I made a hyper-engaging headphone with HD800S drivers

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

  1. Philimon

    Philimon Friend

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    [​IMG]
    Driver edges sealed with damplifier pro instead of foam. Soldered 3.5mm connector pins direct to driver. Dont think thatll hold up. The 3.5mm socket nuts tend to loosen when plugging+unplugging cable. Try tightening as much as possible with pliers but doesnt stay tight for long.

    From what I remember HD800 doesnt suck as much from iphone dongle as HD6XX. HD800 driver is easier to drive?
     
  2. RestoredSparda

    RestoredSparda Requested Vacation Ban

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    I've noticed I get more volume at the same level on my Mainline amp with HD800 than with HD650. Might be a hair easier to drive, or at least the drivers may be more sensitive? I'm too lazy to Google the driver specs at the moment. ;)

    Great idea to use Damplifier! I still have a sheet of it from modding HD650. I will definitely give it a try.
     
  3. Philimon

    Philimon Friend

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    Forgot about the HD800 larger driver (staging and cleaner bass) vs 6XX. Walk back comment that HD800 driver is better than 6XX from iphone. Neither recommended from iphone. Was thinking along the lines of which is less worse from iphone.

    Would say the good seal with these microsuede pads may be too much. A little long on the bass release. Pleasing at first but nah too much. Going to order some Senn velour style pads.

    edit: Overlong bass release seems to have cleared itself up by going back to desktop rig from iPhone. haha good from iphone

    edit2: Amp helped tighten bass but still want to reduce bass release (pressure).
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2022
  4. Bill-P

    Bill-P Level 42 Mad Wizard

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    Sorry for not reporting back so far. I got sick for most of last week and just recovered.

    Anyway, great work so far! I am happy to see you enjoyed this so much!

    So... couple of comments:

    1. Try swapping your connected points. For me, the left terminal (looking from the back of the driver) is the positive one and the right terminal is negative. Reversing them causes impulse response to be inverted for me.

    2. Yeah, HD800 driver is easier to drive. Mine is roughly around 3-4dB more efficient than HD650.

    Whenever I have made sure what I got wasn't COVID, I'll wipe down my headphone and send it out on a loaner so everyone can tell what I'm doing with it.
     
  5. Philimon

    Philimon Friend

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    Will reverse connections. I am glad something is wrong. The headphone L/R stereo balance was extremely sensitive to positioning. Im glad its fixable. Ive only listened a few times but who knows how long it wouldve taken me to figure out. Thank you for the assist @Bill-P . I hope you feel better soon!

    Ordered Brainwavz velour pads to start off the padrolling. Expect treble increase, small midbass boost but earlier roll off, and bass release to speed up.

    I passed on Senn pads this time. Genuines are pricey. And for fakes its hard to know which have removable plastic adapters or if its glued / non-removable.
     
  6. Philimon

    Philimon Friend

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    Brainwavz oval velour pads. The bass issue is fixed. Quick / normal bass release, sounds faster, less closed-in / airy / open overall. So good with a turn of Loki+ eq. Impressions later.

    BP800 bwv.jpg
    BP800 bwv VS BP800 bwm.jpg
    BP800 bwv Loki+ 400Hz@7.jpg

    The effect of the pads was less dramatic than I thought in terms of frequency response measurements.
     
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  7. Philimon

    Philimon Friend

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    Looks different if I match curves at 1kHz. I think this is more representative of the tonal differences. Sorta as predicted, more highs and more midbass. HD800 driver doesn't lose that much bass extension with less seal. I guess by design for that stock enclosure.

    BP800 bwv VS BP800 bwm (2).jpg
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2022
  8. Bill-P

    Bill-P Level 42 Mad Wizard

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    Look, ma! I made grilles!

    [​IMG]

    Just designed and printed these out. They are... just flat grilles to go with the headphone so that the back doesn't look so bare anymore. If anyone would like these, please let me know. Although... please give me some time to tweak the design so that it will more seamlessly go together with the headphone. Right now it looks a bit "tacky".

    Oh, and great progress so far, @Philimon! I've really enjoyed reading about what you have done and tried with your headphone so far.
     
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  9. Philimon

    Philimon Friend

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    Not sure if Im going to do much more. Ive got a nice thing going here with current mods and Loki eq (you could argue eq is just another mod).

    Only thing I could fault is that they don't have the most macrodynamic bass, but the bass is still very good (clean, fast, and detailed). Everything else from this headphone is top notch. The detail and decay is beyond anything I've heard and very engrossing. The timbre and frequency response is spot on. These are what I'd consider holy grail headphones. Now I do love bass so will keep a complimentary set(s) which is currently modded Fostex T30 and modded Emu-w (closed).

    I am taking my time and savoring the flavor before trying to write any impressions. Don't want to hype or be too quick to judge. Savoring a headphone before writing impressions is unusual for me, so good sign. I think because the detail is unprecedented for me. And because I am purely enjoying instead of weighing cons...

    Speaking of cons, Senn headband is a snug fit. I think these would benefit from thick angled velour pads to balance frequency response without eq. But extra thick pads would make clamp worse so not going to try. Im fine with eq. Closer driver distance has its benefits anyway.
     
  10. Philimon

    Philimon Friend

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    So started working on impressions. Bass tests (electronic instruments) proved HD800 a little bloated. Comparing to Emu (bass cannon) and concluded I would like to try and improve BP800 bass. Since I added velour pads I was listening to mostly country, folk, blues, and rock. The physical airiness of velour pads worked nicely for those genres and was enjoying.

    First attempt is with covering vents with micropore tape. Finalized mods would be installed more elegantly maybe. Just testing.:

    [​IMG]
    BP800 micropore vs BP800.jpg
    BP800 micropore with Loki.jpg

    The difference in bass is obvious. Deep bass is much tighter. This is preferable where before rhythmic deep bass was a tad fatiguing and boomy. My concern would be that at low volumes bass isn't as pleasing (less dynamic, less amplitude, i am basshead). The move from microsuede to velour pads reduced driver damping a bit. More testing and modding then.

    Loki 400Hz knob around 8-9o'clock sounds most correct. 7o'clock vocals become nasally. I could try more complex adjustments later. FYI Loki doesn't have marks to show exactly where 9, 8, and 7o'clock are so these are approximates.

    EDIT: velour (with micropore tape) versus microsuede (no micropore)
    BP800 micropore with velour VS suede.jpg
     
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    Last edited: Jan 14, 2022
  11. Philimon

    Philimon Friend

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    \/

    Anyone mind helping @ColtMrFire with soldering the BP800? I'm not confident enough in my skills to volunteer help. Ill do it but Ill not be comfortable because HD800 driver$. Hoping someone else rises to the challenge before ColtMrFire chooses my assistance. Please help us both. Or convice CMF to get a soldering iron for DIY.
    -----------------------
    @Bill-P and @Hands have way way way more experience and knowledge. My sharing of my modding experience is my weak contribution. Hopefully its helpful, prompts informative discussion by other folks, or is at least mildy interesting. I would strongly advise trusting their mod guides more than mine. I find amusement in modding and trying to solve these puzzles. I like to see for myself why Bill-P and Hands made the choices they did. I have their base materials on stand by for testing later.
    --------------------
    BP800 micropore with extra Loki.jpg
    ^ 400Hz knob @ 7o'clock, 8kHz knob @ 9o'clock. Slight highs reduction for sometimes slightly strong cymbals. Fine tuning driver damping for bass control is ongoing. It's good (tight, quantity, extension, just not as dynamic as Foster bass monster), just want to dial in perfect (for me). Update later, just enjoying again.
     
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  12. gixxerwimp

    gixxerwimp Professional tricycle rider

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    Interesting. Now that I have all my parts, I opened up my HD800 to check the polarity of the drivers. I then realized that I didn't have to as there are photos I took during my 3.5mm mod here.

    Following the stock wiring polarity, I put black marker on the positive lead of the driver. This seems to be the opposite of what you found with your impulse measurements @Bill-P. So if your measurements are correct, either my HD800 came wired with reverse absolute polarity, or they all did.

    I can't hear any difference when using the absolute polarity button on my BF2, so I'm not too fussed either way. For convenience because of the way the terminals on the female TRS connector are oriented, I'm going to solder them according to Bill's polarity (pos=L, neg=R).

    20220118_203614.jpg
     
  13. Philimon

    Philimon Friend

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    Absolute polarity abx test (link thanks to @dBel84 ). I couldn't tell the difference. Variables and my ears are newbs so fwiw or whatever.:
    https://www.audiocheck.net/blindtests_abspolarity.php

    Relevant discussions. After reading these threads I connected polarity properly (like @Bill-P described) for peace of mind and for reasons described mostly in the hydrogen audio threads.:
    https://hydrogenaud.io/index.php?topic=28925.0
    https://hydrogenaud.io/index.php?topic=55323.0
    https://www.superbestaudiofriends.org/index.php?threads/absolute-polarity-test.10019/
     
  14. Philimon

    Philimon Friend

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    Wanted less of the slightest peaky highs. Loki+ not precise enough just to fix trouble areas. Solution? Different pads. Need to order more, but in meantime lets try microsuede again as they are darker sounding. Micropore tape driver damping does help with control and reducing my problem with slow bass (release) on the microsuedes. Listening to some of my favorite bassy music I cant say that I do not have a big problem with the bass like I did before, but still overall more closed sounding than velours. I tried increasing damping further by switching from micropore tape to non-porous stickers (these closed foam bumpers seen below). Measures and subjectives couldnt tell a difference. When @Bill-P sends grills I can try more damping schemes because I can fill the cups with foam etc. Damping driver doesnt just control bass, but all frequencies. Maybe microsuede highs ring slightly less too besides being less in amplitude?

    Going to slow my posts now since these are small tweaks and so I don't dilute the thread. I will share any new padrolling experiences since those are not subtle changes.

    [​IMG]
    ^ Microsuede pads and switched from micropore tape on vents to closed-foam stickers (non-porous).

    BP800 mv  VS  BP800 mm.jpg
    ^ Micropore tape with velour pads, VS, micropore tape with microsuede pads

    BP800 sm  VS  BP800 mm.jpg
    ^ Sticker / sealed vents with microsuede pads, VS, micropore tape with microsuede pads

    BP800 sm 400@7.jpg
    ^ Sticker / sealed with microsuede pads, Loki 400Hz knob at 7o'clock

    edit: to clarify, fix

    edit2: After spending day with microsuede I decided the over extended bass release was not worth the exchange for slightly less mild spicy highs (i like dark). Slightly mild spicy highs is less fatiguing than slightly pressurized bass. Small issues and small adjustments, nothing deal breaking or impossible to fix. Perhaps hybrid pads would be best.

    edit3: Ordered hybrid, hybrid angled, and perforated.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2022
  15. Philimon

    Philimon Friend

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    I noticed that my vent stickers weren't seated properly. Some were slightly overlapping the edges of the plastic ridges on back of driver which was preventing a flat seating / full seal over the vents. So redid placements and measurements and found a difference. Hard to believe measured improvements so I will try more before/after measurements again later and with more styles of pads which I just ordered.

    BP800 sv VS BP800 mv.jpg
    ^ Sealed vents and velour, VS, micropored vents and velour

    BP800 sv VS BP800 mv (Loki).jpg
    ^ Loki set to 400Hz knob at 7o'clock, and 8kHz knob at 9o'clock

    @Bill-P Did you experience bass extension / increase by fully sealing rear driver vents? I didn't think there would be a significant difference (between micropore and non-porous stickers) because the driver vents are actually just holes in the HD800 driver's rear mesh which is already porous itself. Need to redo measurements later to make sure. Stay tuned for that and new styles of pads.

    Relistening now to velour pads and ya much prefer over the dense microsuedes. The Brainwavz hybrids are pleather / velour so should be less porous. Hopefully the sounding result is halfway between velour and microsuede in terms of highs. Angled hybrid I'm hoping reduces mids without serious drawbacks. And the perforated pleathers I am least hopeful about but Brainwavz only does free shipping with minimum $50 order so added on to meet requirement.

    edit: Still need to redo measurements to be certain but listening I find Loki 8kHz knob at 9o'clock too much highs reduction. Prefer just [email protected] Maybe sealing the driver vents did damp driver more and so the highs are cleaner too? Wishful thinking. Or possibly just track dependent. Testing has not been abx with notes. This has been a slow mod because I get stuck listening to well known albums instead of just testing mods due to how much new detail I am hearing. Fun. Blackest background, least grain, fast, most microdynamic, excellent tone (with mods/eq cheatcodes). Newb hype for Ive not really heard more expensive headphones (aside from GenG). Ill stop diluting thread now. Post next week when new pads arrive. Thanks @Bill-P for new fav headphone if it had slightly more effortless sub bass. Its good bass and a massive improvement over 6X0, just not as macrodynamic like Foster biocellulose with surrounds, or planar (planar tends to lack some impact though vs electrodynamic). Work in progress. As I mod in background and finalize Ill then be able to share short and concise impressions. Goodbye for now.

    EDIT2 / measurements update: I retook measurements after sealing vents because I was surprised at the difference. Im usually pretty careful about external noise (cars, planes, fridge motor, hvac, etc) but redid this morning just to make sure... and they hold up. Here is a new Loki+ setting. Insteading of reducing highs, I boost upper mids to better balance. This has a better effect of balance, reduces sometimes strong cymbals without also reducing life / treble / breath of vocals. So good!

    BP800 sv plus Loki.jpg
    ^ Sealed vents and velour pads. Orange = Loki 400Hz knob @ 8'oclock and 2kHz knob @3'oclock. Blue = Loki [email protected], [email protected] (blue is best, i could stop mods here and be happy, loki is a godsend)

    EDIT3: Continuing my declaration of not spamming the thread with my journal posts so instead am editing this post. Found boosting 2kHz (as seen in edit2) did sound better for vocals but it ended up squashing bass dynamics (at my lower listening volumes) AND it activated my tinnitus each time afterwards. I have sensitive / damaged hearing that makes me weak. Anyways, moar Loki trials, back to 400Hz and 8kHz knobs, vocals suffer a bit but better overall. Next round of pads eta is Sunday.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2022
  16. paradox88

    paradox88 Rando

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    here is the set i made, thanks again @Bill-P for the shells!
    https://imgur.com/a/dbhobvw

    They still have no baffle material and driver cushioning and i wanted to ask... does wood veneer or wax paper sound like a good idea? or better yet, has anyone found a good material for this? for example my shure 1540 have a plastic baffle and fabric driver cover over most of the driver and then a circular plastic shield in the middle with holes.

    Also I've had little time to actually compare them to anything yet but will try to compare them to sundara, srh1540, lcd 2 classic and 2 closed asap (after work with a bit of luck).

    just for fun and while i was remembering where my spare pads where i glued on some audeze pads and i gotta say they sounded like speakers... big ones... tho that might just be me super giddy about them because of the novelty :D

    to finish them up i'm gonna have to find some better pads than the shure ones (dekoni have some slim ones that might give the driver more room to breath...

    ps: @Bill-P -> they are so good they need a logo
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2022
  17. RestoredSparda

    RestoredSparda Requested Vacation Ban

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    Your image isn't loading for some reason. Would love to see what you have come up with! I'm still waiting on various parts (and time).

    EDIT: Images are working meow. Great work! The dark headband go nicely with the light grey shells @Bill-P made. Are those Shure pads that are currently installed? They look insanely comfy.
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2022
  18. paradox88

    paradox88 Rando

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  19. paradox88

    paradox88 Rando

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    my guess is that the imgur cdn the image is in is not close enough to the us (in switzerland here) might take some time for them to propagate in other regions

    OR if i can find the upload image button :)
     
  20. gixxerwimp

    gixxerwimp Professional tricycle rider

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    |{ WARNING: I'm going through my process in gory detail so any who are patient and/or bored enough to read through it may learn something from my experience.

    I dove in without re-reading this and first laid down a layer of standard office 2x-sided tape on the lip of the front side of the driver, followed by a ~1mm thick strip of craft foam. I didn't think to put any foam on the screw mounts but the thin layer of foam compresses enough so that I can tighten them all the way down without putting too much stress on them (I think).

    I filled the tiny holes in the driver mounting ring with hot glue, but then realized that they would be covered by the baffle material, so I don't think this is really necessary.

    As it's the easiest to apply, I'm starting with the 3M Micropore.

    micropore BP800.jpg

    Comparo shot with HD650 for the hell of it.
    HD650vBP800.jpg
    Again, following the path of least resistance, I first tried the BrainWavz Oval Hybrid. Sound was very dark and murky, particularly in the upper bass - lower mids.

    I next tried a pair of very old, totally smushed HD650 pads. They are fairly slanted as I used rolled up tissue stuffed under the rear side to angle them, which ended up crushing the front half more than the rear.

    Again, I should have re-read Hands' post more carefully before proceeding. I thought everything on the back was one piece and one was supposed to rip/tear the soft pad material off. I got about 1/3 of the way and the plastic clip-on adapter inserted inside popped out on it's own, leaving the flat oval disc/ring. I was able to reattach the pad back onto the disc with hot glue.

    I tried to pop the adapter clippy thing out of the other pad, but couldn't get it out. I tried cutting it with side cutters to free it, but it's a pretty tough plastic. The last cut resulted in a "rebound" which tore the flat oval disc a bit. Hot glue to the rescue again.

    I don't have any thick 2x-sided tape, so I cut 2mm craft foam the same shape as the disc/rings, applied standard office 2x-sided tape to both sides, and used them as a filling for the pads/capsule sandwich. The disc/rings on the back of the Senn pads aren't perfectly flat, so I think the foam helps to make more uniform contact for a better seal.

    How do they sound? Pretty decent as-is! With the micropore and HD650 pads alone, the tonality is very balanced, possibly a bit of roll-off at the very bottom end, and maybe some sizzle up high. I'm pleasantly surprised that they sound so good straight out of the blocks. Stage isn't huge but is fairly open sounding, not super deep but not 2-blob either, probably aided a bit by slant of the pads. Can't hear any treble spikes, and almost no sibilance. Pressing the pads into my ears, the mids become overwhelming, so I think the balance there is pretty good.

    Next I will try the HD650 front foam to see if it tames the sizzle, and maybe a bit more micropore to try and bring up the bottom end. And then it's on to the Faraday cloth.

    BTW, I don't think I'd recommend the Schurter female connectors. The fit isn't as "snap in tight" as the Reans I used for my HD800s. And I was getting some intermittent dropout in one side that I'm still tracking down. It was still there after reflowing the solder joints at the driver/connector. It doesn't correlate with jiggling the jack/plug or moving anything else. Still troubleshooting and ruling out upstream, though I haven't noticed it with any other headphones.

    Edit: Just did a rolling cut with EQ and isolated that sizzle at around 3-4kHz. Any suggestions for how to tame it?
     
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    Last edited: Jan 21, 2022

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