Should I markl mod my Denon D5000 / is it worth it?
Nov 8, 2008 at 9:06 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 14

monsieurguzel

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so I recently bought a pair of denon d5000 headphones and am somewhat content with them. They have decent bass and imaging but they feel a little flat and missing air. I am tempted to do the markl mod on them but am mostly worried if they will become less mellow and too harsh to listen to for classical and jazz. I have them hooked up to a Woo Audio 6 SE if that helps soften the sound. It feels like a lot of people in this forum think that it is a great mod but would rather stick to the stock model. Feedback would be greatly appreciated. I listen to classical / jazz / classic rock predominantly. Thanks
 
Nov 8, 2008 at 11:52 AM Post #2 of 14
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I reckon, do it! The cup-stuffing is reversible and would probably be a good start. That would give them a bit more air.

My only current dislike of my MD5000s is that it's brought out the highs a tad too much and the bass is still a tad too strong, making the cans a tad fatiguing. I'm going to order a set of mulga cups though from Lawton Audio (as Markl's business is now called) as he reckons those fix my two small gripes. I shall report back when I do.
 
Nov 8, 2008 at 2:48 PM Post #3 of 14

Gradofan2

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As you may have seen from my earlier posts on this topic... I don't think the "Markl Mods" make such a big improvement in the D5000s.

The most important factor in improving their sound... is... 1) burn in, and 2) an amp with low impedance and high current output. With 400+ hours of burn in, and the X-CANv8, the D5000s sound about as good as they are able to sound - which is very good. I think they sound about as good with my WA 6 SEMxd... though... I think they sound a bit better with the X-CANv8. Their bass is still pretty strong, and their highs are pretty prominent - but better controlled.

I would not expect a major improvement from the "Markl mods." If you are not "sold" on their sound in their stock form with your SE... I really don't think, you will be after the mods... unless... you're very sensative / discriminating, and notice small changes in the sound.
 
Nov 8, 2008 at 8:26 PM Post #4 of 14

monsieurguzel

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I must say that I agree with you Gradofan. When the headphones were hooked to my Apogee Duet, they were actually unbearably boomy sounding and not very pleasant to listen to. Now with my WA6SE, they are a lot more mellow and enjoyable. However, I wish they had a little bit more of spark to them if that makes sense...which is where I am wondering if the markl mod would help...

Out of curiousity, was the markl mod a sort of flavor of the month a little while back, where everyone thought they were a lot better becuase of how popular it was? Now i don't hear as much about them...
 
Nov 8, 2008 at 9:51 PM Post #5 of 14

Gradofan2

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Quote:

Originally Posted by monsieurguzel /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I must say that I agree with you Gradofan. When the headphones were hooked to my Apogee Duet, they were actually unbearably boomy sounding and not very pleasant to listen to. Now with my WA6SE, they are a lot more mellow and enjoyable. However, I wish they had a little bit more of spark to them if that makes sense...which is where I am wondering if the markl mod would help...

Out of curiousity, was the markl mod a sort of flavor of the month a little while back, where everyone thought they were a lot better becuase of how popular it was? Now i don't hear as much about them...



Perhaps so...

Though, I think its just because there was not enough experience with them with various amps and sources, and with sufficient burn in... before... people realized the "Markle mods," by themselves, really didn't make a huge difference in their sound. They may make a bit of a difference in their sound new "out-of-the-box" with amps that don't match well... but... not after their burn in, and with the right amp.
 
Nov 8, 2008 at 10:22 PM Post #6 of 14

Caribou679

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Quote:

Originally Posted by monsieurguzel /img/forum/go_quote.gif

Out of curiousity, was the markl mod a sort of flavor of the month a little while back, where everyone thought they were a lot better becuase of how popular it was? Now i don't hear as much about them...



If I recall correctly, he sold his Sony R10 because the Denon 5000 modded sounded equal or better! At that point head-fiers became interested.
 
Nov 8, 2008 at 10:23 PM Post #7 of 14

markl

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As always, when you underpower the Denons with a tube amp that's one way to stifle bass, but say hello to sloooooow sound and soft clipping. Some might find that effect pleasant and "warm" sounding, but it sure isn't optimizing the phone's performance.

As to degree of change, here's another opinion:

Quote:

Though the time I spent listening was admittedly short, one thing was quickly apparent. The MkD5000 sounded NOTHING like the stock. In fact, it has totally changed the sonic characteristics of the Denon D5000. This was definitely no minor tweak.


So, somewhere between no difference and total transformation probably lies the truth...
wink.gif
The good news is you can try it yourself for free and see what you hear.
 
Nov 9, 2008 at 12:57 AM Post #8 of 14

Steve_72

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Currawong /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I reckon, do it! The cup-stuffing is reversible and would probably be a good start. That would give them a bit more air.

My only current dislike of my MD5000s is that it's brought out the highs a tad too much and the bass is still a tad too strong, making the cans a tad fatiguing. I'm going to order a set of mulga cups though from Lawton Audio (as Markl's business is now called) as he reckons those fix my two small gripes. I shall report back when I do.



Hey Currawong, would you say the MD5000 are more or less bright than the K701?

Thanks
 
Nov 9, 2008 at 2:16 AM Post #9 of 14

mrarroyo

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I had an opportunity to compare the stock D5000 w/ a MarkL modded at the Orlando Meet back in August. IMO there was no comparison and I preferred the MarkL modded D5000, the bass was more controled and the highs were not only there but so were the upper mids.
 
Nov 9, 2008 at 2:23 AM Post #10 of 14

Rednamalas1

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Quote:

Originally Posted by mrarroyo /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I had an opportunity to compare the stock D5000 w/ a MarkL modded at the Orlando Meet back in August. IMO there was no comparison and I preferred the MarkL modded D5000, the bass was more controled and the highs were not only there but so were the upper mids.


interesting stuff. I remember being unimpressed with stock D2000s and D5000s and kept me from recommending those cans at that price range. While I'm not a basshead, I consider myself as being very critical of bass quality. I need to try out markl modded ones to see how good those babies really are.
 
Nov 9, 2008 at 3:32 AM Post #11 of 14
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Steve_72 /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Hey Currawong, would you say the MD5000 are more or less bright than the K701?


Hmm, that's tricky, as I had the ALO-recabled ones. The difference I remember so distinctly, as it is the signature of the Denons is the sheer body in the music. I couldn't go back to my AKGs after that. However, this was partially due to poor amping. I don't recall finding them any more or less bright. ALO's re-cabling is supposed to open up the top end a bit though, just as Markl-modding the D5000 does.

I tried a pair of R10s the other day and they did nothing for my set-up that was any more remarkable than my MD5000s. I think where the Denons succeed is, you can get away with a lot more with them, such as using them on a relatively poor source and you'll still have a lot of fun.

However, when I upgraded my amp to a better solid state one, the better bass control and detail was very noticeable. I guess what I'm saying is, they scale more usefully to the average head-fi'er without the demands the R10 have.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Rednamalas1 /img/forum/go_quote.gif
interesting stuff. I remember being unimpressed with stock D2000s and D5000s and kept me from recommending those cans at that price range. While I'm not a basshead, I consider myself as being very critical of bass quality. I need to try out markl modded ones to see how good those babies really are.


I've noticed you're a big AT fan. I'm the opposite. For me, AT's cans sound dull and boring. I blame the Denons though, as even a Zu-recabled pair of HD650s sounded boring to me after listening to my MD5000s for months. The most expensive ATs I listened to, the W10VTGs, sound less musical than the Zu'ed HD650s. A lot of people seem to like Audio Technica, so I don't want to go around trashing them (though it's tempting) because it could just be me.
 
Nov 9, 2008 at 4:13 AM Post #12 of 14

Rednamalas1

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Currawong /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I've noticed you're a big AT fan. I'm the opposite. For me, AT's cans sound dull and boring. I blame the Denons though, as even a Zu-recabled pair of HD650s sounded boring to me after listening to my MD5000s for months. The most expensive ATs I listened to, the W10VTGs, sound less musical than the Zu'ed HD650s. A lot of people seem to like Audio Technica, so I don't want to go around trashing them (though it's tempting) because it could just be me.


it's matter of preference I guess. I found HD650s to be boring until I tried them with really good amping. As for AT's, their coloration tend to throw some people off, while I find it very musical, save for few AT's (A900/700 and W1000). Combine that with speedy, tight bass, and I'm pretty happy with their sound.
 
Nov 9, 2008 at 4:34 AM Post #13 of 14

monsieurguzel

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Well I own both pairs and love them both!! I don't find the HD650s with Silver Dragon cable to be dull at all and I must say that they really shine with a good powerful tube amp! I plan on keeping both headphones because both denons and sennheisers offer me a different experience. The sennheiser feel more airy and analytical for accoustic music/ jazz/ classical while the denons have the more fun lively and punchy sound.

Btw, I finally decided to start modding my D5000s and so far only did the earpad stuffing/tilting mod. I must admit that i already notice a more spacious sound! So i plan on damping the inside of the cup but am wondering how reversible the whole process is? I know dynamat has a sticky back, but does it come off pretty easily?
 
Nov 9, 2008 at 5:46 AM Post #14 of 14

K3cT

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To quote the full opinion where markl's statement comes from:

Quote:

Originally Posted by Scanfiend
Though the time I spent listening was admittedly short, one thing was quickly apparent. The MkD5000 sounded NOTHING like the stock. In fact, it has totally changed the sonic characteristics of the Denon D5000. This was definitely no minor tweak.

Compared to the stock D5000, the MD5000 was considerably brighter sounding. Bass, as one might imagine, was extremely tight, with strong impact, detail and great extension. If MarkL wanted to damp “unwanted” vibrations, he succeeded brilliantly. The sound, however, does hit you like a hammer blow, and there was very little “give” to the music. Everything was somewhat hard-edged, and there was an almost clinical, defined separation of frequencies. To my ears, soundstage was wide but lacked depth in comparison with the stock D5000. The mids were more forward and can be quite prominent in vocal pieces. Surprisingly, the treble was uncomfortably shrill, harsh and brittle sounding, leading to excessive sibilance on certain songs. Sarah Brightman’s vocals, for example, was a bit uncomfortable to listen to. It did not compare favourably with the light, buttery smooth and delicate treble of the stock D5000. The treble could conceivably mellow over further burn-in – I have no idea how many hours the MkD5000 had on the odometer Grin

What about the bass of a stock D5000 when compared to the MkD5000? After all, modifying the bass response was the primary purpose of the mod. You can read all the reviews and impressions you want, but nothing really beats a hands-on comparison to put abstract words and descriptions into actual experience.

As I have mentioned earlier, the MkD5000’s bass was extremely taut and controlled. The stock D5000’s bass in comparison was slightly more diffused, arguably less controlled, and in MarkL’s own words tend to bleed and blend into the lower mids. But the overall effect was very smooth and musical. It warmed out the vocals ever so slightly and never hits you in the face quite like the MkD5000. The bass was certainly there, but it was never “overwhelming”. To my ears, the stock D5000 revealed subtle nuances in the bass compared to the rather clinical presentation of the MkD5000.

In many ways, I was struck by the analogy of digital video tape vs. analogue film when comparing the MkD5000 to the stock Denon D5000. Like digital video, the MkD5000 brought unrivalled sharpness, resolution and contrast to the music. However, the film grain and the slight imperfections of the stock D5000 gave it a certain charm. Sure, it lacked the laser-etched crispness of the MkD5000, but it resulted in a more “real” and musically engaging sound. To my ears anyway.

The sonic signature of the MkD5000 literally grabs you by your lapels and demands your full attention while you’re listening to the music. And in truth, it can be hard to relax with your brain working overtime to process all the details pumping into your ears Grin With my D5000, I just submerge myself into the music. Ah, audio bliss.

As with most things audio, it all boils down to personal preference and the type of music you listen to. Do you prefer the clinical, slightly aggressive sound of the MkD5000 or the relatively laid back sound signature of the D5000?

No prizes for guessing which I preferred Grin



 

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