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Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by ProtegeManiac, Aug 2, 2017.
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  1. heliosphann
    I pretty much felt the same with the Eikon pads using no dampening. Overall a much more cohesive sound.
    Philimon and DancingShade like this.
  2. joostdh
    I have some Dekoni ear pads, also from Massdrop, on the way. They’ll be my first “pad rolling” experience. Hope they deliver some of the sonic improvements described above.

    Edit: I just noticed ZMF pads are up on Massdrop again if anyone is interested.
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2017
  3. Beau Cauchemar
    3C5A1A93-63D3-43FC-A847-37C90E30A5CE.jpeg 4DBEE80E-8C5C-4682-B580-63D95B3AA94C.jpeg

    Well my replacement 4XXs just arrived (first pair was DOA) and after making sure that they worked and a bit of stock impressions, I got to modding.

    ZMF Ori pads (with dust screens removed and adhesive felt added to the surfaces that face the driver for reduced reflection), grill mod (using paper tray material and no dust filter), and lastly a small bit of putty around the inside of the driver (a la HE-6 mods) for better seal. I also swapped out the cable for a custom silver-plated OFC one from Amplifier Surgery (store is on eBay, quality stuff.)

    My setup used is a modified Nuforce HA200 using a Burson V6 Vivid for the opamp (replacing the factory OPA2134) and fed from a XDP-100R via Burson’s Cable+ Pro (I swear I’m not sponsored). Power cable by Pangea Audio.

    Coming from my very much loved bass port modded Q701s, I have to say that the 4XXs now in their modded state are quite impressive and might just become my go-to cans at this point. Lots of detail, less sibalent than the AKGs yet still sparkly with no hint of veil (reason why I sold my 6XXs), decent imaging, balanced mids, good bass impact/clarity/quickness. I was expecting for the soundstage to leave more to be desired (coming from the Q701s, known for a huge soundstage), but I find the 4XXs to be plenty open. This definitely was helped by the mods.

    It’s late so I’ll post more impressions after I’ve had more time with them (plus burn in time), but I can honestly say that if you’re a fan of the AKG sound you’ll be plenty happy with these.
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2017
    Philimon, volly and jaco61 like this.
  4. jaco61
    Please describe more details of the mods or show some pics. Its hard to imagine all for me as also not exactly the materials you use. Thank you!
  5. FastAndClean
    they look awesome with those mods
  6. bagwell359
    That's a lot of changes. I've seen for myself what pad changes and damping changes can do. That's whats on deck first for me along with changing the cable to do 4 pin balanced. You've given a valuable road map for these. Once burned in I've found the midbass thickness to have reduced quite a bit. There is this bit of steelyness around 7-8k that can get fatiguing after :30 or so. My ragnarok in balanced plus pad/damping changes should take care of the bass. Damping and pad height can take care of the treble but that might take a bit of time to figure out so things that matter aren't lost. Please share further data when you can.
  7. ld100
    Can anyone recommend quality cable replacement without spending crazy money? I hate that 90 degree plug...
  8. mtmercer
    I got a balanced cable from Periapt Cables. They also have a cable terminated in 1/4” for $40-$50. Note they are pretty thick so maybe not the best for portable use.

    If you want something not on their site, email them and they may make a custom cable for you.
  9. Beau Cauchemar
    As far as instructions/details explaining the mods I performed:

    Grill mod (Credit - Jerg): https://www.head-fi.org/threads/hifiman-regrilling-mod.619447/
    Adhesive felt and Putty seal mod (Credit - ohhgourami): I won't link to this but just put "HE-6 mods" into Google
    Mod groundwork and inspiration: credit to Bill-P

    As far as the cables go, I'd strongly recommend Amplifier Surgery as they were made custom for me (desired length and connectors) using excellent materials (silver-plated OFC, 22AWG, teflon insulation, Neutrik connector, etc.) and for around $80. Check him/them? out on eBay.

    In terms of mods, I would say perform the pad swap with the lambskin ZMF Ori first as it made the biggest difference for sure (both sound and comfort) and that pad seems to be the top choice right now. I was tempted to get the perforated lambskin since I'm a sucker for air and stage, but having heard the regular lambskins (in conjunction with the air-inducing grill mod), I feel like the perforated pads would definitely put the emphasis too far towards the treble end. After performing the grill mod, I took the stock grills and placed them over the modded ones while listening to see if I could hear a difference. The change is very subtle towards a more open/air with the mod, but if anything it was really cheap and easy to add a little improvement. I can't comment on the putty and felt since I'm sure I wouldn't be able to immediately appreciate a difference, but I'm sure it helps the overall sound here and there and was also cheap and easy to perform. Modding is fun and a bunch of different mods might not amount to much by themselves, but together can make a difference even if any measurements look minimal at best.

    So basically, yes, I like so many others now consider the ZMF Ori (or similar) pads a must-have for the 4XXs and you might as well perform these other mods, too, since these cans deserve to be all that they can be. And again, because modding is fun.

    Quick Listening Notes:

    - The 4XXs (in their current, modded state w/ a couple hours of play) are not as even in overall response as the well-worn-in 400i I listened to a few months back. The 4XXs definitely have an exciting sound which is why I placed them similar to my modded Q701s I know very well
    -Not as sibilant as my modded Q701s so fatigue isn't as bad with the 4XX although the clamp needs some lessening given the weight and pressure of these things. When you're used to AKGs though anything is heavy.
    -Bass is present, tight, and impactful, but not as much body as the bass port modded Q701. This might change with some additional burn time though.
    -Mids seem ever so slightly recessed on the 4XX, but the slightly less piercing treble keeps them similar to the AKGs.
    -I feel like the 400i I listened to had better imaging as I noticed it right away as apposed to looking for it with the 4XX, but this could be placebo as some tracks exhibited excellent imaging on the 4XX.
    -Soundstage: 400i (stock) < 6XX = 4XX (stock) < 4XX (modded) < Q701 < HD800.

    I'm fortunate to be able to use my work's demo HD800s so I plan on doing a (relatively unfair) comparison next week between the 4XX, Q701, HD800 on my own equipment. I'll post my findings.
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2017
    Miataudio, joostdh and jaco61 like this.
  10. jaco61
    Very helpful, thanks a lot!
  11. donato
    I haven't done a lot of critical listening with them, but I feel the same. They aren't giant killers, but they are solid buy for the money.
    DancingShade likes this.
  12. redrich2000
    I ordered these pads. A fraction cheaper than the ZMF, mostly because they come with the mounting rings. Size wise they're almost identical, a few mm thicker at the thick end. I'll report back how they are when they arrive.
    jaco61 and Venture Guy like this.
  13. Stevensteady
    i received my He4xx last week, no doubt it's the most value for money headphone for me, but it just lack of WOW factor.
  14. Cruelhand Luke
    The 4XX is on my list of possible next headphones, and of course I will be modding them, so this kind of thing is helpful, thank you.
    If you do take pics of the materials you used and your mods could you please contribute them to the mod thread?
  15. TBubba
    Wow these phones have been quite a journey for me at first I liked them, using my Leckerton audio amp. Then I loved em, Bravo V3 (modded) but I still felt that the bass could be better. Then I rolled up some half sheet paper towels into drinking straw sized tubes with tape to keep them from unraveling and tucked them into the inner area between the pads. This 10cent mod improved comfort twice over and bass response 4x over stock. No Eq no expensive pads needed.
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