My DIY electrostatic headphones

  1. coinmaster
    Not really a convincing response to get me to blow who knows how much money on DIY headphones. Personally I don't listen to graphs when listening to music.
    Has anyone actually compared their DIY phones to existing high end options?
  2. chinsettawong
    I have Stax SR202, SR407, SR007, SR009, and a Jacklin Float to compare with my DIY headphones. Yes, I do often do the A/B tests. I also compared mine against the Orpheus before.

    I wouldn't say mine are better, but I really feel that mine are as good. :)
  3. coinmaster
    What are the realistic costs of making one from scratch for someone without a milling machine? At least a ballpark figure.
  4. chinsettawong
    Wow! That's a tough question. Are you going to make everything by yourself? And how well build are you looking for? If you read through the thread, some of us here actually drill their stator holes one by one by hand. That's certainly doable. But if you want good quality, you might want to invest in a CNC router. Again, there is a big price range. I built my own CNC machine. I don't think I save any money doing so. It's just for fun.

    All other materials are rather cheap. I like to use the copper clad PCB for stators.

    All in all, if you are looking to invest in the equipments and do everything by yourself, expect to spend around the cost of a SR009 for the minimum. That's only my personal opinion though.
  5. coinmaster
    Not to the extreme, no.
    Someone once called me no-compromise-man. I think that's an accurate statement.
    At least in terms audio design, I can care less about looks.

    What's wrong CADing up some custom stators and ordering them from PCBway or something?
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2017
  6. chinsettawong
    I'm only here to help those who like to DIY. If you want to hire someone to do the works, I don't know much about that.
  7. coinmaster
    Ordering custom PCB stators from a PCB fabricator doesn't really count as "hiring someone to do the work", in that case you might as well mine and smelt the copper ore to make your stators or else it's not diy.. Unless you're implying the creation of the stators is the only difficult part in the creation of DIY ES headphones.
    In which case I don't know why you would make them by hand when you could get them ordered to spec with better accuracy and reproducability.
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2017
  8. 100VoltTube
    @Muamp has some experience getting his stators made by PCBway. He did a group buy (sort of) recently, and he may do one again. I'm sure he can chime in with details about his experience.

    I have been able to get this far (all parts ordered, waiting for some to come) spending under 1K, probably even under $500, but I did go for a cheap Chinese CNC router kit as opposed to a nice one and a trafo box instead of a direct-drive amp.

    Also, I just looked at the FR4 sheets I've had laying around for some time, and I noticed that the copper isn't too good looking (it's corroded and scratched up in places) How should I clean it? Or does it even matter?
  9. Muamp
    Wow, this thread has been busy recently.
    @100VoltTube - Yes I did run a batch of stators for others to use. It went well, but I do not have plans to do any more 'group buys'.
    The PCBway stators, after a bit of trial and error were to a very high standard and as flat and rigid as my Bungard CNCed stators. Like all aspects, going through a PCB fab' house still has a certain amount of development required, where the first set from the fab' house may not be as good as you expected. The CNC option allows faster experimentation and testing.

    I very much agree with Wachara, the costs to set up and DIY (even with PCB fab') can be quite high, and the time to design, test, build, with all the test builds in development are expensive, but you can get results as good as the best which are custom built to your own requirements.

    Last edited: Jul 4, 2017
  10. coinmaster
    Any chance a sharing the design file for that PCBway run? I don't need a group buy to order two stators.
    What else is expensive other then the stator?
  11. Muamp
    Hi Coinmaster,

    To make a headphone you will need four stators since there are two stators per panel.
    The minimum order size is 10 (edited 5) PCB's and I am about to get some more for myself. If you want I can get you four stators at the same time.

    BTW, my stators do not have bolt holes, since I use the surrounds as a means of securing and fastening them together. This may not be everyones choice.
    I guess you are familiar with producing Gerber files. If you wish to use a DXF file of the vectors..... then you may prefer to modify to your needs.


    Edit: Other costs are mainly from experimentation and improvements.
    Once you start, you want to keep going with ideas and sometimes they are improvements and sometimes just lessons learnt.
    Also, without a CNC or 3D printer you will probably not be able to make a surround, plug....
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2017
  12. coinmaster
    Oh right, duh. Not sure what I was thinking when I said 2.

    What do you mean by "the surrounds"

    I've used designspark quite a lot so I know a few things.
  13. Muamp
    Surrounds - the casing for the panel. The bit to hold the panel and attach the ear cushion and also to the headband.

    You use DesignSpark? Mmmm,..... I have tried three times to get familiar with DS and three times given up on it.
    I used to use CadSoft Eagle but now I always use KiCAD (PCBnew), much better.
  14. coinmaster
    Did you custom order all your parts?
  15. Muamp
    Heck, No.
    I make every part. I originally made up Gerbers for stators as nothing more than one of the 'improvement' exercises.
    I also got stators made up as single sided, double sided on FR4, also Aluminium substrate PCBs as a test,..... this is an example of how it can get expensive. You get addicted to trying, testing and experimenting with different ideas..... It is a part of the fun..... BUT can be time consuming,... you need to take ESHS building seriously as it is not a 5 minute job.
    chinsettawong likes this.

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