Wow! Sennheiser HD 540 Reference are so good.
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seanc6441

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Well a found a way to reduce the upper mid harshness to comfortable levels, but it’s not a perfect solution just yet.

image.jpg image.jpg image.jpg

This driver cover from a cheap headset dampens certain frequencies depending on how the holes are drilled, combine that with a thin layer of acoustic foam to stop any resonance effects against the plastic and it seems to soften the upper frequencies whilst also lowering the db level.

The sound is more dispersed by the foam, filling the cup as it would with a foam filter alone. Making it sound full.

The only negative is the funneleffect that the extra lenght the sound needs to pass around the cover is causing, I think I can fix this by buying or making a new cover witha wider diameter to extend a few mil over the edge of the driver’s diameter.

Clarity takes maybe a 5% hit but I’ll try the thinner foams I purchased on aliexpress once they arrive to see if that helps.

I know the driver already has a cover but it’s very open and reveals all the harshness of the upper frequencies on poorer mastering or brighter tracks. I didn’t notice barely any dull treble effect by this mod, it just tames harshness of and makes it slightly less grating.

The upper mids are noticeably less harsh though, female vocals sound more forgiving, especially when there’s sibilance in the recording.
 
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My pleather pads came in from China yesterday. Just got to try them out this morning.



I have also heard the music!!!

Wow! Even with my 540RefI in need of a total rebuild and the original steel cable, the new pads made such a difference! First thing I noticed is that I never took the volume past 12 o'clock. The 3D effect just opened up. Again, WOW!
I was listening with no foam disc between the pads and drivers and the pads only press fitted on the drivers.
Next I gave them a try on my 540RefII in place of the velour 560 pads. I am ordering another pair for these too.

I wonder if they make them for the 580/600/650?

I guess I better find the time to get the Mogami cable built for the 540 cans.
 
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My pleather pads came in from China yesterday. Just got to try them out this morning.



I have also heard the music!!!

Wow! Even with my 540RefI in need of a total rebuild and the original steel cable, the new pads made such a difference! First thing I noticed is that I never took the volume past 12 o'clock. The 3D effect just opened up. Again, WOW!
I was listening with no foam disc between the pads and drivers and the pads only press fitted on the drivers.
Next I gave them a try on my 540RefII in place of the velour 560 pads. I am ordering another pair for these too.

I wonder if they make them for the 580/600/650?

I guess I better find the time to get the Mogami cable built for the 540 cans.
Love it :) The thin inners will smooth the sound out a little more. I found that it helps add that dark background where tiny details can emerge from silence and space. Good start, bro!
 
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heliosphann

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I was listening to my 540's today and decided the BWZ Hybrid's were just too muddy sounding. @jon parker suggested some shallower velour type pads, so I looted all my spare pads to see what might pair better. Turns out I had a pair of HIFIMAN FocusPad-A's that I'd ripped the mounting rings from. After a little super glue and double sided tape for the mounting rings, I put them on. DAMN, what a difference in the mids and treble. Bass is considerably less, but these were never bass heavy headphones to begin with. Also replaced some foam inside the mounting pads that a previous owner had added. Felt it was cutting the treble to much. I used some lighter foam I already had pre-cut and mounted them directly inside the pads. Any way, highly recommend the FocusPad-A.
 
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I was listening to my 540's today and decided the BWZ Hybrid's were just too muddy sounding. @jon parker suggested some shallower velour type pads, so I looted all my spare pads to see what might pair better. Turns out I had a pair of HIFIMAN FocusPad-A's that I'd ripped the mounting rings from. After a little super glue and double sided tape for the mounting rings, I put them on. DAMN, what a difference in the mids and treble. Bass is considerably less, but these were never bass heavy headphones to begin with. Also replaced some foam inside the mounting pads that a previous owner had added. Felt it was cutting the treble to much. I used some lighter foam I already had pre-cut and mounted them directly inside the pads. Any way, highly recommend the FocusPad-A.
Yes, muddy was my experience with the DT880/990 velour pads, blech! They lasted maybe 10 minutes before I had the brain wave - (z) :), heh heh, to use the inners for the pleathers. I did try the Focus A pads of my HE400S and have to say I wasn't entirely enamoured with them either, though they were certainly preferable to the DT990 velours. I didn't do the glue fit as you did, as my Focus Pads were newish for the HE400S! Glad you've had some success on your journey to Ref-dom. Significant bass improvement = pleather.
 
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I hope mine aren’t broken :frowning2:

Don’t know what would break them in this way seems odd. Usually the driver is either dead or you hear distortion... but sibilance and harshness idk. It’s hard to see the diaphragm behind the mesh but it looks ok when I shine a light on it.
Try stripping them down, it's very easy to do because they are of modular construction with some parts being interchangeable between the Ref 1 and 2 models.
Remove ear pads and gently prise off the metal retaining rings, use an old credit card or other thin plastic tool (I use plastic mobile phone repair tools). Once the retaining rings are off you can easily remove the drivers to examine them.

Prior to stripping them down, when you remove the cable and pull the ear cup assembly from the headband shake the ear cup to see if it makes a rattling sound. No rattle? proceed with strip down.
Ear cup rattles? strip the ear cup and check that 'HD 540 reference' badge, it has more that likely worked loose. Very easy fix, but can have an impact on SQ. :)
 
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Try stripping them down, it's very easy to do because they are of modular construction with some parts being interchangeable between the Ref 1 and 2 models.
Remove ear pads and gently prise off the metal retaining rings, use an old credit card or other thin plastic tool (I use plastic mobile phone repair tools). Once the retaining rings are off you can easily remove the drivers to examine them.

Prior to stripping them down, when you remove the cable and pull the ear cup assembly from the headband shake the ear cup to see if it makes a rattling sound. No rattle? proceed with strip down.
Ear cup rattles? strip the ear cup and check that 'HD 540 reference' badge, it has more that likely worked loose. Very easy fix, but can have an impact on SQ. :)
I've never actually stripped mine down, I was a bit wary of damaging the driver and contacts for input. If it's as simple as taking out a retaining ring maybe I ought to give it a go. They are 29 years old after all and might have bits of dust or old rotten pad in there. Today's task :)
 
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Never heard of these until a month ago. Got a Ref II about 2 weeks ago from ebay in excellent condition. Just received a Ref I that I purchased here late last week also in excellent condition. Upon initial listening (Reconstruction - 03/07/79 - Soul Roach) I don't really hear much difference between the 2. Will try to do some in depth analysis over the next few days. Plan to bring one pair to work, leave one at home.. Besides the sound, the next best thing is how non-fatiguing these are. Really looking forward to 9 hour sessions at work with these. The Schiit Loki is great for fine tuning these. The reconstruction recording is lacking in bass, the Loki was able to bring the bass right into the mix.
 
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Try stripping them down, it's very easy to do because they are of modular construction with some parts being interchangeable between the Ref 1 and 2 models.
Remove ear pads and gently prise off the metal retaining rings, use an old credit card or other thin plastic tool (I use plastic mobile phone repair tools). Once the retaining rings are off you can easily remove the drivers to examine them.

Prior to stripping them down, when you remove the cable and pull the ear cup assembly from the headband shake the ear cup to see if it makes a rattling sound. No rattle? proceed with strip down.
Ear cup rattles? strip the ear cup and check that 'HD 540 reference' badge, it has more that likely worked loose. Very easy fix, but can have an impact on SQ. :)
Might try this. I’m more optimistic about the sound now that I tried the different filters and even that driver cover. But can’t hurt to be sure by checking out the drivers.
 
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Never heard of these until a month ago. Got a Ref II about 2 weeks ago from ebay in excellent condition. Just received a Ref I that I purchased here late last week also in excellent condition. Upon initial listening (Reconstruction - 03/07/79 - Soul Roach) I don't really hear much difference between the 2. Will try to do some in depth analysis over the next few days. Plan to bring one pair to work, leave one at home.. Besides the sound, the next best thing is how non-fatiguing these are. Really looking forward to 9 hour sessions at work with these. The Schiit Loki is great for fine tuning these. The reconstruction recording is lacking in bass, the Loki was able to bring the bass right into the mix.
The Ref I that you just received, are they 600 ohm or 300 ohm?
 
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Just pulled my Ref1s apart completely for the very first time since they were assembled in 1989. Didn't realise for a while that the cups need to come right off the headband first! I used an angled electronics spatula to lever out the inner driver cups and the headband off the cups. They are remarkably clean inside other than a very small amount of outer foam pad dust, they are the only parts that need replacing, though they are not horrible, as such. I have written to Sennheiser in Germany to see if anything can be done about them .... hopeful even after 29 years :)
 
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I am not exactly sure,
If they are 300 Ohm it should be stamped on the ear cup close to the headband mount.
On 600 Ohm cans it is stamped on both of the 'spiders' under the ear pads.
 
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If they are 300 Ohm it should be stamped on the ear cup close to the headband mount.
On 600 Ohm cans it is stamped on both of the 'spiders' under the ear pads.
Thank you. Will not be back home until after midnight to check
 
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Anyone got any good ideas for a replacement for the outer foam driver covers? Sennheiser have nothing, OZ or Germany. So, I really don't want to go for thicker or thinner, just a matching thickness foam, maybe from a later model that I can cut to fit. I could consider buying a damaged set of HD540s cheaply. Always happy to share and PM ideas. Cheers!
 
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