I made a hyper-engaging headphone with HD800S drivers

Discussion in 'Modifications and Tweaks' started by Bill-P, Mar 1, 2020.

  1. Bill-P

    Bill-P Level 42 Mad Wizard

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    ...using HD800S drivers.

    Pics or it didn't happen:

    [​IMG]

    Earlier unpainted prototype

    [​IMG]

    What it is currently (dark gray stony look)

    Measurements versus stock HD800S and HD650:

    [​IMG]

    Stock HD800S is using these leather pads:
    https://www.amazon.com/Replacement-Sennheiser-HD800-HD800S-Sheepskin/dp/B07MXB8XKQ

    They basically shifted the treble peak from 6.5KHz to 7.5KHz. Still pretty piercing. Sorry, I couldn't find stock pads.

    [​IMG]

    Stock(ish) HD650

    FR, Distortion, CSD...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    How it actually sounds like to me:
    Well... basically kinda like a cross between HD650 and HD600 with slightly better bass extension. It's complimentary to my (still here) HD800S.

    So... yeah, it's possible. But I think I'll leave it up to more creative folks to figure out the rest. This is just a proof of concept to show that it is entirely possible for a HD850-style headphone to exist. I hope Sennheiser will one day consider making this headphone themselves.

    Some interesting tidbits that may be relevant:
    3D printer used was Elegoo Mars:
    https://www.amazon.com/ELEGOO-Photocuring-Printer-Off-line-Printing/dp/B07K2ZHMRF/
    Filter materials came from a mixture of medical mask, Amazon stuffs and Aliexpress stuffs. No shelf-liner.
    The pads I'm using are HE90 pads. Yes, the real ones. You can still purchase them for roughly $180 from Sennheiser.
    Yep, that's a Fostex headband. I ripped it off the TH500RP.
    Nope, no dynamat.
    Overall weight (without cables):
    HD650: 260g
    HD800S: 350g
    REF-1 (what I'm calling this thing): 275g

    Now y'all know what I've been doing the past few months. :)

    P.S.: yeah, I do have a new mod for the HD800S, but... I'm not going to release any info on that. It's not as if we need another HD800 mod/tweaks.
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2020
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  2. Lyander

    Lyander Too sensitive for SBAF

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    Lol!

    D2 seems a bit much, looks like the low bass is around HD600-tier quality? Overall profile looks pretty damn cosy, so mixed with the ergonomics this headphone might actually be great for curing insomnia haha.

    Fucking awesome work man, this is an insanely cool project. The ridges along 4k kinda scare me cuz that's a hard region for ringing in my experience, but they're pretty down low so likely inaudible? There's some fluff around 1k and below too, looks weirdly like resonance with the bounciness. Any plans for this to go on a limited tour for more impressions? Probably not gonna be more than one of these made, I'm just curious as hell how they sound XD

    Another question, $180 per set of pads is eye-wateringly steep: I know this is a massive shot in the dark but what are the closest alternatives to the original HE90 pads you've seen, or is it one of those things you basically have to make or have made? Not sure what's different about those specific pads.

    P.S.
    Someone level Bill up. Pretty sure he's earned the EXP.
     
  3. Bill-P

    Bill-P Level 42 Mad Wizard

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    Yeah, it does sound like the drivers are distorting a bit more in the bass than HD650. But then again... I do like the impact and the extra extension. Distortion be damned. I'm guessing better material than UV-cured resin will most likely bring that down a bit.

    As an aside, it honestly... doesn't sound that impressive. I wasn't joking when I wrote "boring". It's actually not ironic. It sounds... okay, but there are some stuffs that I actually would still prefer a modded HD800S for. At best it's a replacement for my previous "boring" HD650.

    And don't worry about my levels. I'm pretty sure there's still a lot of room for growth... considering I'm planning some more crazy stuffs for the 3D printer. Let's just say... I still plan on chasing after Senn's old engineering marvels in a more... direct way. Having attempted this, I know now they really know what they are doing. The HD800 is pretty intentional. Anyways, this was more like an "intro to 3D printing" exercise for me. :p

    P.S.: oh, regarding pads, I could actually just modify the mount to take other pads... like the Brainwavz ones. Hell, I could have also altered the shape of the housing to fit round pads instead as well. I was just trying to see what kind of mount would actually be able to take the HE90 pads as is... because I've never had the chance to examine the HE90 in close details. I basically had to "guess" what the mount was, and luckily, it fit. But anyways, yeah, I could have made it work with any pair of pads. The tuning (filter and driver distance) would have to be slightly different, though.
     
  4. Ash1412

    Ash1412 Friend

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    Would you care to try the HD800 driver without the resonator? If the resonance came from the housing like most people believed, the resonator wouldn't really have a benefit in the new design. Also the HD800 driver could help reduce the high D2.
     
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  5. Bill-P

    Bill-P Level 42 Mad Wizard

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    Well, fun fact: I did. Indeed, it did not resonate around 6KHz. The reason why I'm not using HD800 drivers is actually due to bass extension. I feel HD800S drivers give better bass extension down low. HD800 drivers roll off pretty early (although still more extended than HD600/650 drivers).
     
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  6. MellowVelo

    MellowVelo Friend

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    This is cool, @Bill-P. Thanks for sharing your wizardry with us.

    Does the HD800S driver actually have better bass extension, or did Sennheiser just add additional harmonics in the low frequencies to increase the perception of bass impact? I seem to remember reading this somewhere, but I can't remember where.
     
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  7. Bill-P

    Bill-P Level 42 Mad Wizard

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    Yeah, you probably read this:
    https://superbestaudiofriends.org/i...-hd800s-distortion-analysis.5670/#post-187604

    Honestly, I'm not implying that the HD800S drivers inherently has more bass extension than HD800 drivers. Just that with this new housing, I've observed that the HD800S drivers have better extension. And you can tell that the housing didn't have any effect on the distortion profile. It still has the massive 2nd order spike.

    In the stock housing (you can see I'm still using HD800 housing), I found that it's a wash, and I don't think HD800S drivers have more bass than HD800 drivers. They do sound warmer, though, for what it's worth.

    What Senn did to these is really anyone's guess. I can tell you at least that the "resonator" they put in there is literally a piece of donut tape + a piece of transparent paper/cloth on top of the metal screen on the bottom. It's not a tube or anything crazy like that.
     
  8. Ash1412

    Ash1412 Friend

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    I think some reviewers, notably sorrodje , speculated the HD800S's bassier signature came from slightly denser mesh behind the driver, but this was never confirmed objectively. I understand your decison to use the 800S driver if the rest of the baffle made of diy soft materials can't hold pressure as well. I was looking at Tyll's old measurements and the lower impedance peak seems to imply more closed.
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2020
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  9. Bill-P

    Bill-P Level 42 Mad Wizard

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    Yeah, I don't really know the specifics related to the driver, but I know I can simplify the DIY materials when I use the HD800S drivers. HD800 drivers require a bit more... experimentation.
     
  10. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    The HD800S drivers, hemispheric doodad resonator aside, are known to perform differently in the bass compared to the HD800. The HD800S headphone measures with slightly more extension than the HD800. This is with the HD800 cups and what is effectively an internal cavity which is less leaky than the that of @Bill-P's oversized HD6XX style cup.

    I suspect the HD800S driver might have a slightly lower resonance frequency and/or higher Qts, thus accounting for its slightly higher distortion and slower transients (something's gotta give, always tradeoffs). I didn't take associated measurements for these back in the day, so just guesses.

    @Bill-P: Can you show more photos? Are the drivers angled?
     
  11. zonto

    zonto Friend

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    I think you should send a link to this thread, along with your resume, to Sennheiser. Once you're hired and get the project going, we can organize an SBAF group buy. kthx
     
  12. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Sennheiser will tell @Bill-P to fuck off because Bill-P isn't German, doesn't have the necessary acoustic engineering degrees, and wasn't lectured to by a headphone guru.

    Those guys were utterly clueless and if it weren't for my HD650 Love thread and Drop coming out with the HD6XX, then the HD600/HD650 would be dead today. We're talking about dead dead dead because they had absolutely no idea how to sell their headphones.

    Better of working with @CEE TEE . @CEE TEE can probably locate drivers and find manufacturers.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2020
  13. Don Miller

    Don Miller Acquaintance

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    What do the 6xx drivers do in the 800s housing?
     
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  14. yotacowboy

    yotacowboy McRibs Kind of Guy

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  15. robot zombie

    robot zombie Friend

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    Dude, this is so cool. If I had a 3D printer I would be buggin for the template/whatchacallit to print my own and try to rig these up myself. Very interesting project you have there.

    Be kinda cool if any members here with 3d printers were able to replicate that and get some ears on em. Pass a pair or two around. I know you say it's not that interesting, but I'm sure I speak for others here as well in saying that It'd be something just to hear how that sounds. And I mean... you have some modders here who might have something to toss at it.

    Hmmm... SBAF x Sennhieser collab. If together, we managed to make a really good pair of headphones using their drivers and all of our ears, would they maybe do a drop or two? I'm dreaming here, but how fucking cool would that not be?

    Eh... but really maybe we don't need them. Maybe they need yall more.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2020
  16. Bill-P

    Bill-P Level 42 Mad Wizard

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    Here you go:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Not much to see but I've simplified the design a lot over past iterations. I have a literal mountain of failed prints and experiments from this past month alone... as a result of trying to dial in the right dimensions to achieve an even-ish upper mid to lower treble response. Making the driver 0.5mm closer or further than what I have them right now causes upper mid and lower treble to shift pretty significantly.

    Also you can see that the chamber inside actually isn't that deep and the driver takes up most of the space. It's not the cavity of infinity that the stock HD800 housing has.

    I tried angling the drivers and the treble response got a bit weird... plus the shell had to be much bigger to accommodate that.
     
  17. Bill-P

    Bill-P Level 42 Mad Wizard

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    Well, I will start making a second pair as a backup soon so I guess I can send that one on tour if people are very curious how "boring" this actually is. And again, I'm really not being ironic. I do find it pretty boring. It does sound... good, but just not impressive.

    Perhaps an e-stat driver with this response will change my mind. We'll see. I did find @n3rdling's HE90-based headphone pretty impressive.

    Also, I wouldn't recommend printing your own. The printer takes up to 20 hours to print the capsules... which incidentally are also close to the limits of the print volume. The grill and yokes take about 12 - 16 hours each as well. After that, you'll probably spend many more hours cutting up filter materials, and much, much more to experiment with them to find the right sound. It seriously isn't a weekend project. I actually have drawn up the capsule design quite a while back.
     
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  18. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

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    I've been dying to do something like this for a long time...HD800 drivers in something like an HD600/650 enclosure. It's the enclosure that's the hard part. :)

    Would love to check this out and help experiment with pads and baffle damping.
     
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  19. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    So trying to make sense of measurements. What we have is something that has better bass extension to HD650, flatter mid-bass (HD650 has that hump), and just a touch less in the highs?

    Like a dark sounding headphone, but no mid-bass hump?
     
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  20. Martigane

    Martigane Rando

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    Like HD58X, then? I modded mine and it flattened frequency response and solved the minor 4-5kHz ringing on CSD.
    Not sure how distortion would compare..
    Really nice project regardless. If it were me, I think I'd try to experiment with the casing material and close proximity reflections/damping near membrane.
     

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