The vintage Ortho thread

Discussion in 'Headphones' started by gurubhai, Jun 24, 2016.

  1. Biodegraded

    Biodegraded Friend

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    Yamaha YH-2 modding: a noob’s progress (part 2 of 3)

    Measuring modded vs (almost) empty pairs
    The graph below shows the effects of removing much of the damping from the two modded pairs. Taking everything but the ~14mm patch of foam in the central metal insert from pair1 results in removal of the 7k peak, introduction of a trough-peak pair at 2-3k, and a high peak at 160 Hz with a sharp dropoff below (green vs black curves). Taking everything but the damplifier & butyl from pair2 – so the cup-edge vents remain sealed – results in a drop through the treble and around 1k and a peak at 130 Hz, again with a sharp drop below (blue vs grey).

    [​IMG]

    The major difference between the two pairs after disemboweling is that the cup-edge vents on pair1 are now completely open, whereas on pair2 they remain completely sealed. That pair2’s 2k peak remains (though narrowed somewhat because of a new trough to the left of it) suggests that the lack of cup-edge venting might be responsible. This idea matches @Ishcabible ‘s results from drilling holes in the backs of the cups of a pair of otherwise lightly-modded HP-1s. The introduction of a trough in the same place to the emptied pair1 further suggests that at least some degree of baffling of these vents is desirable. It’s tempting to infer from these observations that ~2k is the resonant frequency of the rear chamber, even though the cup volumes are somewhat different (there’s quite a bit of butyl/damplifier in pair2, and HP-1 cups are bigger).

    The mid-bass peak introduced to both pairs is reminiscent of what happens when leaving rear central cup vents more open vs baffling or closing them in other headphone mods (e.g. T50RP, HD250), so is likely due to the pivot-hole-connected vents in the central insert being uncovered by damping removal. The poorly-damped stock pair2 configuration had a similar peak in the @Philimon measurements. The difference in peak position between the two pairs measured here could be driver-related, maybe different stiffness of or tension on the supposedly tensionless diaphragms; or related to other differences between the two (pair2 has the conical magnet holes, pair1’s are cylindrical).

    Differences in the treble could relate to the pads. Pair1’s pads are very soft and compress markedly more than pair2’s on my coupler (and my head). Pair1 also retains its small central foam dot, which is just big enough to cover the 4 innermost magnet holes – but in theory, this should give more treble, not less.

    It’s interesting to compare the impulse responses and decays of the modded vs undamped versions if only to reinforce that yes, damping of these drivers is really necessary. Here are impulses and CSDs corresponding with the curves in the FR graph above (left channels only for brevity). Pair1 first, then Pair2:

    [​IMG]

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    [​IMG]

    Compared to their modded counterparts, the impulse responses of the undamped pairs look pretty ragged and have low-amplitude oscillations that persist out to beyond 1 ms. The modded pair1 impulse is interesting, the second peak being almost as high as the first.

    The CSDs show obvious differences, the undamped versions having much longer decays below about 3k. For pair2 the difference in the 800-2000 Hz area is more than is apparent because the dip introduced to the FR of the undamped version there results in a lower ‘start line’ (SPL at t=0) for the decay surface. Changing the graphs’ vertical ranges shows that the SPL drops in the highs of the damped vs undamped versions mask slightly longer decays there too, but the contrasts are nowhere near as much as in the mids. In both versions of both pairs, there are no obvious ‘ortho walls’ anywhere.

    I listened only briefly to pair1 without damping, and FR changes aside, it had lost the speed and clarity which were appealing in the modded configuration. Here are more thorough summaries of the sorts of changes brought by damping, from wualta in the HF ortho thread (scroll down to his last couple of headings) and @Philimon later in the same.

    Effects of different damping elements
    Having made some inferences on how different parts of the cup influence the frequency response, it’d be interesting to try to establish which damping components are responsible for which changes. A series of experiments on pair1 allows for some speculations. On the graph below (lots of curves, enlarge it):

    Black is the dBel84 config (microfiber, black foam, arctic fleece; photo in the previous post)
    Blue is with the microfiber removed
    Green is with microfiber removed and black foam switched for a 40 mm diameter, 8 mm thick cosmetic foam pad with ¼” holes over 2 of the centre-insert vents
    Purple is as green but with a hole over 1 centre vent
    Tan is as purple but with a solid cosmetic foam (no holes)
    Red is as green but with the microfiber returned
    The small patch of black foam in the centre-insert bowl and the 'Arctic fleece' cup fill remain in place for all. The red measurement (first in the series) was made with SPL = 90 dB @ 1 kHz and the volume knob was not changed for the rest, so the absolute changes of each configuration are illustrated.

    [​IMG]

    What I infer from these results is:
    • Blue vs black shows the microfiber mainly suppresses the lows & lower mids, the effect diminishing to zero around 3k.
    • Blue vs green and vs the undamped (‘empty’) curve in the first graph in this post suggests it’s the black foam that’s largely responsible for the upper mid dip and 7k peak. Red vs the others suggests the microfiber contributes here too.
    • The differences among green, purple and tan (same foam with different #s of holes over the central vents) suggest that variable damping of this part of the driver (the second set of driver holes counting out from the centre) and/or variable venting to the pivot exit influences the lower treble (less with less damping) as well as the bass & lower mids (more with more venting).
    I was surprised by the magnitude of the effect of the thin microfiber. I didn't at first believe it would reduce the lows so much (red vs green) so I tested the same config on the other side, being careful to ensure I'd got the holes in the foam pad lined up properly with the cup vents. The result was the same.

    While these results show the effects of different materials and seem consistent with variable central venting influencing bass, it’s not as clear how they bear on @dBel84 ‘s ‘differential damping’ strategy. Damping more holes in the inner – but not innermost – part of the driver does seem to boost the lower treble, but the results aren’t consistent: green (2 holes in the foam) is lowest, but purple & tan (1 & no holes, respectively) aren’t significantly different. More about that in the next post.
     
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  2. Biodegraded

    Biodegraded Friend

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    Yamaha YH-2 modding: a noob’s progress (part 3 of 3)

    Biodegraded mods: many trials, many errors
    As I said in the first post, my approach to applying my own mods to these wasn’t very scientific but rather a series of random experiments to see what would work and what wouldn’t (undirected empiricism, if you like; equivalent to the “poke it and see what it does” approach in zoology). Looking back, though, I think some conclusions can be made about general principles.

    There were many more trials than I’ll show here, but I want to try to focus on the most informative ones. Most trials on this pair got listening time, some quite a bit. Although I had a general FR target in mind, I wanted to see what sounded best in the context of these ‘phones strengths: bass-light but speedy and clear in the mids. I wanted to avoid doing anything permanent like drilling holes in the cups as is done with reportedly great success by @rhythmdevils and others. Doing that would likely improve on my currently ‘final’ results but I’m only keeping 1 pair of these so there’s limited room for error, and I wanted to be able to reverse everything to leave myself free to try something completely different in future.

    The main problem with these things, as everybody(?) who’s tried to improve them has found, is that damping to improve transient response, bring up the treble, and flatten the mid-bass peak can result in killing the bass completely. Hence I played around with the differential damping idea and with changes to the baffling of the central cup insert vents to try to strike a balance. On the graph below:

    Green is with each cup filled with 2 cotton makeup removal pads, 56 mm wide (made for YH-2s, they fill the entire cup right out to the circumferential vents) with 25 mm holes (just large enough to expose the central metal cup insert and its vents) and a 25 mm central disc of 8 mm cosmetic foam pad as used in the pair1 experiments
    Tan as green but with the centre foam disc replaced by a 34mm disc of thin open foam (like Senn front foam) and another of 1/16” thick Creatology synthetic craft felt (thicker but less dense than Phil’s red & blue felts), sandwiched between the 2 cotton pads
    Purple is as tan but with the 2 cotton pads replaced by 1 8 mm x 55 mm cosmetic foam pad with a 25 mm centre hole
    Red is as purple with the addition of a 46 mm disc of thin but dense pale blue felt (@Philimon ‘s, from the photo in the first post) over the back of the driver
    In all configurations, loosely-packed strips of cotton wool were placed over the cup-edge vent slits. The curves were shifted vertically to show the major similarities and differences; unfortunately these measurements were not taken in the same session and so do not have a common amp-gain reference.

    [​IMG]

    The dense, thick central foam disc in the green configuration covers ~40% of the active area of the driver – all but the outermost 16 of the 36 magnet holes. If the mid parts of the diaphragm are indeed responsible for most of the bass, replacing this thick dense foam with less dense material – the thin open foam and felt of tan & purple – could be expected to boost bass and lower mids and to a lesser extent treble (the outermost putative treble-producing area being unaffected by the damping change).

    These results seem partly consistent with this idea: certainly the bass and lower mids are elevated in the less-damped configurations; the changes above 10k between green and tan (purple treble has other complications that I’ll address shortly) are inconsistent and I doubt my measurements are entirely trustworthy at high frequencies anyway. The relative dip in the upper mids of tan & purple might represent a ‘crossover’ area where the tradeoff between less damping of the bass (or less baffling of the central vents) and less enhancement of the highs starts to suppress the upper mid frequencies in favour of the lower ones. From the similarity of the curve shapes between 3 & 4k it looks like the upper end of this area is just above 3k but without a common reference it’s hard to be sure.

    The purple measurement represents a change (vs tan) of increased damping from 25 mm out to the edge of the driver (cotton rings replaced with thick dense foam). Purple and tan have similar shapes through the bass & lower mids and aren’t far apart through the middle & upper mids, but purple has significantly more energy above ~6 kHz. This could reflect denser damping of the outer parts of the driver (the outermost 16 holes) encouraging treble frequencies there; but…

    The red curve shows the effect (vs purple) of introducing an additional layer of damping across the entire width of the driver. Its shape is pretty close to the green & tan curves from the highs down to ~3 kHz, and below that to the tan curve down to ~1 kHz; and below there it falls between green & tan as would be expected from its intermediate baffling/venting of the lower frequencies. Although it’s hard to be certain without an absolute reference SPL, the similarity through the highs in red’s shape to tan & green and its difference from purple (being lower) would seem to contradict the idea that increasing damping over the whole driver results in an absolute increase in the high frequencies.

    For the next set of experiments, which includes my (currently) final version, I abandoned the foam and used the cotton pads as the main elements. These have the advantage that 2 gives similar damping to 1 foam in a thinner package, in which different size holes can be cut and between or over which other material can be sandwiched or overlaid; and when in place, they fill the cups right to the edge so additional material to baffle the cup-edge vents is not required. On the graph below:

    Red is 3 cotton pads, the outer with a 36 mm hole (just fitting around the black plastic cup-insert retainer ring; see photo in post 1), the middle with a 25 mm hole, and the inner with no hole
    Orange is as red but with the middle cotton replaced by a 46 mm disc of the 1/16” synthetic felt used in the previous set
    Blue is as orange but with a 46 mm disc of 2-ply toilet paper with a 18 mm central hole in front of the driver (between driver and baffle)
    Green is as blue but the inner solid cotton has 4 1/4” holes with centres 19 mm from the middle (see the photo below the graph).

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The red configuration is similarly peaky through the uppermost mids as the previous set of trials, and finding myself sensitive there I wanted to flatten that area. The orange solution, replacing the middle 25 mm holed cotton with light felt – therefore slightly increasing the damping of the driver’s central 25 mm but decreasing it outside that – worked fairly well, but upper mids & highs were still a bit sharp.

    I’d tried front filtering before with tolerable results, but Don suggested this ‘lens’ approach with the TP with a hole in the middle. The hole is just big enough to expose the inner 8 holes in the driver magnet. Blue vs orange shows that inserting this dropped the area above ~5k by up to a couple of dB, and this did make an appreciable difference subjectively – perhaps not only because it reduced the high frequencies but maybe also because it blunted ridges in the upper mid decays. The CSDs below show the before & after differences in both channels, v11 being without the lens (orange curve above), v12 being with it (blue).

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Version 12 became my stopping point for a while. Although being light in the bass and tipped up through the treble, it was speedy, clean but punchy in the mids, and resolving in the highs. Ultimately though, I kept wondering if I could get more bass without ruining everything else so I replaced the inner solid cotton pad with one with 4 holes, each hole being positioned over one centre-insert vent and being just big enough (1/4“ because I had a punch that size :p) to expose half of 2 ‘second row’ (ie mid-driver) holes in the back of the driver. The pad holes mean that in this version the centre vents are baffled only by the light synthetic felt. The green curve (v13; final for now) was the result. Here it is compared to the dBel84 and philmod8 versions, and to @purr1n ‘s V1 (different) coupler measurement of @rhythmdevils2011-modded YH-3s:

    [​IMG]

    It’s evident that this change brings back more lower mids and bass – mid-bass apparently, but remember I think my coupler might roll off too fast below ~120 Hz. Something I’ve recognized about myself is that tonality is more important to me than technicalities and even timbre (within limits) and this sort of downward slope from mid-bass onward is something that sounds right to me. By way of illustration, here are v12 & v13 with my measurement of a stock HD6XX (good pads), corrected for a B & K style -1 dB per octave ‘good room’ target so that a horizontal line would be a ‘flat’ response:

    [​IMG]

    There’s still an obvious upslope through the upper mids and into the treble, but these ‘phones seem to behave well there and the elevation highlights their strengths in transient speed and note separation. Yoofs might find the level above ~8k to be a bit much. Listening to sine sweeps, for me these are pretty even below the upper mids but give me a peak from ~2.5 to 3.5k (right where the FR shows a dip), and a climb from ~6k up to about the point where my ears give up (around 13k). I don’t detect the roughness in the treble that’s been spoken of, but that might be my old ears doing me a favour.

    Planar purists might not enjoy this version so much because it seems that some of the planar characteristics have been sacrificed. While bass is bigger (and seems to go deeper than indicated), it has more of a dynamic than a planar character, being rounder and punchier rather than ‘fast’ and tactile. The reason for this might come down to relatively high distortion inherent in these corrugated drivers, as alluded to by @dBel84 in the quote in post 1. Compared to my measurements of HD6XX I was surprised that the Yamaha bass distortion was markedly higher, especially in the higher orders. My distortion measurements are always pretty ugly so I haven’t posted any here, but can do if people are interested. CSDs show that the change from v12 to v13 has extended the decay times in the mids, and has sharpened the 3k ridge on the R side.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    While I like this result (so far), others might prefer to tune the bass somewhere between v12 and v13, which would be possible by having fewer or smaller vent holes in the outermost cotton pad (which would also clean up the midrange decays a bit). I might yet experiment with this.

    Summing up, what have I learned, and what might I do differently?
    • Yes, YH-2s need extra damping – but applied with some thought to cup design as well as driver design
    • In general, increasing damping density uniformly across the driver will linearize the frequency response but make it upward sloping: the denser the damping, the more the treble and the less the bass
    • The cup-edge vents should be baffled but not closed; closing them will likely give you a 2k peak, leaving them open maybe a 2k trough. Start with the stock felt baffling if you have it, then add or subtract to try to match the FR that evolves from your other modding
    • The vents in the central cup insert affect bass & lower mids, with maximum effect in the mid-bass; there’s a balance to be struck between exposing these enough to retain adequate bass and covering/damping the suprajacent driver holes so as not to screw up upper mids
    • A ‘differential damping’ approach involving heavy damping of the outermost and innermost sections of the driver and lighter treatment of the central section (second row of driver holes) might give an adequate level of bass; if bass needs increasing, remove some of the damping material above the centre-insert vents (make holes in one layer; start with small/few)
    • The drivers are very sensitive to small changes in damping. The cotton pads and felt used here have densities that aren’t always uniform, and while they worked for me in the end, some effort was required to get acceptable channel balance
    • Because different materials affect different frequency ranges, an approach using different materials and targeting different parts of the driver will give great flexibility – but also a large variety of potential results, so be prepared to do a lot of experimenting
    • Don’t be afraid of front filtering
    • While the increased thickness of damping materials vs stock will hold the drivers more firmly in the cups, it’s probably still a good idea to stick the drivers to the front baffles with appropriate caulking; I haven’t done this because I might not be finished modding yet
    • Space below intentionally left blank for readers to draw their own conclusions.
     
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    Last edited: Oct 30, 2022
  3. Biodegraded

    Biodegraded Friend

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    Yamaha YH-2 modding: bonus post

    Couldn’t resist a beauty shot (so of course not on my own head). One of the headband stays on Pair2 was broken so I replaced the stock band with a strip of brown belt leather (you can get imitations of the OG on ebay but I like the DIY solution); and the original cable was stiff and too long for desktop use so I substituted a shorter one, again in brown. So yeah, if it wasn’t already obvious – I’m keeping this pair, which will be referred to by me as the ‘brown noise’ version.

    [​IMG]
     
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  4. dBel84

    dBel84 Friend

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    This is just a mind boggling amount of data and work to get there, these are seriously fun headphones if anyone is thinking of scouring the usual spots to find a pair or 2 and now that the hard work of trying to figure out what works is done, there should be no stopping the fun.
    ..dB
     
  5. Philimon

    Philimon Friend

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    I was on break for awhile but I kept in touch. Ill add later some of my pm comments on these awesome posts by @takato14 and @Biodegraded . I dont have anything good to add to their informative posts but just my reactions. Appreciate that these guys took the time to write up these guides and impressions, @Vtory too for the Yamaha Compendium which I hope he will add a YHD1 chapter eventually… YHD series are pretty bad sounding stock due to decrepit earpads which are not simple to suitably replace but I know a vintage ortho ninja out there is helping already.

    Maybe I misread your post Bio but to be clear I didnt give takato my T30 or RP18. T30 I adore so would not abandon. The NAD had a bass imbalance so I offered tak to keep as parts but he refused and he offered to fix for free instead! So he is the truly generous one... It would take a long time to write out all the kind things every individual member here has done for me personally without any want or mention in return. Super!
     
  6. Philimon

    Philimon Friend

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    Related to vintage ortho and T50RP. Current T50RP is a relative, 3rd generation Fostex planar.
    T50RP mod kit sold by Fostex. Ive recorded some screen shots just in case the link gets disbanded by Fostex after the kit sells out.
    [​IMG]
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    Last edited: Nov 23, 2022
  7. Biodegraded

    Biodegraded Friend

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    Looks like this is not so much a mod kit as a self-assembly kit to build a complete pair of headphones, as pictured in the first graphic - with drivers, cups, headband etc. included.

    Which fits with the price: at JPY 33,000 it's a bit more expensive than their price for a complete pair of T50RP3, JPY 31,900.

    Shame they're not selling just the foams & gaskets.
     
  8. dBel84

    dBel84 Friend

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    These look awfully similar to the mod developed for the drop version. Wonder if they just had some left over and came up with a clever way to market it.. dB
     
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  9. Philimon

    Philimon Friend

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    From @takato14 latest update, inspection of Fostex T30.:
    [​IMG]
    ^ {T30 drivers installed in HFM enclosure}
    If you look closely you’ll see that T30 does not use a magnet array. I asked and this is what T. had to say.:
     
  10. Philimon

    Philimon Friend

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    [​IMG]
    Thanks to @takato14 for loaner.
    Fostex T30

    T. please correct if Im wrong, but it's T30 drivers transplanted into a NAD RP18 enclosure with Fostex TH500RP headband.

    First impression of Takato's T30 is that it's better balanced, clearer, and more detailed than HD650. I just finished reviewing HD650 vs T20RP(mod) and T30 is like taking the sonic strengths of both and putting in one headphone but better. From memory, Id put technical ability closer to LCDX 2022 minus the weak sub-bass.

    Besides T.'s T30 I also received back my RP18 and my own T30. Both were inspected and refurbed by T. The RP18 was modded by T. and Ill have some impressions on that later. My RP18 and T30 were originally sent out on loaner tour and were first received by @Vtory which he reviewed. Next it went to Takato and he fixed them for free. Ill update my T30 mod from lessons learned since then (by copying T.) then can lend out again.

    First impressions are hype! Let's see in a week…
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2023
  11. takato14

    takato14 God of Ruin

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    More like a TH500RP with the T50/RP18 cups put on it using some 3D printing magic. Tentative name is T30-II.
     
  12. khbaur330162

    khbaur330162 Almost "Made"

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    Hey, guys. Some of you might remember me from the Ortho Roundup heydays on HF. Maybe a decade ago I transplanted some B&O U70's into a Sony DR-ZX701ip (MDR-ZX700 with different cable) and I never forgot it even after gifting it to a friend. Recently (couple years ago now) I got back into headphones and decided to make a 55mm pinched ortho collection based off the DR-ZX701ip frame as a base in order to compare all of them on equal footings.

    Pictured below is: B&O U70, two Yamaha YH-100's, Yamaha HP-1, and Yamaha HP-1A. (On top of shelf are SFI's in a MDR-CD380 housing as well as a clone of @Philimon 's YHD-30i)

    [​IMG]

    Needless to say, it warms my heart to read @gurubhai say early in this thread that the YH-100 can be turned into an "endgame" headphone. I sold Hifiman Arya v2's due to preferring transplanted YH-100 sound (will refer to it as KH-100 from now on, @Vtory 's sbaf review here). My friend @Philimon recently lent me his HFM HE-6se v2's for an extended audition. I've had a lot of fun modding and listening to them. I feel they can be catapulted to new heights with the right earpads, but until then, I find KH-100's cleaner in the mids with more bass impact. HE-6se's have impeccable imaging delineation, crazy clean bass, and given the right recording a lot more detail, yet there are times the KH-100 portrays the space of a venue even better, they have a little more guts in the bass, and their midrange sounds more forward and cleaner due to reduced housing/earpad reflections.

    I made a HF post on the different YH-100 variations I've come across. TLDR, the flux plate can either be matte grey or shiny black (shinies can be solid black or have wavy green and red heat treatment marks), and the ground solder tab can either be Silver colored or pure Copper. Each revision has it's own sound, but they are all of the same family and similarly tuned. Stressing over which version you have is not hugely important imo until you transplant the drivers, reduce housing and earpad reflections, and delve into cables. This is when the minutia between revisions really starts to shine through. My favorite is the matte grey flux plate with Copper ground tab (which I believe to be a very early revision, possibly the first, however this is 100% speculation). Copper ground tab version, while not quite as "wet" or vibrant as some of the shiny revisions (nor does it have as much mid-bass), ekes out a little more low level detail and room acoustic information which I'm addicted to.

    I am planning on publishing a new YouTube build tutorial for 55mm pinched ortho's, but whether or not I'll ever get around to that Idk. New old stock of the DR-ZX701ip is dwindling. It can still be had for $55 + taxes and free shipping from Newegg right now. If there's anybody out there thinking about transplanting an HP/YH-1 or YH-100 I highly recommend this Sony as a foster-phone and now is the time to do it, imho. These transplanted Yammies compete with the best of them, imho. I prefer Yammies to transplanted NAD RP-18's as well. Yamaha R&D was next level (their QC left much to be desired, imo, with stock units rife with bass buzz and channel imbalance issues). After a couple years of development my KH-100's sound better than ever and they portray differences in upstream gear (digital cables, IC's, amps, etc.) remarkably well -- more so than any other headphone I've tried.

    If anybody wants advice on how to build one of these bad boys I'll happily go into further details. Also if anybody wants I can post pictures of the various YH-100 revisions that I've personally run across. I've never heard anything about YH-100 revisions. Is this a well kept secret?! Am I living under a rock?! With some of the OG ortho ninjas in here I guess I'll find out.
     
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  13. Philimon

    Philimon Friend

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    Nice post Matt.

    Not sure youll get a ton of replies. SBAF’s vintage ortho thread is at least as quiet as HF’s vintage ortho round-up. … Its vintage. There have been some advancements and massive increase in headphone options since vintage ortho roundup’s heyday. Not to mention increased vintage ortho scarcity and price appreciation.

    The driver channel imbalance cant be totally contributed to the manufacturers. These are headphones that have been around for 40+ years or whatever. Who knows the abuse some have seen. That is why when I saw ZMF include lifetime warranty on Caldera I almost thought Caldera to be great value for planars and @zach915m insane. Same with Koss lifetime warranty and their electrostats. Ive read stories of people buying broken vintage Koss stats from eBay and then having Koss refurbish… crazy!

    I would be interested in getting a basic summary subjective comparison of all the Yamaha vintage orthos, and opinions on mods in stock housings vs driver transplant mods. HP2/3, HP1, HP1a, YH100, YHD2, YHD1.

    Your love of Yamaha appears fanatical but its also determined by budget. Like if you could afford totl gear then I imagine YH100 would not be your #1 choice. Your number one choice would naturally be YH500SE. But for less money I think though you would settle for Final Audio D8000 Pro maybe. I know its not Yamaha but supposedly there was some interlap with the people involved in developing FA’s ortho and Yamaha.

    =====

    I still plan to review @takato14 Fostex T30 and RP18 mod. I just have been busy with moving homes and finishing some other reviews first. I say “reviews” like my impressions are any good.
     
  14. khbaur330162

    khbaur330162 Almost "Made"

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    Good point. Also I think transplants exacerbate channel imbalance to a degree.

    This will definitely get some looks, but I was watching a YouTube review on Final D8000 SE by Zreviews and he said something that struck me. The gist of it was Final D8k had a visceral effect across the entire spectrum, not just the bass. I know what he means, almost, having heard transplanted YH-100's. It's as if the entire audio spectrum is "forward" somehow. If everything is forward, then nothing is, right? Not the case with KH-100's, ime, it's all forward. I've called this "balls to the walls sound," "rock and roll soul," "coke snorting planars," etc. It's quite addicting with hard hitting EDM.

    One other point. Given @Vtory 's impressions concerning DCA Stealth I think I might really, really like those. I love a "clean" sound, and DCA's "AMTS" (Acoustic Metamaterial Tuning System) seems next level. I'd love to hear one. It's closed back, too, so another huge benefit for me.

    Stock housings were never ideal for me, I've always hated supra-aural headphones. Stock housings were so bad for me I always considered them a curiosity as opposed to being invigorated to try tuning them like most people. My mind goes straight to considering transplants. I think FR response overall seems more even/neutral in stock housings, they don't seem as forward. They're a bit dialed back and tame, but once transplanted I hear great gains in wetness and clarity as a general rule of thumb, not to mention better soundstaging and improved isolation. I am mainly referring to the pinched orthos in Mario Bellini frames here. YHD's are another beast. I tip my hat to anyone who attempted to tune these drivers in their stock enclosures as I feel they are so terribly bad. I heard benefits in actually sealing YHD-1 rear vents with damplifier and pieces of paper. Midrange sounded much less scooped once the housings were sealed, and they did not sound super closed in as one would expect by sealing a driver housing that is marginally deeper than the drivers themselves... Once transplanted YHD's are very capable drivers, but they don't have the vibrancy of the 55mm Yammies, they seem a little washed out and have more difficulty resolving low level signals imho.

    U70's... Ah, geeze. Ok so the box is super cool with its Leonardo da Vinci sketch of a man wearing headphones
    [​IMG]
    but the stock frame is just... "Lemme adjust the pivot, wait, I broke the mechanism." :eek: Haha. Early in this thread someone said the U70 was the worst headphone they ever heard. :confused: I do not concur, but no, they aren't great. The white cotton pads don't seal well so you lose bass extension and everything just physically hurtsssss. Once transplanted they are not quite as technical as isotropic HP-1's (clean or detailed), but they have a down-tilted FR that can make them a bit romantic imho and the bass has decent character/extension. If you thought HP-1's were hard to drive, think again. U70's are the least sensitive 55mm ortho I've found (no experience with PMB/Amfiton pinched orthos).
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2023
  15. dBel84

    dBel84 Friend

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    thought i would share a little ortho history - a friend who is stepping away from audio sent me these

    upload_2023-4-7_7-7-10.png

    Gary aka Smeggy's Dragon thunderpants
     
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  16. Philimon

    Philimon Friend

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    ^ Legend. I would use Smeggy cups for my urn.
     
  17. Lyander

    Lyander Official SBAF Equitable Empathizer

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    While I'm nowhere near being as strongly biased against planars/orthodynamic headphones as some others on here, I do find that dynamic designs just better suit my preference to the point where, other than to sate my curiosity or to change things up for fun, I never go out of my way to demo planars when out and about, or hanging out at audio nerd friends' places.

    That said, prior to very recently I had never gotten ears on any of the highly vaunted vintage orthos commonly discussed here. I knew that Audeze headphones were much more my speed and that, while I can appreciate the idiosyncratic presentation that HiFiMAN headphones offer (going from the entry level to the TOTL Susvara, again almost all impressions gleaned during store demo or meet settings), it was a sound that'd leave me feeling annoyed if I tried daily driving any of them.

    [​IMG]

    Following are some impressions I've been writing on and off for the last several months. Unlike my Modi Multibit 2 ramblings, I will have made some effort to render this a bit more cogent, haha:

    ********************************************************************************************************************************************
    SUMMARY: these have an aggressively "natural" sound. That's the best way I can really put it I think, because there's a bit of an uncanny valley thing going on where the YH-100s do remarkably well with microdynamics and yet seem vaguely lacking in texture. You just get an overall sense of it being more than extremely deft in some respects while not quite meeting that degree of performance in other metrics.

    The treble on these is smooth, though the timbre is a bit glassy at times like how a lot of modern orthos are smooth, just not nearly to the same extent. Something about the voicing makes me need to crank the volume, maybe a similar recession to modern HiFiMAN, but to a less annoying extent? Treble becomes too forward then though, albeit it's somehow less fatiguing than on the HD600 despite sounding similar in balance. Maybe a bit hashier in the top end, somehow, just not enough to impinge on intelligibility. There's a bit of accentuation to vocal sibilance but it's not as painful as you'd expect from how presently it's conveyed, which is interesting.

    The Yamahas have a VERY pleasant forward-projecting headstage, reminded me that the HD600s are actually fairly intimate stage despite their having a good sense of openness. Imaging isn't particularly tight, though, not really as easy to delineate individual sonic elements vs the HD600. Detail retrieval is all there, not really missing anything compared to the HD600 and if anything these being nominally closed back (semi-open?) makes it easier to catch stuff going on in the background. That sense of improved microdynamics really does help convey a sense of space taken up by each sonic image, and I have to say that this might well be one orthodynamic I've heard that I could feasibly daily drive for weeks on end.

    Maybe I just have this phrase at the top of my mind because I recently reviewed the Zen DAC v2, but the Yamahas impart a similar sort of saturation effect when things get very loud and busy, sort of like what you'd get out of the Piety or Zen DAC v2. Makes super busy segments sound more wall-of-sound (Platypus [I Hate You] by Green Day, Weird Fishes/Arpeggi by Radiohead). Running the Zen DACv2 > Piety > YH-100(modded) makes for a very fun listen, though it does impart a fair lot of character that obfuscates a lot of things I take for granted in the original recording like sense of tension to vocals. There are limits to how beneficial this can be though, e.g. Contact off Daft Punk - Random Access Memories-- I end up needing to stop playback towards the end of the song to keep my ears from dying.... ah okay THERE's the pain point with these, yeah that's bad. Ouch.

    Piano (I Giorni, Ludovico Einaudi) is remarkably tender sounding, very beautiful upper harmonics. The vocals on audiophile-type recordings like Dave's True Story's Lilly 110-140 have a great sense of openness and breath. There's definitely less a sense of body and richness to sonic images compared to the HD600, but it's just got a great deal of naturalness to the sound. I do feel it's slightly behind the Sennheisers in absolute nuance and texture by comparison-- I switch back to the HD600 when comparing mic samples or critically listening to recordings, though I do end up missing the passive isolation of the Yamahas whenever I do so.

    If I had one great criticism to the midrange presentation of the YH-100s, it'd be that there seems to be a slight excess of breathiness, something to the open vowel sounds being vaguely accentuated without really standing out over vocal fundamentals. Just comes off as a whit of thinness to things, though it's far from being as egregiously bad as a bunch of HiFiMAN headphones I've tried (mainly the HE-4xx) have been. This leans into the headphones seem to skew slightly bright in FR but lacking the fatigue that would normally come part and parcel with that.

    Amusingly I'm preferring Modi MB2 in NOS mode with the Yamahas (and yes I'm forcing myself to stick with them for a bit. The sound is nice but OH MY GOD MY EARS HURT. Quick after over two weeks using them as my daily drivers: not as bad but still annoying over very long periods); the imaging delineation on these is less good anyway so that's one strength OS has that's now sent to shit with the Yamahas, plus the more sedate treble of NOS actually mirrors how I hear the treble on these: non fatiguing, so it's a very cosy experience. The more natural microdynamics are augmented by NOS mode, though I do miss the greater heft in the bottom octaves that OS mode conveys.

    Speaking of bass slam, Daniel Deluxe Infiltrator has much more snap. Just overall more tautness to bass etc. Daft Punk - Doin it Right, third bass drop is farty and lacking thud, but other than that it generally has great extension down low and good pitch differentiation, better than the HD600 at least which does have a tendency to get a bit same-y down low during particularly busy passages.

    Okay, yeah no that sense of fartiness is definitely there every time a bass drop takes center stage, e.g. the opening of Coolio - Gangster's Paradise. That said, it seems to do much better with low bass rumble than it does quick thwacks; the very low bass on Welcome to Fort Joy off the Divinity: Original Sin 2 soundtrack sounds remarkably clean. Would be interesting to try and quantify the differences in performance between relatively instantaneous low bass impulses vs more sustained ones. Ship to Wreck from Florence + the Machine has a lot of that thudfart sense to the very low end throughout the song, not to mention a lot of glassy but not-fatiguing vocal sibilance.

    LMAO okay totally bollixed the mic comparison posted by someone else where they went between a Boya By-M1000 and a Neumann TLM103; for those without context, that's me failing to identify the difference in resolution between a $125 mic and a $1200 one-- the lack of presence and textures less obvious on the Yamahas. It's very much a characterful headphone, and one that's a pleasure to listen to at that, but it does make it more difficult to catch nuances in recordings IMO, definitely sticking with the HD600s for critical listening.

    I've been in a Tori Amos - Little Earthquakes mood the last few weeks and wow that's excellent on these. You get a great sense of her proximity to her mic, as well as a beautiful sense of background activity that belies how "simple" the arrangements on the album are. I really don't agree with having delegated headphones for specific genres because that seems remarkably wasteful and silly to me, but while all-rounders I'd say the Yamahas excel at "natural" sounding recordings or stripped back arrangements. Foameopathy off the Steve Gadd Band album grooves like nobody's business, and is a great showcase for how well the Yamahas convey tiny dynamic nuances.

    The YH-100s pair remarkably well with the MCTH. The slightly dirtier low end of the MCTH (vis a vis other amps I have on hand, anyway) helps fill in the low end on the Yamahas, and the surprisingly delicate midrange and treble presentation of the Yamahas is augmented by the amp. I adore this pairing for stripped back recordings. For the weebs on the forum, I've been bouncing with excitement since the announcement that Spice and Wolf was getting a remake, but the original OP is just something special. This, I'd qualify as a song that works VERY well on the Yamahas:



    I'm well aware that "it works well for anime music" is very much in the vein of a backhanded compliment, but I mean that sincerely here. It's just a combo that brings a massive grin to my face, and that's not entirely out of nostalgia for this show.

    Not to say that the above song is a perfect match, by the way. Something interesting goes on with the Yamahas at 3:29 into it that makes me wonder whether it's eliciting a resonance or something to that effect. Overall though, still a great presentation. UPDATE: I was curious and plugged the video into foobar2000 with my visualiser, turns out her voice triggers something around 2960Hz which coincides with a series of ortho walls as visible in CSDs presented later in this post:
    [​IMG]

    Taking a quick peek over on eBay I see these going for anywhere between $250-$400 depending on condition (the latter being an ostensible NOS unit). I can't help but feel that that's a bit steep considering what else is on the market nowadays, but I do have cheap bastid tendencies despite my looking at much nicer DACs than I really ought. The sound of these is something special that I don't think is matched by anything more recently produced. Maybe the Verum One will scratch that same itch, but I've never gotten ears on a pair.
    ********************************************************************************************************************************************

    A NOTE ON MEASUREMENTS:
    These seem to have gotten knocked about in shipping en route to me so I had to reaffix some things to restore channel balance in the very low end. I'm gonna take responsibility if the mods end up being improperly implemented now (n.b. many sincere thanks to @dBel84 for taking the time to walk me through the process of repairing things).

    Even with that, though, FR on the MiniDSP EARS bites on account of these being supra-aural headphones. SBAF comp:
    [​IMG]

    Yamaha YH-100 (more AMBER than YELLOW) v Sennheiser HD600 [very flat pads] (more TEAL than CYAN)
    [​IMG]

    Subjectively speaking, though, bass does not roll off nearly that quickly, but that's the best I can manage in terms of getting a "good" seal with the MiniDSP rig.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    TAKE DISTORTION MEASUREMENTS WITH A GRAIN OF SALT. The MiniDSP sucks at this overall IMO, plus the right channel on this specific MiniDSP EARS rig seems to have something funky going on just raising overall distortion levels. I'd say Left channel (first one) is going to be far more representative.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
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    Last edited: Apr 27, 2024
  18. gurubhai

    gurubhai Friend

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    ^Are these stock or modified ?
     
  19. Lyander

    Lyander Official SBAF Equitable Empathizer

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    Modified by dBel! There was notable channel imbalance when they got to me likely from international shipping (I got these from @gixxerwimp) so he was kind enough to walk me through getting that sorted.

    I took some measurements of the raw driver held up to MiniDSP EARS to make sure that things were fine on that front. Amusingly the channel that extended lower into bass while fully assembled is the one that measured with slightly earlier rolloff here:

    upload_2024-4-25_21-21-50.png
     
  20. gurubhai

    gurubhai Friend

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    Interesting that the bass rolls of that much, maybe @dBel84 can shed some light

    FWIW, among the vintage orthos the YH100 has the reputation of being quite a bass monster! Infact, before the introduction of Audeze orthos, many claimed that the modded YH100 were capable of finest bass they had ever heard in headphones.

    One thing I might add that while the YH100 isn't quite as power hungry as some of the modern orthos but it still needs some decent power to sound close to its full potential esp. when it comes to bass.
     

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