- May 25, 2010
Alright enough with the joke already!
They are the H40 themselves ~ The modded ones!
I just keep using the H40 (its close to half a year by now) and somehow still realize how good the H40 tuning is with that grande presentation, the coherence and the big soundstage.
As i wrote last time with my impressions, that the bass is a little big for me, and somehow a bit bloated, just a little bit with mid bass hump. And details are not their strength (they are quite good but not spectacular like their soundstage)
Actually i have been think about this sometimes ago, but i didn't bother and let the day pass.
So 2 days ago, out of my curiousity, I cant help it, since the nozzle grill holes also smaller than usual, they tend to be blocked someday.
Short story, I open up the grill out of my curiousity.
lift up the grill with needle from the edge
And... i found out that there is a mesh damper stick on behind the metal nozzle grill. Believe it or not, this kind of mesh damper is effecting sound more than cables, or eartips.
I know they intended to tame the harshness, to smoothen trebles and high mids but from my experiences, the bad side effects is shadowing the good effects.
This kind of damper, the mesh cloth made bass frequencies bloated, because they reduce air flow as much, the mesh cloth blocked the air way. Think of tape the vent holes or blocking the entire nozzle. Bass will become bigger, but bloated, boomy.
They really need to stop using this kind of damper. Or at least, don't block entire surface, make the damper like donut shape, leaving the center portion uncovered.
Learn from big boys please, JVC and Sony how they make details yet clear, smooth, and precise. They are using sponge, from the cheapo MH755 until top end M7/M9, I guess same with Z1R too.
JVC does it different way, take a look on FDX1 filters, yes a rolled cotton on side of the nozzle, that is their secret damper. Main point is don't ever block the entire surface, never block the air.
This is not my first time, Been doing this to a lot IEMs, particularly with similar mesh dampers.
THe BQEYZ Spring 1 (see my Spring 1 review), various KZs (if you want it to be mentioned, but they need serious other damper), BLON BL-03 (see BLON thread).
Even the BQEYZ themselves finally take the suggestion, and Spring 2 is born, without mesh cloth.
there is a mesh cloth damper behind
Then I changed the grill with spare grill nozzle, the 4.7mm net grill is way to go. I would using cut of sponge or cotton if they are go wild (harsh).
5 minutes tricks change your $200 IEMs sounded like $500 ones, goes from $300 sounds. Seriously.
I was scared how good the H40 in their full potential, the mesh cloth hold theirs.
HOLY MOLY!!! i was expecting some upgrades, i can guess on its clarity, and maybe slight tightness in bass, but they go far beyond my expectation!!
left : after grill mod, right : original grill (small holes and mesh cloth under the grill, bad airflow)
+++Bass is 1 of the best bass now in their class, that sub bass focused, mid bass tightness and speed, they are very agile and fast. Great rumbles and texture and very very clean. Winning point is here. The quantity is reduce a little bit so basshead please be warned,
but they go from bloated quantity to great quality bass, with very good proportion between sub bass and mid bass, no more mid bass bloat. You have to hear them by yourself, this bass section is the major improvement you can get with this mod.
++clarity. definitely become much clearer sounds, close your eyes, guitar strings are there few steps from you.
++coherence and tuning. Tuning become more proportion, its like Blessing 2 tuning based on FR, with bit uplift subbass still with their decent note weight, more balance, less shouty upper mids but more highs extension
+speed. faster transient, catching up every single notes, precisely, handles busy tracks better.
+details. Add more of micro details, not quite a jump but definitely better than original with mesh cloth.
+soundstage. Same width, or maybe slightly bigger but only a hair differences, but they added depth and sounded more natural yet airy
++imaging. Imaging become much more precise and sharp in a good way. Big improvement from original slight blurry imaging.
+separation. become more clear with air in between instruments
+highs extension become more better but a bit intense and not so forgiving to bad records
*same forwarded and smooth mids, not shouty at all
-more intense highs, especially 6-8khz so treble sensitive people need to place cut of cotton inside (dont block entire nozzle)
seriously they improved almost in every sectors, especially the sub bass and mid bass, and they are 100% reversible if you dont like it.
Ok FAQ, what is the cons then? I want to say nothing, sounded like too good to be true, but really they are not harsh at all. Their tuning of pinna gain is definitely less than 10db. That explains much.
I was prepared to damper the 3,6,8khz but i didnt need to. from songs that i tried on past 2 days, only around 5% that give me sibilances, but they have bright recording. you can add cotton a bit if you want to your preferences, just make sure dont block entire nozzle.
Maybe the only downside they sounded more "RAW", so they more unforgiving to bad recording, again especially on 7-8khz, ocassional sibilances
So are they become much better? how better?
Yes they are, much much better, take with grain of salt since i cant A-B comparing, but from my memories, they are on similar or catching level of IT04, Sony Z5, better than blessing 1. And leave entry level midfi like Spring 1, i3, NX7 Pro behind there with definite gap.
I compared them with my Sony M7, they are catching closely now, crazy $200 vs $600 comparison. M7 have better layering obviously, its their speciality. But the clarity, the overal tuning and balance,
the Bass quality, the coherence, the note weight they are very close now, just slightly below M7. Before i can heard the gap easily.
One more info, I bought my H40 at full price, not review unit - same with my Sony IER-M7, Im trying to share this info objectively, I don't want to overhype it.
Seriously from IEMs i modded (and mostly they are better) only H40 give me this goosebumps. You have to try them yourself. and please do
especially @Dsnuts , give them a shot and compare them with Blessing 2 and Mofafest Trio. What? I'm not kidding.
*Note : H40, 150 hours+, default cable single ended, DX160 high gain, azla sedna short M with deep insertion (ps : now the spiral dot++ also pair great with this set, before i said too softening, too bouncy feeling)
Funny thing - my ISN H40s sounded like an entire BA driver failed on each and Penon suggested I pop open the grills. Sure enough that fine mesh had clogged - ear wax and glue had combined into some weird blue gunk. When I remove the grills entirely the sound is not only restored, but there is a bit more detail in there.
Can anyone suggest where to source 4.7mm grills for the ISN H40s for the US? I'd prefer something shorter than shipping from overseas:
I have no idea which of these are good bets:
* Alixpress (with many options in the related products area)
* ebay (had to scroll a while, maybe I'm not using the right search term)
I'll go rummage through my old crappy headphones that have failed to see if I can repurpose something else in the meantime