Hello everyone, Let me start off by thanking purr1n and SBAF for the opportunity to start this thread, as I have a great passion for what I'm going to present, and being able to share it directly with the community is awesome and makes it more meaningful. I hope you'll like what you'll see and make good use of it. I'm a headphone enthusiast, a long-time audiophile and music lover, and a hobbyist headphone designer/DIY-er from Croatia. Currently also a medical student at a university, which often limits the time I have for enjoying this hobby, but that just makes every moment I can spend doing this count even more. I'm going to present the project I've been working on for the past almost four years, and I'm going to do it in the most open and transparent way possible by giving the headphone community full access to it, including the ability to use the raw CAD files of two fully developed, completely modular headphone models, the LTA V1 and V2, for FREE. Anyone interested will be able to use the files as they are, or further modify and build upon the existing designs, in order to manufacture the parts on their own, and make their own headphones by using the project as a guide. This is something unprecedented and will allow you to skip a ton of designing, R&D, testing and prototyping, and will enable you to go straight to actually making headphones, saving a ton of headaches and money in the process. >>> You can download the CAD files from the links on my website. In addition to that, if there will be an interest for it, I will be able to provide parts in form of DIY kits, and even meticulously build headphones out of the best available accessories and materials like Carbon Fiber reinforced PA and CNC Aluminium for those interested in owning them, but unwilling to mess with the manufacturing side of things. If you're interested in something like that, let me know. The amount of material related to the project that I've collected in the last few years is massive, as I've tried my best to document every step of the way in great detail, so it's simply impossible to cover the entire project in-depth enough through the forum alone. For that reason, I've prepared a ~90 page PDF file with the project summarized, organized into chapters, with every part of it described in detail. This file can be used as a main source of info in combination with the LTA Headphones website, where you can also find hundreds of photos and high quality 4K renders, additional descriptions, as well as prototype assembly videos and a very detailed post-processing guide for 3D printed parts. >>> PDF download (9.8 MB) RE-UPLOADED 24/4/2021: https://easyupload.io/xbwue7 There are a lot of aspects to this project on top of actually designing and building the headphones, and I've tried my best to cover all of them. You'll be able to read about state-of-the-art additive manufacturing technologies and materials used in the project, backed up by a bit of theory about designing for additive manufacturing, as well as an entire post-processing guide for 3D printed parts. In the forum thread I'll focus mostly on things directly related to the headphones themselves and cover most of it, but for additional detail and more about the project background, I highly recommend you to go through the PDF file, and let me know what you think. I will gradually be adding more and more posts to this thread, simply to make it more convenient to read and interact with. Of course, if you have any questions in any way related to the project, feel free to ask. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1. PROJECT SUMMARYLet's get right into what the project is actually all about. From the very start of it, my plan has been to come up with headphone designs that would enable me to build headphones in multiple configurations, and would basically be modular DIY platforms, with base headphone part designs that could then be combined with a variety of aftermarket or OEM dynamic drivers, ear pads or cables, and would feature plenty of sound tuning options. In addition to that, I wanted every single part of every single headphone to be easily replaceable or upgradeable, in an entirely reversible way, giving me the potential to modify and change headphone parts in the future, all in a very efficient and affordable way. As an extension to that, I wanted headphone part designs to allow me to have them produced out of a wide range of materials, from affordable to expensive ones, all while relying on state-of-the-art additive manufacturing technologies previously largely unutilized in the headphone world, potentially combined with CNC machined metal parts. Essentially, I wanted to design fully modular, entirely customizable and future-proof headphone platforms, but without ending up with some sort of a gimmick. I wanted to end up with something that would go beyond what is usually expected from DIY projects, with every aspect of the project being very well thought out, and once I'd build a headphone in a certain configuration, it would be comparable to similar headphones on the market in terms of sound quality, design, comfort and build quality, under the condition that it would cost me less to build my own headphones, than it would cost me to simply buy such similar headphones. I also wanted to do something nobody's ever done before and give the headphone community something that I felt its members would really like, or could make good use of, which is why a lot of the project is freely accessible to everyone, including CAD files of two headphone models, with more coming in the future. A lot of my free time over the course of the last couple of years has been invested into this, at least 2000 hours of work in total, and quite a bit more if I count in all the learning of various skills involved. Even though I've revealed only 3 headphone models so far, so that amount of time might seem like a lot, I've actually designed more of them, some just as a learning experience, and some that I'm currently still working on, and that will be revealed down the line. What I've decided to reveal now isn't the peak of my work either, and there are even better projects coming up in the future. In addition, there's a lot of stuff behind the scenes that led to this, and had to be completed in order to get to a point where I was ready to start working on headphones to begin with, let alone end up with several designs. I had so much to learn from scratch in various fields, from learning how to use CAD software, learning as much as possible about various brand new additive manufacturing technologies, learning how to post-process plastic parts, and at the end of the day, learning how to actually design headphones while also employing certain novel ideas and trying to do something different. I've tested dozens of headphone parts and designs in multiple iterations during this process, and have spent a large amount of time testing and experimenting with various materials and production methods, as my goal from the start has been to end up with headphones that would not only sound good, but would look and feel good, and would be the first entirely modular headphones out there as well. I've tried my best to end up with something that would be interesting and useful to the headphone community, and would demonstrate the potential of the project, which is something I'd like to emphasize. Don't judge this project just for what it is right now, but for the potential it shows as well. After all, this is where the project has gotten to after only a couple of years of work, completely alone, on the side and only when I had free time, while having to learn everything from scratch, and having to do it all on a student budget. With the experience and knowledge I've gathered, working on future projects will be much easier, so there's plenty of new stuff coming. HOW DID THIS PROJECT COME ABOUT? I've been into sound and hi-fi for a very long time, and I got into headphones around 10 years ago, largely thanks to audio forums. For a long time I've been a typical audiophile discovering the hobby, trying to learn about headphones and trying out as many of them as possible. I've owned and tried a lot of headphones, pretty much full line ups of most major brands, several flagships, etc. I've written a couple of reviews back in the day, and I've always taken a lot of time to analyze the way headphones that I bought functioned, how they were designed, assembled, etc. All along the way I had an urge to modify or customize headphones and turn them into something of my own, but what usually prevented me from doing that was the fact that I intended to sell most headphones after a while in order to be able to buy new ones, and modifying them in any major way without doing irreversible damage would have been impossible. This was one of the first sparks that kind of lit the fire and led me to the idea of building my own headphones. In addition to that, since I've left home and gone to the university, I had to stop buying new headphones as often as before, I stopped testing headphones as much, and sort of settled on a couple of good setups and simply enjoyed them, until the urge to modify them started to bug me again, and that was the second spark that led me down this path of making stuff on my own. However, even only 4 or 5 years ago, designing and building something from scratch that wasn't very simple and basic, was nearly impossible for a single person. I mean, even if I had somehow managed to design something, there was no way for me to make it. The designs that I had in mind were too complex to print using affordable FDM printers, so there was just no way to prototype products without major investments, and it was just something that only actual businesses or companies could do. Also, the amount of aftermarket parts required for a project like this, such as ear pads, drivers or cables, was far more limited. However, as more and more DIY-friendly accessories became available, and as additive manufacturing technologies became more widely accessible, especially the industrial ones that I ended up relying on, the possibilities gradually started opening up, and I started investing everything I had into this project, including selling most of the audio equipment I owned at the time. FILLING UP A HOLE IN THE MARKET One of the main goals of the LTA projects is to enable more elaborate DIY projects in the headphone community. At the current state of the headphone market, it's possible to buy headphone drivers from multiple sources, at various price and quality levels, countless custom headphone cables are available, and the choice of ear pads is almost endless, with all of these products available from OEM, as well as aftermarket manufacturers. However, when it comes to actual passive headphone components, the choices are very limited, which is not a good thing, because passive headphone components often play a part as big as the active ones when it comes to determining the sound and feel of a headphone. It's almost impossible to buy high quality headphone components that can be used as a DIY platform for all those drivers, ear pads and cables, so DIY-ers are forced to either destroy their old headphones and re-use some of their components, which almost never results in builds better than the original headphones, or they have to settle for the rare, usually quite simple and generic aftermarket components, often just reverse engineered, cheap copies of existing headphone components. At this moment, there is very little freedom available when it comes to building your own custom headphones, both in a functional, as well as an aesthetic sense. Compare the state of headphone DIY to the state of loudspeaker DIY, and it's not hard to notice the massive difference between them. The LTA Headphones project aims to completely change that and give people the opportunity to do things that were previously very difficult or even impossible. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 2. HEADPHONE MODELS Okay, let's get to the most important part now, the actual headphone models that are currently available for you to build on your own, or have them built for you. I'll present each headphone model with a general description of it, I'll write a few words about my design goals and highlights of each model, and then I'll present the actual functioning proof of concept prototypes, featuring fully finalized or close to fully finalized designs, with performance measurements and descriptions. I know it's hard to describe how something sounds, and even though I'll do my best, I'll still be using a DT770 Pro 250 as a measurement reference to at least make the measurements done on my rig give you some idea of the sound balance of these headphones. You can easily compare the DT770 graphs from my measurements to those found online in order to see that my measurement system puts out graphs pretty close to others out there. In addition to that, the drivers used in these builds are proven to be excellent and have been used in many other applications with great success, so that should give you an additional idea of the sort of sound quality level we're dealing with. Designs of the passive components don't have any features that would be detrimental to sound quality, there's plenty of customization capacity and ability to precisely manipulate the sound, and the materials the headphones are made of have excellent properties for this application. I've been extremely self-critical while working on this and made sure that every build would perform on a very competitive level in terms of cost/SQ ratio, especially when taking into account the comfort levels, materials used, build quality and attention to detail, as well as the flexibility and future-proof nature that comes from all the modular elements and customization features.