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Thunderpants!

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by br777, Jul 12, 2010.
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  1. sbradley02
    Haven't tried the Burson but I will be setting up a JoLida FX Tube DAC and Schiit Asgard amp at work next week to use with my Thunderpants.

     
    Quote:


     
     
  2. joelpearce
    The Thunderpants play nicely with most amps that have a decent level of power. I know it's not an ideal answer, but no one has been able to follow up on your question.

    Sent from my AT100 using Tapatalk
     
  3. yipcanjo
     
    I've been meaning to get a more detailed write-up of my (Thunderpants-inspired) YipcanPhones! v1, but it's taken some time to button things up with these.  I guess it always does.
     
    Here goes...
     
    I actually stumbled into the full-size headphones arena somewhat unexpectedly.  I had a pair of AKG K141 Studio headphones that I'd purchased several years ago for a recording project, but they never excited me much.  They sounded fine, but not great.  I've spent the past couple of years trying to find some IEMs that didn't break the bank, but also suited my needs financially, sonically, and applicationally -- meaning they worked for how I really needed to use them.  After many purchases and trades, I've settled on the (oft-maligned) Klipsch X10 for my portable/IEM needs.  They sound great to me, they fit well, and they work where I need them to.  On the way to that decision, though, I owned a pair of the VSonic GR07 IEMs.  Instead of selling them off, however, I traded them to a fellow Head-Fi-er for a pair of unmodded Fostex T50RP headphones + all of the necessary accessories to mod them into a Rastapants-style setup.
     
    And so it begins...
     
    The stock Fostex T50RP phones truly failed to impress me in any way.  Without waiting around, I jumped right into the "modding" arena -- adding Paxmate, plasticine, felt over the back driver, teased cotton balls, Shure 840 pads, etc..  The result, after a bit of tweaking, was great -- and I was hooked.  Of course, things are rarely static with the Head-Fi-disease, so it was time to start thinking about the next upgrade.  With an upcoming trip to my in-laws planned -- and thus a large shop full of great woodworking tools -- I set my sights on something akin to the Thunderpants!-style headphones.  Why not, right?
     
    My father-in-law is great with a lathe, and has a lot of quality "wood scraps" around his shop.  I explained what I wanted to do, shared some dimensions for the pieces (generously provided by Smeggy), and we found a couple of nice pieces of mahogany for the ear cups.  I preferred a dark wood, if possible, and I thought it would look great with the lighter-colored 1/4" ply for the driver baffles.

    Here are a few snapshots of the woodworking process:
     
    WP_000358.jpg   WP_000359.jpg
     
    WP_000361.jpg   WP_000371.jpg

    WP_000373.jpg   WP_000372.jpg
     
    I made a few interesting decisions during the woodworking phase of the YipcanPhones! v1.  First of all, I wanted a less-rounded shape for the ear cups.  It's more like the end of a canister chopped off.  Having seen some wonderful photos of Funch's PlasticPantz creation, I was further convinced that I liked this "look".  Secondly, I opted for a slightly-beveled edge for the driver baffle -- that is, beveled toward the ear cup housing.  I chose this primarily so that the ear pads would have a "notch", of sorts, to grab onto and (hopefully) stay in place even better.  It also looks kinda cool :)
     
    Once the cups and baffles were made, it was time to start moving the electronics over to the new housing.  Easier said than done.  Since I was re-using my Rastapants-style headphones, the drivers were already full of plasticine -- and cleaning them out was going to take forever.  I decided to leave them as-is and just see how it went.  That decision was fine, for the most part, except that using a Dremel to cut down the driver to the proper, smaller size, meant that I was getting yellow plasticine all over the place.  The Dremel'ing portion of the job was actually more time consuming than I thought, and I wish I'd been more patient.  As a result, my drivers look fairly ugly, though functionally they're just fine.  C'est la vie.

    I had long-since removed the thin white felt from the back of the driver, and so I opted to use a very thin (but heavier than stock) felt cloth as a replacement.  I also cut a small square to expose the middle portion of the 9 squares on the rear of the driver.  My cutting job on the middle square is poor at best, but it works :)  Using felt that was too thick seemed to muffle the sound -- at least to my ears.

    While waiting for the eventual cable that I would use -- the Sennheiser HD600 replacement cable -- I trotted myself down to Radio Shack and grabbed a basic stereo RCA-to-mini jack cable, stripped off the RCA ends, and soldered them to the drivers.  A temporary, cheap, and (ultimately) lazy fix for getting the headphones working quickly.  Although I rather liked the cable thickness itself, I later found out that the Sennheiser HD600 replacement cable not only sounded much better, but also featured better resistance.  Basically, less power needed for higher volume.  A worthwhile, $30 cable upgrade.
     
    IMG_3788.jpg   IMG_3791.jpg

    For the ear cups themselves, I kept the innards fairly simple: basically poly fiberfil, but (in this case) two thin sheets worth stacked on top of each other.  Smeggy recommended a notch cut out over the bass port, and that seemed wise to me.  Speaking of the bass port, I started with a 3/32" hole -- not too far from where the cable routed into the ear cup housing -- but eventually bored out even further to a 5/32" port.  The result, to my ears, is just about the perfect amount of bass -- not lacking, but not overpowering.  The rest can be tweaked with an amp, if you like, since the drivers can definitely handle the low-end.

    IMG_3783.jpg   IMG_3793.jpg

    Attaching the ear cups to the headband was an interesting task.  I was (again) too lazy to opt for the standard style block used by most, and so I searched for some screws that would feed through the small holes in the end of the headband bars.  I also found some plastic "stand-offs" to keep them from butting up against the ear cups too much.  My main mistake? The screws I found were slightly too long, so that when I torqued them down all the way, the tips of the screws actually entered the ear cup housing (you can see two holes in the photos) and would actually hit the drivers itself.  Oops!  I ended up backing them out a bit, which meant a slight gap between the top of the screw and the headband bars.  Ultimately, though, this allows for some slight vertical movement, which is good for getting a better fit.  This style does NOT allow for side-to-side, horizontal movement, however.  I also spent some time bending the headband itself for a tighter fit, which is easy enough to do.

    IMG_3785.jpg   IMG_3787.jpg

    I've never used the stock Fostex pads -- even with the stock mod setup -- but rather opted for the often-recommended Shure 840 pads, which look very nice and are quite comfortable.  Upon further recommendation from Funch, I ordered up a pair of the Beyer Gel ear pads.  They look crazy, but they sound great (*much* better than the Shure pads) and isolate very, very well.  Better yet, they're easy to put on my headphones.  I simply flip the lip of the ear pads, place them onto the baffle, push the ear pad firmly against the baffle, and then flip the lip back down.  With a bit of practice, you can get the ear pads on in about 30 seconds per side! 


    IMG_3795.jpg   IMG_3798.jpg

    IMG_3799.jpg   IMG_3800.jpg

    When all is said and done, the YipcanPhones! v1 sound really, really great, and have a unique visual style of their own.  I look ridiculous when I where them at work, of course, but the detractors are quickly silenced when they hear how great they sound!  It's also helpful that they isolate so well, so that what I'm listening to doesn't need to be what everyone else is listening to :)

    IMG_3802.jpg   IMG_3801.jpg

    IMG_3803.jpg

    I hope you've enjoyed my write-up *AND*, more importantly, I hope that it might help and/or inspire someone else in their future headphone project.  I learned a lot from making these, and I also made quite a few mistakes -- things I'll do better with in the future.  I absolutely love these headphones, though, and I echo the sentiments of the other T50RP fans out there: these are great drivers, and a wonderful foundation for a wide variety of mods, projects, and other headphone creations. 

    Lastly, a huge special thanks to Smeggy and Funch for their wisdom, helpful advice, and subtle encouragment :)

    Yipcanjo 
     
    ri_toast and JamesMcProgger like this.
  4. mmayer167
    Looks awesome man! 
     
    One small hint i would pass on is to put some felt on the earside of the baffle. It helped to get rid of an echo sound i was getting. Glad you like the hd600 cable! Such a great cheap DIY option :)  
     
    -M
     
  5. jschristian44
    Hey,
    I got a quick question I posted in the T50RP thread I think but it might do better here.  In my first version of the Cedarpants v1, the bass was amazing.  Very hard hitting and detailed with my E10 on bass boost.  My newest Maplepants v1, I hollowed out the inside more, pushing the driver away from the inside back of the cup.  Does this reduce the bass, because the bass I am getting now is no where near as hard hitting as that bass was.  Or was it just because of my bass boost db3 that I was using?  Please help.  I used felt pads on the inside for both versions.
     
  6. mmayer167
    your volume may be too much, essentially creating an open back environment for the driver. Just my hunch. 
     
    -M
     
  7. jschristian44
    So your thinking that they are too far away from the cup then?  That was my guess.  Is there any other way I can fix this without making new cups.  I thought maybe stuffing them with fiberloft could help it some or am I wrong?  Can I just stack felt pads on top of each other?
     
  8. jschristian44
    I mean they aren't THAT far away, probably 1/4" compared to like 3/16" on the other ones.  Will that much difference make that much of a difference?  I am adding a bass boost to my Objective 2 amp, so I will see if that is the reason.  I remember though I think when I was listening to the awesome bass with bass boost on, I turned it off for a second and I really disliked them.  Then I turned it on again and it was amazing.  So we will have to see.
     
  9. yipcanjo

    Quote:

    Well, I'm not hearing any sort of "echo" sound.  Still a recommended change to make?
     
    I have noticed that since I last took them apart -- to enlarge the bass port and add the Sennheiser cable -- they seem to have become even brighter.  Strange?  Any ideas there?
     
     
     
  10. mmayer167
    The senny cable may be the brightness culprit compared to what you were using before. try taping off half the bass port or something like that and see what happens. Also experiment with fibers or cloths in front of the driver. I would recommend the 2mm floppy craft felt for the earside of the baffle as a doughnut around the driver hole. It may also calm down the highs. Just cut a doughnut shape to fit on the baffle and glue it down. but make sure your port that comes through the baffle to the earside can breathe. From your pictures it doesnt look like you drilled that out. there is a hole on one of the corners of the driver that goes thru to the earside. Shine a flashlight thru those holes and whatever one you see wood through, drill that same size hole thru to the earside to vent that way. 
     
    the more you can make the earside of the can absorbant to standing waves the cleaner it will sound and the blacker the background will become, especially with those gel pads. 
     
    -M
     
  11. Sinocelt
    Quote:

    Niiice!
     
     
     
  12. littlebear
    Quote:

    Looks good... those are the leather LCD earpads, right? Has anyone tried the "vegan" (leather-free) ones? I'm considering them as they look comfortable, airy, and - well... vegan. But I'm wondering about the sound. It's not like the TP couldn't stand to blow off a little bass anyway [​IMG] I found the O2 pads to make the bass slightly less hard-hitting and more muddled, just due to the drivers being further from the ears probably. Not entirely a bad thing though.
     
  13. warubozu
    Good to know there are a few other ear pad options out there besides the expensive O2 pads.
     
  14. sbradley02


     

    Yes, these are the leather LCD-2 Rev 2 pads. Haven't heard about the vegan ones, I would take a guess that they are some type of pleather? My Thunderpants were first built with the O2 pads, I find the LCD pads to be superior sounding (and less expensive and probably longer lasting to boot) but the bass tuning required is a bit different for the LCD-2 pads.
     
    Another lower cost pad option which I like is the Beyerdynamic leather pads, but per Smeggy these are harder to fit to the Thunderpants. Smeggy published a pad comparison on one of the forums awhile back and I highly recommend digging it up and reading it for all who are interested.
     
     
  15. littlebear
    Thanks for the reminder about that, it was back in Post 166 of the group buy thread - no mention of the newer vegan pads though.
     
    The vegan LCD-2 pads are made of microfiber. Here's a thread about them, but nothing about the Thunderpants.
     
    Edit: Oh well, one way to find out - just ordered some, will report back [​IMG]
     
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