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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    Okay, since I think people are having some difficulty, here's what I did as a starting point.

    Used this as baffle material. Exactly one layer:
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0855KQ36Z/

    Used these ear pads, just cut away the filter cloth:
    https://www.amazon.com/Brainwavz-Hybrid-Memory-Foam-Earpad/dp/B00ZGGG3KY/

    And for 3.5mm ports, I used these:
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07JVGT3QJ/

    So after all of that, the resulting FR will likely be something like this:
    [​IMG]

    And then all I did was took those exact components and modded the living hell out of everything (including the drivers) to get to this:
    [​IMG]

    And here's another look at the successive tuning attempts that I did:
    [​IMG]

    The most recent 2 tunings. This was where I was balancing between a brighter/more neutral sound versus darker/smoother sound. Darker/smoother won out in the end as that is always my preference.
    [​IMG]

    Current tuning with left/right zoomed out for those curious where I took my version (sorry, not flexing but let's just say... I'm very proud I even got to this point):
    [​IMG]

    ^ note: you won't get to this with simple mods. Trust me... I really really tried to keep it simple, but it won't be simple. I'm certain someone will eventually figure out a more simple tuning, but my current tuning is anything but simple.

    Things that everyone can try:

    1. Stuff foam in the middle portion of the HD800/S driver to bring up bass and lower mid. Sometimes it'll bring up upper mid as well depending on the material and placement, so... this is something that can be experimented with.

    2. Keep putting more layers of face mask, or toilet paper, or fiber glass or whatever on top of the baffle. Note that the faraday fabric I recommended is responsible for 90% of the bass you're seeing in my current tuning. And I really have tried everything else but nothing else is this effective at keeping bass leveled.

    3. Poke holes in the ear pads to bring up upper mid. Watch out for bass being lowered, though.

    I'm sure there will be other ear pads and fabric that work better. Sorry I can't provide a more detailed guide or write-up since... I'm very afraid of disassembling everything and redoing all of it again (you can tell it's very tedious). I'll try to look for a spare driver and write up a better guide with photos next time for sure. This post is more about giving recommendations so people won't get lost in the sea of materials to try.

    P.S.: will build another headphone and send it off on a loaner tour soon. I have just enough parts left for one pair. Here's how the end thing look compared to HD650:
    [​IMG]
     
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  2. gixxerwimp

    gixxerwimp Professional tricycle rider

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    I chose Royal Mail "Export Tracked & Signed".
    I explained to their service rep why there was a run on HD800(S) drivers, but wasn't specific.

    Ordered, so I don't miss out again :drunk:

    Thanks for the write-up, @Bill-P. Any additional modding tips you can provide would be greatly appreciated!
     
  3. Lurker

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    Good stuff

    As the resistor for the integrated leak I like to use nylon gauze. For the large filter in my diy qualia I used mesh with 11 µm pore size and 28 µm wire diameter (about 10% open area). I got it from an aquarium shop that sells it for fishing plankton. It is very low tolerance (good for channel matching) and bends very easily while being tear resistant and easy to glue which is good for when you're trying to make a filter with a 3D shape.
    I've also had good experience with single layer vacuum cleaner bags. There are some for makita handhelds that are a nice blue color. Very easy to work with and cheap. I think the non-woven filters are good for closed headphones because unlike the woven mesh it seems to absorb high frequency.
    There are also some people who sell the non-woven meltblown polypropylene by the meter (same as the filter layer in kn95/ffp2 masks). However I find the meltblown to be rather fragile which is why I prefer the dustbags or the gauze.
     
  4. Philimon

    Philimon Friend

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    [​IMG]
    A 50mm driver placed inside.

    These are great @Bill-P . You went to all that trouble to keep that slim little curved crevice at that middle edge. You do not play around!

    I like the grey. Its going to look good against the marbled HD600 headband.

    The 3.5mm connectors you linked I ordered. But if anyone finds something prettier that works Id appreciate the source thank you.
     
  5. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

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    Here is the config I am running right now:

    1. A single layer of this material adhered to the baffle using hot glue and with a center hole cutout to expose the HD800 driver: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0956PGNL7

    You can use whatever glue you like, but I'd recommend something easy to work with and removable. Hot glue sets fairly quickly, so you have to move both quickly and carefully to ensure full adhesive and alignment without much of a mess. You want to ensure everything is sealed up properly so there's no way for airflow to bypass the filter as it moves through the baffle.


    2. Creatology adhesive, closed-cell, 2mm foam ring on the underside of the screw-in mounting ring and on the back-side baffle ring on which the front, outer perimeter of the driver's housing rests. This sandwiches the driver with a foam gasket, essentially, preventing leakage and improving driver stability.

    The foam should extend to the screw sections as well to keep things level and prevent unnecessary strain on the mounting ring.


    3. No inserts or any material inside the driver's center vent.


    4. Disk-shaped cutout of 1/8", open-cell, charcoal foam placed directly over the driver. Does not cover any part of the baffle/filter. It should hold itself in place if cut to the correct size. (https://www.foambymail.com/CR/solid-charcoal-regular-foam.html)

    If this dulls treble too much or adds too much warmth, cut out a small circle in the center of the foam disk. Make this progressively bigger until you find the sound you want.


    5. Get some HD600/650 pads, remove the plastic clip-on adapter inserted inside, and add some 1-2mm double-sided tape on the underside of the flat part of the pads. Something like this: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0852XL3CC

    Carefully line it up and adhere to the baffle. Apply VERY lightly at first until you are positive it's where you want it. Once you add pressure to secure it, any attempts to remove it will take the baffle filter with it.

    You do want the pads securely attached around the full perimeter.


    Note: If by chance your capsules have any holes drilled in the driver-mounting ring, close them up.


    Alternative filter material: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00H2G4SVW

    You could be able to get most or all of the baffle with a long piece, then use a knife to trim the edges and center hole. Play around with 1 or more layers. If 1 layer isn't enough, but 2 is too much, try strategically adding a 2nd layer only in select spots. You can also poke little holes in the baffle until you get the sound you want.


    You've probably picked up on the repeat trend of SEALING UP YOUR SHIT. Seal where the driver meets the capsule. Seal where the ring holds it in place (more for stability, since my driver would wiggle otherwise). Seal up your baffle filter. Seal up where your pads attach, though you do want breathability in the pads themselves.

    Control your airflow leakage variables! You only want these variables to be in the following locations:

    1. Airflow through baffle filter material
    2. Airflow through cushioned part of pads
    3. Airflow through center vent in driver

    If anything else isn't totally airtight, you're going to have a harder time.


    How does this sound? Well, I was listening to it last night and getting strong HD650 vibes. I am listening it to it again today with fresh ears and am still picking up HD650 vibes.
     
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  6. gixxerwimp

    gixxerwimp Professional tricycle rider

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    Thanks for the info.

    The link goes to "5 micron", but I just wanted to confirm that this was the size mesh you used.

    Does Micropore more or less have the same effect as the mesh?

    Thanks for the tip about the HD650 pads. I was thinking of taping them on around the outside, but that would get pretty messy on the velour.

    Edit: here's a link to a 2-pack of the 3" wide 3M Micropore.
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00ICF3UE8/
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2022
  7. gixxerwimp

    gixxerwimp Professional tricycle rider

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    These aren't necessarily prettier, but I have these Schurter 3.5mm sockets on hand that look like they were the "inspiration" for the ones Bill linked to. I think they're pretty much the same dimensions, but not "gold plated". They're also a bit pricier.
    https://www.mouser.com/ProductDetail/Schurter/48322300?qs=wwP%2BWDYHj0bN3RLgv57i%2Bg==

    [​IMG]


    Re pads, I was curious if round ones would fit on an oval capsule. I have these slanted Dekoni Elite Sheepskin for HFM HE Series that I bought to try on Voldemort. They fit on HD650 and kind of elongate into an oval shape. So if anyone has large round pads they can try them too.

    [​IMG]

    The rear thicker side of the slanted pads is shown above. They're too thick for HD650 though (confirming previously expressed concern about driver-ear distance), sounding very thin in the mids. If I press in what I'm guessing is about 5mm, they sound much better. If the same happens with BP800, I think it would be simple enough to open them up, trim the foam, and sew them back up again (would be tedious though). Could probably do the same with the Brainwavz.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2022
  8. Philimon

    Philimon Friend

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    Large adhesive tape to trim to shape of capsule to completely seal for maximum bass. I already have some of this from another project. Thanks @E_Schaaf

    Cheapest cable I could find.

    Brainwavz Ovals in micro suede. The micro suede material is a lot denser than velour and more comfy. The Brainwavz Prostock versions of micro suede I found gave more bass than hybrid or fenstrated pleather. Maybe there was a seal issue with EARS coupler, but the measures matched my subjectives. Moar bass!

    Id like to add some mass damping because why not to back of driver baffle (damplifier pro hobby pack). The holes in the driver baffle though Id like to fill in first with foam to cover the adhesive backing of the tape on front of baffle and to make a flat surface for laying damplifier pro.

    Plans are tentative.

    All these parts are easily ordered and quickly shipped by Amazon.

    Drivers already through California customs!
     
  9. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

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    Yes, sorry. I forgot to clarify that I indeed used the 5 micron mesh.

    The HD600/650 and similar headphones, maybe even the HD800, use what appear to be a metal mesh with a plain or twill Dutch weave under 100 microns. This is a guess based on some close-up photos I've seen and when compared to some screenshots and info found here:

    https://www.utahbiodieselsupply.com/stainlessmesh.php

    While I had initially wanted to pursue a similar metal mesh, the nylon mesh I linked was easier to order and very easy to work with. I figured it would be a good test, but after the configuration I mentioned earlier worked as well as it did, I feel much less inclined to try any other filter material.

    With these baffle filters, you could really use any sort of material and configuration to control the amount of rear airflow. ZMF, for example, drills holes of varying sizes and amounts in the baffle. Some headphones might have a mostly closed baffle but with a small opening covered in a fairly breathable material. Some, like many Sennheisers, opt to make almost the entire baffle very slightly permeable.

    Given that...Yeah, the micropore tape can, or will, behave similarly to the mesh in this use case, in that this capsule design is inherently very open. Despite being adhesive, the micropore tape is breathable. It acts more like a breathable fabric, paper, or mesh than anything else.

    That makes it a very handle tool for acoustic tuning projects like this, because it's very easy to work with, shape/cut, layer, remove, apply in weird places, and so on.

    The main reasons one might want to switch to something like the nylon mesh I linked would be resiliency, reliability, and consistency. It's a better permanent solution but nowhere near as good for prototyping and rapid experimentation/tuning.

    As for the HD650 pads, you might be able to attach something to the bottom lip or edge of the pads, where the flat plastic piece is attached. Or maybe on the outer perimeter of the flat part's underside. Not a ton of room to work with, but could be possible.
     
  10. Philimon

    Philimon Friend

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    [​IMG]
    ^ Fast shipping.

    [​IMG]
    ^ So cool.

    [​IMG]
    ^ Not a lot of space. Could almost solder the metal tabs together.

    [​IMG]
    ^ Is this right? If so, why did you choose to recess the driver into the baffle? Isn’t that a no-no? It is with speakers. Im sure itll sound awesome. Just wondering.

    This was just a test setup. You have to install the 3.5mm connectors before the drivers because there is not enough clearance otherwise. I can see why @Hands stressed sealing around all the edges and points of contact. 3DP surface is not super smooth so fitting closed foam gaskets between the driver and baffle etc will be important.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2022
  11. Philimon

    Philimon Friend

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    [​IMG]
    Difficult to see in your photo. Do I connect the small tabs and leave the big one alone?
     
  12. Philimon

    Philimon Friend

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    Newb researching... loading...

    re-edit:
    [​IMG]

    1. The top one (the one big tab) is labeled number 1 on the plastic bit of the 3.5mm jack. This would be ground.
    2. The one on the right is labeled number 2. This would be right signal positive.
    3. The one on the left is labeled number 3. This would left signal positive.

    For left driver we will connect 3.5mm pins 3+1.
    For right driver we will connect 3.5mm pins 2+1.
    Make sure pins 1 are on the same side driver tabs. So connect one to both driver's right tabs for example.

    Please correct me if I'm wrong.

    References:
    1. 3.5mm wiring diagram of a similar product.
    * Since there is not a manual, we would have to use a multimeter to verify pins. Or @Bill-P in your experience?
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2022
  13. gixxerwimp

    gixxerwimp Professional tricycle rider

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    That's the wiring if you are connecting a stereo male TRS 3.5mm connector. But your cable should have mono going to each side.

    AFAIK, standard mono TS male connector is:
    • tip = pos
    • sleeve = neg
    If your using TRS connectors for L/R mono, then either:
    • tip = pos
    • ring/sleeve = neg
      or
    • sleeve = neg; ring = floating
    My cables have mono TS male connectors, so I short the ring and sleeve together on stereo TRS female connectors, but leaving the ring floating works too.
    (sorry, I'm at work, no time to find diagrams, let me know if this isn't clear)

    *Edit: Refer to "1. TS Type Male Audio jack"
    https://components101.com/connectors/35mm-audio-jack


    I heard back from AudioSanctuary. The HD800 OG drivers should be in from Senn UK in about 10 days. They still have a few HD800S drivers in stock.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2022
  14. Philimon

    Philimon Friend

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    Thanks @gixxerwimp
    Im going to use a multimeter to test continuity. Then a trial run with some cheap drivers.
     
  15. Philimon

    Philimon Friend

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    In this particular case:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Pins 1+3 are both sleeve. Pins 2 are tip and ring depending on which of the dual 3.5mm plugs was tested. Left plug (labeled L on cable) was tip on pin2, and right plug (labeled R on cable) was ring on pin2.

    Cheap driver played music by nudging up the correct pins to the correct tabs. Feel confident enough that I will solder BP800 correctly now.

    edit. HD800 drivers also play by nudging up the correct 3.5mm socket pins to driver tabs.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2022
  16. Philimon

    Philimon Friend

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    [​IMG]

    Not much room. You have to push both the driver and 3.5mm socket pins to the sides. But cool is that you can line the tabs up with their counterpart then fold them back down and have signal. Wondering if there is a good way to make this a solderless project for our non soldering station friends. Like spade wire crimps or something… I dont know a lot of stuff but maybe you guys do.

    Like these but in suitable size.
    [​IMG]
     
  17. Philimon

    Philimon Friend

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    Brainwavz Ovals are a very tight fit. I recommend stretching them out a bit before trying to install.

    The clamp is punishing especially now that its combined with thicker Brainwavz pads. Stretching out the headband now. May get different earpads later just to reduce overall clamp.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  18. Philimon

    Philimon Friend

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    BP800 (WIP) and Loki+.jpg
    Wanted to see how these did without any baffle material installed. The foam for the driver gasket hasnt arrived yet so haven't soldered yet. For now just trying with the metal tabs pushed together. I have the baffle material stuff @Hands recommended for the job (because it was cheaper than the stuff @Bill-P recommended), but I want to try with a non-porous baffle first for moar bass. Suprised how much bass is produced even without a baffle*. For fun I added some Loki+ (not good, needs baffle material installed).

    *The pads cover half the baffle holes.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2022
  19. Philimon

    Philimon Friend

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    [​IMG]
    BP800 felt adhesive baffle vs no baffle material.jpg
    The adhesive felt is non-porous from what I can tell. Only listened a moment but yeah it's warm. Wish 100-1000Hz could drop approximately 5dB. Will try that fishnet stuff Hands recommended next. Want to avoid padrolling... but if I did Id try the slightly deeper Brainwavz Oval Angled Lambskins to reduce mids, or try something more porous to bring up highs and maybe midbass (like Senn pads). I think I would go Senn for comfort (thinner for less clamp and more breathable material).

    edit: With twist of one Loki knob, 400Hz knob at 7o'clock:
    BP800 WIP Loki.jpg
    ^ wip = work in progress, its the same mod as shared in post

    edit2: (With eq) its like a 6X0 but with excellent bass and more detail and decay. End game on a budget? Big claims and I dont have the authority. Low tier chain, limited experience, and tin ears. Work in progress. First impressions.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2022
  20. Philimon

    Philimon Friend

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    @Hands called it on driver seal. If you shine a flashlight at the back of the driver you can see light at the edges where driver meets capsule baffle. Mainly a tiny gap at the bottom of the driver near the connectors. I used foam around the circumference but will redo in damplifier pro since the goop is moldable (fill gaps) and stickier (less likely to come undone). I think Hands meant for the foam to sandwich in between the driver and capsule..
    [​IMG]
    BP800 driver sealed vs no driver seal.jpg
    BP800 driver sealed vs no driver seal (2).jpg
    ^ Squiggly bass is external noise. Varied positioning to get 3 different measurements.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2022

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