthetic reasons and I'm glad I did.  Martin does really excellent work but be aware that you're really spending the money on the looks, not the sound, IMHO.  And, incidentally, I use the G-Cush.  Barada Nikto.  
 
 

 
Aug 16, 2012 at 2:57 PM Post #15 of 24

Klaatu

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I used MartinCustomAudio to change out my 325i to wood.  I can't really say I notice a difference in sound.  For that, it seems to me you would have to do a quick A/B test to make sure.  Like you, I did it mostly for aesthetic reasons and I'm glad I did.  Martin does really excellent work but be aware that you're really spending the money on the looks, not the sound, IMHO.  And, incidentally, I use the G-Cush.  Barada Nikto.  
 
 
 

I'm getting a set of the Vibro Vintage cups and and a Black Manta headband and I'm eagerly looking forward to their arrival. I was debating ordering the G-Cush pads, although opinions are all over the board as to whether or not they'll be an improvement in sound on my old SR80s. I do intend to get a set of 325s or MS-2s in the immediate future and transfer all my hardware over to them. 
 

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