Sony MDR R10 - some TLC and a recable for an old set
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zardon

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I have quite a few headphones in my collection, but I have a soft spot for the Sony MDR R10. They are, in my humble opinion one of the greatest headphones ever made. This is why ive bought a couple of pairs in the last year.
 
I managed to snag a set that was once owned by MarkL. These still sound great, but they were in dire need of some TLC. I also have another set in mint condition which haven't seen much use (posted pictures in the R10 owners thread on headfi).
 
I wanted to get this much loved (and used) set overhauled and turned to a guy ive known now for quite some time. Frank over at Toxic Cables, who has made quite a few cables for me and terminated and recabled quite a few of my phones over the last year. Without sounding like im trying to 'big him up', he is really very approachable, very skilled and one of the best cable guys in the business. He is known as Kabelmeister on Headfi.
 
So I spoke to him on the phone and he didn't make any guarantees, but asked me to send them over so he could take a look at them. I wanted them reterminated to XLR x3 balanced for my Ray Samuels B52.
 
He phoned me when they arrived with him and he said he felt confident that he could recable them from the drivers. Obviously I was nervous, but I trust Frank with my headphones so I just told him to do what he thought. I knew they were old and probably in quite a bad state inside.
 
Frank calls me back later that day to tell me that the original foam inside had basically disintegrated over the 20+ years. Not a shock really. I asked him if he would send me some pictures. In the meantime we had a chat about the cable that was on the R10's and he told me that it was really nothing special. Quite a surprise to me, considering these are (were) flagship headphones at the time. We both discussed that we should not make the move to pure silver but use a higher grade copper than Sony had on the original cabling job. we opted for Silver plated copper. I didn't want to change the sound signature, but more just make sure that it was sending the best signal to the amplifier as possible.
 
Frank explained that the drivers were very delicate and that one of them had adhered to the sides. I read other threads that some people had torn their drivers. Frank explained that it took some time to get them out without damage, but he managed it.
 
I have attached some pictures of the various stages. and the original state of the insides, then Frank's work afterwards. Frank even managed to work some new foam into them, although we will replace that when I get the new foam and pads from Japan shortly.
 
They really are delicate inside, no doubt about it.
 

Frank is still working on the phones, so ill post some pictures when they are finished. I bought some high grade mineral oil for the wood and it really helped improve the appearance. Also got some excellent leather treatment for the pads, but ill be replacing these also.
 
ill let you guys know how it goes when Frank has finished and the new cable has burned in.
 
Cheers,
Allan.
 
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chrometaphor

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Great thread. Very interested to see how it all plays out. Shame you probably can't keep the stock y-splitter. Out of curiosity, what kind of mineral oil did you use?
 
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zardon

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Quote:
Great thread. Very interested to see how it all plays out. Shame you probably can't keep the stock y-splitter. Out of curiosity, what kind of mineral oil did you use?
I think the stock y-splitter will be used actually.
 
There are some good mineral oils which work well with the wood on these cups. of course you can use lemon oil which is used on instruments if that's something you prefer.
 
I like Chelsea dubbin leatherfood for pads and leather headbands. it really helps enrich the material and repair/cover minor marks.
 
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You're very lucky. Sony has NO replacement drivers left any longer. If you damage a driver, you have to find someone else with a single working driver and buy their pair, if not a new pair altogether.
 
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zardon

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Quote:
You're very lucky. Sony has NO replacement drivers left any longer. If you damage a driver, you have to find someone else with a single working driver and buy their pair, if not a new pair altogether.
Absolutely. Couldnt agree more.
 
Frank is a legend though, only guy id trust these with. Especially after reading all the horror stories on here about torn drivers ....
 
Good blog by the way :)
 
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Toxic Cables

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Great thread, i look forward to reading how this spans out. 

 
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blubliss

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Zardon,  did you find the original foam ring that will replace the disintegrated stuff?  I could not find them anywhere.  My old pair looked the same when I opened them up, and I had to clean them as well.
 
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zardon

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Quote:
Now it sounds like you're "bigging him up."
Well I suppose if I trust someone with a 5k headphone I do have a lot of faith in them. Not sure why you had to chime in mind you. I can loan you the headphones after they come back if you want. might cheer you up.
 
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zardon

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Zardon,  did you find the original foam ring that will replace the disintegrated stuff?  I could not find them anywhere.  My old pair looked the same when I opened them up, and I had to clean them as well.
Well luckily enough I landed a mint R10 from a guy in Japan last week - in the case with all accessories, I posted some pics in the R10 owners thread. and they have a new spare set of pads and foam with them, so ill use them on this set. Worked out well.
 
I dont think you can buy the original foam rings anywhere, but you could make up something similar I think. matching the density would be tricky, but im sure you could get close.
 
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Originally Posted by zardon /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Well I suppose if I trust someone with a 5k headphone I do have a lot of faith in them. Not sure why you had to chime in mind you. I can loan you the headphones after they come back if you want. might cheer you up.
Sounds good.  I'll PM you my address.  I plan on being a little touchy next Tuesday - if your 009 is available I'd love to give that a try as well.
 
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zardon

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got a few more pictures of the progress. hopefully more to come as the process continues.........
 


 
 
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zardon

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Thanks jesse. I can maybe send them back over in a while and let you hear them if you want.
 
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Looks awesome, super jealous! You've rekindled my spark on tracking down another.
 
 
 
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