rhythmdevils modded orthos

Discussion in 'Headphones' started by rhythmdevils, Nov 16, 2021.

  1. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils Best SBAF member of all time

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    rhythmdevils modded orthos
    impressions, measurements and discussion

    [​IMG]


    I’m starting this thread myself because I’m going to be modding a number of orthos and offering the modifications for sale. Instead of creating 7 threads for each model on SBAF, I’m just starting one thread and if I have the first post here I can maintain lists of inks to impressions and measurements of each headphone separated into separate lists for each headphone. So anyone can come to the thread and click the links to find impressions and measurements easily.

    Thank you for your interest and support!
    Whitney

    rhythdevils modded Audeze LCD-X loaner thread is active right now!
     
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    Last edited: Nov 18, 2021
  2. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils Best SBAF member of all time

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    rhythmdevils modded Audeze Playlist

    I made a playlist of songs that I have found show off the strengths of my modded Audeze headphones. I skipped the most obvious general audiophile stuff for the most part. You know how to play Eric Clapton unplugged. There’s quite a variety of music I tried to cover everything except classical because I don’t know it well enough. You may not like a particular song, but try to listen to the sound that the headphones are making with that song anyways. For example there are a few metal songs, but even if you don’t like metal, the sound of rich distorted electric guitar on these headphones is magical to me. The playlist is best on Tidal and Amazon music, Qobuz and Apple Music have some key tracks unavailable, but I tried to fill them in with alternatives. Spotify is included because of it’s popularity though discouraged because it’s lossy. Not a great way to test headphones.

    rhythmdevils modded Audeze Playlist

    Tidal

    Qobuz

    Apple Music

    Amazon Music

    compressed :(

    Spotify

    YouTube Music
     
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    Last edited: Dec 1, 2021
  3. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils Best SBAF member of all time

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    Last edited: Dec 15, 2021
  4. Vtory

    Vtory Audiophile™

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    I believe this thread will be filled with the loaner impressions very soon, but in the meanwhile, @loadexfa do you perhaps have some thoughts to share about the modded LCD-4 you're enjoying? I'm very curious how they changed over the original.
     
  5. loadexfa

    loadexfa Friend

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    Unfortunately I have never heard the original. I listened to them in modded form at a meet and was so blown away I went for it. RD already had a second unmodded pair that he was going to return so I bought them off him and received them in fully modded form.

    Perhaps the next time RD mods one he'll let me borrow it (assuming the owner consents) in stock form so I can compare and give a useful answer. I think it would be useful to document the difference. I'm waiting before I write up a review because I want to try the LCD-4 again with the LauX as I did at the meet, I'm pretty sure I will re-purchase the LauX. The LCD-4 are good with the MJ1 but the synergy that I recall with the LauX was pretty damn perfect. Some brief thoughts, they present everything really well, nothing stands out but everything is VERY right. They are smooth yet detailed with wonderful tone and clarity. When I do a full write-up I'll compare with Clear and Auteur on the Stratus since all three have "neutral-ish" tuning. That will help me be more specific about why I find the LCD-4 so dang good.

    I did hear my HE 6se before RD's work and will post full impressions in the near future. Briefly I noticed superb air and separation, great clarity, and much more liveliness over the original.
     
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    Last edited: Nov 16, 2021
  6. dasman66

    dasman66 Self proclaimed lazy ass - friend

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    I guess I'll start - I was on the short loaner tour for @rhythmdevils modded he560v4 and was asked to hold posting impressions. While that was now quite some time ago, following is what I sent RD back then - this has comparisons to my ZMF cans and the Focal CMG that I had on loaner at roughly the same time...

    Modded HE560v4
    It's hard for me to write impressions of the HE560 because I'm usually focused on problems I have with something... In the case of the 560's, I thought they were almost perfect from an FR standpoint. But they may be just a little hot in the upper treble, but I had assumed that was because my ZMF's were probably considered the dark side of the force (at least, that's what I thought until I heard the CMG).

    The bass was extended, slamming and seemed to extend forever... clearly superior to my Auteurs. Compared to the Eikons, I thought the extension was similar, but the 560's were tighter/faster.

    I used the 560's exclusively for about 2 wks. After I sent them off to the next person, I thought the world had shifted when I put I put the Eikons back on. I believe the Eikons are considered relatively neutral (in the ZMF world) and I had always thought the ZMF's had great midrange. But after extended listening to the 560's, the Eikon midrange just sounded wrong. Vocals were forward and slow, saxophones sounded especially honky, and cup reverb seemed especially pronounced. It took me a few days to fall back in love with the ZMF house sound, but now I completely understand how colored they actually are.

    The 560's might have been a little lacking in detail and might have been a little "smooth", but I assumed that is what you were referencing when you mentioned the limitations of the 560 driver.

    Biggest complaint on the 560's was the comfort... they're light, clamp is perfect, comfy pads... but I could only wear them for about an hour before the hotspot on the top of my head was just too much. Since I listen at work for 5-6 hours at a time, they could never be my daily driver with that headband.

    Compared to the CMG... The CMG's were dark, boring and completely lacking with well recorded music. The bass was good, mids were ok (male vocals sounded nice, female vocals seemed recessed), but it was if someone spun the treble tone controls all the way back.
    ----------edit-----------
    Chains used:
    Pi2AES -> SFD-1 Mkii SE+ -> ECP 3f (nickel) -> Auteur/GenG
    Pi2AES -> Metrum Amethyst -> Mogwai SE v2+ -> Eikon/GenG
     
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    Last edited: Nov 17, 2021
  7. penguins

    penguins Friend, formerly known as fp627

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    I borrowed a RD tuned HE6se v1 from @loadexfa. @rhythmdevils was also informed before I borrowed it and I was asked to give my honest opinion:

    Summary:

    Neutral tuning with an extra bit of top end air, clarity, and cleaner separation than stock. Especially on the top end. This is how I wish a very good reference headphone could or maybe even "should" sound, but as far as I know, there are no flagship level headphones with a similar tuning right now. The main problem here is the HE6 family (probably due to the drivers) just doesn't have the top end performance to be a true reference headphone IMO (think Focal Clear vs Utopia). Instead, IMO, the HE6 family is strong at being "it's own thing" which is what most modders seem to do instead.

    Use case and brief background:
    pi2aes > Yggdrasil > Cavalli Liquid Crimson > included aftermarket XLR terminated cable. I also tried rolling to my own aftermarket HE6se cable (also XLR) and didn't notice a huge sound difference, but there was a small difference. I don't think one cable sounded better or worse. A good speaker amp with a pre-amp controlling it would have been better, but this is what I have right now.

    I have modded my own HE6se through about 6-7 iterations and have also heard or loaned some modded HE6se from different SBAF members and as well as hearing 2 modded ones from outside of SBAF (1 was mediocre, 1 was actually pretty good but not to my preference). Note that not all of my modding iterations are improvements upon one another, but rather, different target sounds.

    Tuning / Sound:

    Instead of going for a tuning that brings out in some way or another the strong bass potential of this headphone, the RD tuning is a very neutral reference tuning mentioned above. It has basically 0 flaws or things that annoyed me in the FR, but it is also to me devoid of all of the magic that made me want a HE6 family headphone in the first place. The tonality and timbre (both of which very hard to get right for the HE6 family in my experience) are slightly plasticky and glazed over, but are overall the best I've heard on ANY modded HE6 family headphone to date. On a somewhat related issue (but not strictly a cause / effect issue), many instruments and songs also lack texture (I suspect this is a driver issue with the HE6se though as pretty much every modded HE6se suffers from this to some degree or another along with stock HE6 family headphones).

    Although I didn't want to buy this mod as it's about 95% similar to one of my own HE6se modding iterations and they both "lack magic", I do like this tune A LOT and will be trying other RD modded headphones in the future (I don't think I could re-create this sound easily in another headphone).

    - REST WILL BE CLARIFIED / ELABORATED UPON / EDITED IN LATER - TOO TIRED RIGHT NOW.

    11/28 edit:
    Tuning / sound cont'd
    - Nothing stands out in any way good or bad about other stuff such as staging, layering (for reference, this is not the same as clarity or separation to me), or . As a matter of fact, these things didn't once cross my mind while listening. I only realized this after when I sat down to write this. This also applies to most of the comments below.
    - They were a little "faster" sounding than before. I never thought of the HE6 family of headphones as a slow headphone, but they certainly weren't fast. The transients + decay still sound very natural and neutral though - the extra speed didn't mess this up.
    - There was a total lack of heft in the bass and slam was reduced by about 90% overall and flat out missing on a lot of tracks. This is forgivable though - based on my own modding experience, this was not a surprise given the issues that were fixed. Generally speaking, when modding the HE6 family, heft comes at the expense of slam and vice versa. And if you try to crank both up too much, you are either going to get WAY more of a plasticky timbre and/or WAY more distortion combined with some sort of resonance from enclosure vibration. The inverse was also mostly true - if you wanted to fix the timbre, distortion, and resonance, it came at the cost of both bass slam and heft.
    - Like stock, the overall sound is still ever so slightly thin / lacking in richness. Probably about 4/10 where 0 is none at all and 10 is way too much / maximum.
    - Similar to my comment about the HE6se family lacking top end performance and heft / slam being killed, macro and micro are both slightly lacking.

    Other:
    - Professional appearance and feel. No "DIY in a garage" type of feel for those who care (personally this doesn't bother me, esp for a 1 man show).
    - I didn't like the pads that much but they're probably the reason that RD was able to hit a target tuning. My own approach was to use pads I liked and then work around those pads. This probably limited my ability to get the last 1-3% of tuning I wanted in the sound at times.
     
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    Last edited: Nov 28, 2021
  8. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils Best SBAF member of all time

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    Thank you for the impressions!

    I would agree with everything you wrote. I only tune orthos to a neutral target. My reference is a pair of studio monitors, which measure dead flat. I understand some may like colorations and that's fine, its just not my thing. And you're right, the HE6 drivers are limited in what they can do, when I started modding Audeze headphones even the LCD-2 Classic, I immediately preferred them with this same neutral target over the HE6se. The only thing the HE6 drivers do better than any LCD driver is soundstage and air. There is an affect with the HE6se driver of being able to hear "through" the drivers into the space behind them. With Audeeze drivers, this doesn't exist at all. One of the biggest most significant parts of my Audeze mod is to create soundstage and a sense of space, but it's still only on the front side of the driver due to the drivers not having this "hear through" affect. I have no idea what is causing this because the LCD drivers are better in eery other way including speed, which is what you would think would generate a sense of soundstage.

    I also would like a little more bass on my HE6se mods, but the only way to achieve this would be to remove the resonance absorption I have implemented in the cups which would create longer decay and some cup resonance, which I'm not ok with. :). So I did the best I could with that driver.

    Until I'm designing my own drivers, and headphones entirely, which I hope to do someday, there are limits to how much of my own sound signature I can get out of every ortho because every driver has its own sound.

    Cheers!
    Whitney
     
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  9. loadexfa

    loadexfa Friend

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    Note, I will be doing more comparisons soon, this is a bit brief to get out the notes I took a few months ago. Any requests? I plan on comparing with the Clear and LCD-4 (modded) since all of these have been tuned towards "neutral".

    HE 6se V1 RD Modded Impressions
    General
    These are versatile and "neutral" tuned with a very light and nimble presentation. The main drawback is they lack some heft. With Stratus they are more nimble and hit harder with the MJ1. All general characteristics are the same, these are minor tweaks. Stratus normally adds good air and presence, not as obvious with 6se, probably because they already do this very well.

    I agree with the impressions posted by penguins, though I haven't heard many modded 6se variations. I'm still learning what "texture" sounds like but I'm pretty sure I'm hearing way more of it with the LCD-4 which helped me understand that it's lacking with the 6se.

    Chain?
    I've had these for a while, hard to pin down all the chains I've used but if gear is in my signature then I've tried it. The amps I tried: Stratus, MJ1, MCTH, iFi iDSD BL, BW1. All work well but the Stratus and MJ1 have the best synergy.

    The MJ1 ended up being my favorite due to the added punch. Any comparisons I add after the Auteur (future edits) will be with the 6se on the MJ1 and the other headphones on my favorite amp for them.

    Mod Improvements
    • A lot more air and clarity
    • Flatter tuning
    • More lively and nimble, previously they were sleepy and slow. Perhaps this mod reduced the need for a speaker amp.
    • Very comfortable ear pads
    VS Auteur
    • 6se, more crisp and cooler, Auteur more slam, heft, and rich tone/timbre
    • 6se more separation air, clarity between instruments. Auteur more elevated bass
    • Both are good for a wide variety of genres. For classical, I definitely prefer the 6se. The clarity and separation are awesome while the Auteur can get too boomy at times.
    • Other genres are a toss up (metal, rock, folk, jazz, soul) depending on mood and the specific album

    Final Thoughts
    The 6se is in my rotation and fantastic when I want what it does. Moods change, some days I need a flavored Atticus, others the nimble 6se. My original notes indicated that I should be done buying headphones for a long while (trading one flavor of Auteur for another doesn't count ;) ). Then I tried the LCD-4. Damn you RD and your sexy mods.
     
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  10. loadexfa

    loadexfa Friend

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    HE 560v4 RD Modded Impressions
    General
    I never heard the unmodded version so can't compare from memory or anything. VERY light, makes them super comfortable, especially with the nice poofy pads that RD uses (same ones are on the 6se).

    There are a lot of similarities to the 6se. I imagine this is both due to HiFiMan's drivers and RD's handiwork. Great air, separation, and nice crisp tone. A bit cool and can have sizzle (sometimes heard with cymbals) but wasn't enough to cause fatigue. Perhaps upper mids and/or lower treble are elevated.

    VS Auteur
    Switching from 560 makes the Auteur sound congested, not how I would normally describe them. In many ways similar to 6se comparison (see my previous post in this thread) except the 6se has a more natural tone and no sizzle. 560 is thinner than both (in tone). Great clarity, air, and nimble presentation.

    For classical not obviously better than the Auteur, more of a toss up. 560 still wins on clarity and air but tonally the Auteur is nicer. With the 6se I preferred the tone for classical even over the Auteur. Other genres mostly the same thoughts as 6se but Auteur's tone more noticeably better. That said the space/air of the 560 is quite nice and addictive and I preferred it for some albums. I think ZMF tone is really hard to compete with if that's your thing so this speaks highly of the 6se.

    Final Thoughts
    The 560 is a good baby 6se and a very nice alternative for when you don't want ZMF style richness and/or more crispness/air.
     
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  11. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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    I was looking at the HE560 v4 and there isn't many reviews for them but the ones I found were generally positive and claim they are the best iteration so far.

    @rhythmdevils - What did you think of the v4 in stock form and how it compared after your mods?
     
  12. purr1n

    purr1n On vacation

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    Will be posting measurements for three sets of HE6se variants modded or otherwise. Here is goes:

    HE6seV2 (stock, not modded)
    Frequency Response
    FPC compensated
    upload_2021-11-22_10-55-16.png

    Pretty darn good matching between L and R channels. Looks like some sort of Focus-A type pad with slight angling was used. I think this is stock, but will wait for @rhythmdevils to confirm.

    I don't know if this is V1 or V2 or if it's been modded. This is the dark blue one without the suspension headband. The headphone is super uncomfortable. Here is a photo:

    PXL_20211122_165444479.jpg
     
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    Last edited: Nov 22, 2021
  13. purr1n

    purr1n On vacation

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    HE6SEv2 (stock, not modded)

    CSDs
    FPC HE6se L.jpg
    FPC HE6se R.jpg

    Distortion
    upload_2021-11-27_10-11-5.png
     
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    Last edited: Nov 27, 2021
  14. Philimon

    Philimon A Distasteful, Sad Person

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    The handwritten letter in background Id rate an epic.

    Frequency response measurements suggests needs more bass (in comparison to mids) and much too much highs. imo

    CSD: Im immune to 5kHz anomolies so perfect spot for the ortho wall.

    @rhythmdevils Is this stock or modded?

    @Vtory measurements and impressions stock HE6se.

    edit: correction
     
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    Last edited: Nov 22, 2021
  15. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils Best SBAF member of all time

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    That's a stock HE6SEv2. I included it to compare to my modded versions.

    the V1 is black and has a suspension headband and the V2 is dark blue and has the padded headband.

    My modded versions are easily identifiable because they have a replacement honeycomb grill on the cups and a Forza brown colored cable.
     
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  16. Philimon

    Philimon A Distasteful, Sad Person

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  17. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils Best SBAF member of all time

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    @purr1n would you mind taking distortion measurements as well? Especially of the modded orthos you have there. I put a lot of work into making the HE6SE cup inert so that the driver screws into a super rigid cup that won’t transmit vibrations.

    and I put even more work into making the baffle of the T50rp vibration proof and rigid. I hear no more “rubbery tonality” with them (which plagues the T50rp even modded ones)

    :bow:
     
  18. robot zombie

    robot zombie Friend

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    Just tossing in an impression of rhythmdevils he560v4's. The original thread has a little conversation for more context: https://www.superbestaudiofriends.o...obs-he560-and-jar600.11251/page-2#post-357713

    Anyway...

    So, I have these HE560's in hand. I don't really have much to say just yet, and I don't have a backlog of experiences with planars to really corroborate. Just some comments. Truth be told, I don't fully feel as though I have 'learned' planar sounds just yet.

    I hear that plasticky quality. It's not overbearing but it is definitely there. It has this weird impermanence. It's not always there. I probably wouldn't have noticed if it was pointed out. As far as treble goes, I don't really hear peakiness. I hear the low points. The treble sounds a little sucked out and certain sounds throw me off. It's verrry situational. Though in all fairness, literally every planar I have ever put on my head has thrown me off on tone. Gets me every time. In this case, it's not disagreeable. But it's definitely different. The mids are actually great on these, though. I will say, that goes a long, long way. Quite a lot of detail and coherence there. It's the treble that's not quite natural to me. Quips.

    It does have some nice openness to it. Some nice forward-back dimensional qualities. Don't get me wrong, these are some nice-sounding headphones. I would say they're slightly laid-back overall, and maybe not cool, but definitely a little bit of a treble emphasis. It's not like they're lacking in bass, either. I'm used to my HD6xx's these days. I'm not used to that tight, clean bass.

    They are very well damped. It's a world apart from what I'm used to with planars. The only way I can think to describe it is as being very dynamically clean. The transient behavior on these just sounds very controlled to me. I get the sense that this adds to that laid-back vibe in some cases, but it also gives you this clarity and emergence that still cuts through. It's smooth, but never fuzzy. When the music is faster, with more aggressive transients, everything fits in there snug and these headphones have no problem getting it all through with a strong, big, impactful sound.

    But they're also pretty granular, with textural information popping out everywhere, creeping back into the stage. They can be quite delicate. It's a nice balance. Even in the energetic passages, I hear deeply into a guitar's distorted tones and I swear I can start to pick out individual harmonics. But I'm not consumed by it. I still have that greater awareness up on the macro level. These headphones don't really let you lose that. A tight tom hit has gravity to it, and yet on top are crisp, fine layers breaking off. Music with lots of breathing room is layered and expansive. That's when you really start to hear the emergence that I assume comes from the damping measures.

    Thanks to @rhythmdevils for giving me the opportunity to try them. It's been... educational. There's a definite mojo to these HE560's. The more I use them, the more I like them.
     
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  19. purr1n

    purr1n On vacation

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    Here is the modded version of the HE6se V2

    HE6seV2 Modded
    Frequency Response
    FPC compensated
    upload_2021-11-23_22-21-6.png

    CSDs
    FPC HE6se RDmod L.jpg
    FPC HE6se RDmod R.jpg

    Looks like much better control compared to stock which had at least x5 ortho walls in the CSD. The peak in the mid treble is actually better despite appearances. The stock has a narrow dip at 9kHz which turns into a well defined ridge sharp. These tend to be bad. Here we don't have that dip - instead it's filled in, but the decay is smoother.

    Will post distortion in a bit.
     
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  20. purr1n

    purr1n On vacation

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    HE6seV2 Modded
    Distortions
    upload_2021-11-26_11-27-42.png
     
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