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Headphones, Impressions

Modding the T50RP: +1000 EXP

I did say that I would write something longer than the first impressions post for the stock T50RP right? Well my impatience got the better of me and I started modding a week after I posted that up. To be fair (mostly to myself), I felt like nothing changed since putting it up here, and the other more lengthy, and written by more capable people, about the stock T50RP mirrors my impressions of it. So, how hard did I violate this oh so very delicious and highly modular headphones?

Nothing major or anything out of the ordinary, unfortunately. Following the very basic and almost compulsory mods, the T50RP truly changes drastically that it’s not funny. This being the much needed application of an acoustic dampener of sorts and stabilizing the baffle plates, the piece that holds the driver assembly. The former usually means applying either Paxmate Lite or AcoustiPack internally on the floor of the cup; while the latter usually means mechanically reducing the vibrations brought on by the drivers producing sound by adding more mass. The simplest way to do that is by putting gobs of modelling clay (plasticine, Newplast, etc.) into the small sections.

After doing all that, I found out that the bass is tighter and have more punch, not boomy but quite forward compared to other spectrum. The mids became much more fuller and more detailed, a little be recessed compared to the bass. I think there’s a little bit bass bleed into the mids, but sometimes I think otherwise. I don’t know, sometimes when a song gets going with a lot going on, the vocals are still clear, but some other songs have the vocals a little muffled. The highs are mostly recessed compared to the mids and bass, but not terribly so. They are still detailed and sparkly when there’s not a lot of bass, but once it gets going, it takes a step back.

At this stage I am quite surprised at the change, as it is all around simply better than before. Sure as a midrange junkie, the bass bothers me quite a bit, but I have to acknowledge that just less than 2 hours max spent toying around like that, it’s almost a new headphone.

At this stage, I’m using the stock earpads. IMO they are very comfortable for me, barring the Shallow Ear Pad Syndrome. I’ve tried stuffing under the earpads initially with dishwashing sponges, but the softness basically did almost nothing to hold the pads up sufficiently. I then used cotton balls, by far the most effective yet, and quite comfortable. But my toying around and my requirement for quite some ear space has loosened the stock ear pads lips quite significantly. I have a Sony SA5000 earpads, but prior usage of it on the T50RP left the pads quite stretched and stiff. But looking at the way the SA5k pads are designed, I decided to stuff cotton balls in the “pockets” and just taped it onto the baffles. So far it’s okay, but I still prefer the stock still.

Of course, ear pads effect the overall sound as much as the initial modding does. For me, when I fitted the SA5k pads properly, by stretching the lips and fitted it around the whole baffle, the pads are quite stretched and became hard and stiff, resulting in the foam not taking the shape of my head and not providing a good seal. Bass was weak and the other spectrum are quite airy, not in a good way. When I just taped it onto the baffle all of that are mostly fixed. Pad lifting on any ear pads, IME results in a lesser bass and further away mids, while the highs sound more forwards because of the two former aspects lessened. In both the stock pads and SA5k pads, the changes aren’t too dramatic. It’s noticeable but not by much. To be honest, between the stock pads and SA5k pads, I can’t pinpoint what’re their difference. Only I know that I still prefer the comfort of the stock still.

Back up there I said something not liking the bass after doing the Paxmate lining, mass-damping the baffles and using different pads. One easy way to tune the bass is by closing the bass vents from outside. From my understanding, the more you closed the lesser the bass becomes. For now, this is how I closed the bass port:

 

Now for me, the bass is now almost the same level as the mids, but still retaining the powerful impact. IMO, the bass is still juuust a little bit more prominent than the mids, so I’m going to tweak it again later.

Another common mod is to stuff the inside of the cup with any loose fibrous material. The cheapest and easiest to acquire is cotton balls/pads. The effect, as I understand it is the bass gets reduced, thus bringing more emphasis on the upper mids and treble. I did this with some variation of thickness of teased apart cotton balls, and to be honest, I don’t like how it turned out. I don’t know how to say it. There’s something changed, alright, but it sounded messy, incoherent somehow. I revert back to the cottonless state.

For now I am quite impressed at this $76 ortho. At this stage, I am quite satisfied, but still have that nagging feeling that I can tweak it more to my liking: mids forward with the bass and highs crowning the mids with high instrument separation but still coherent and “musical”. Right now, I’m guessing that I need to tweak the bass and highs a little bit more to achieve that. But the usual mods aren’t too successful for that. I’m waiting for more free time to try something less orthodox and weirder. Can’t wait to see this little normal girl turned into a legendary star.

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About fEast91

A foreign student who happens to like manga/anime and headphones.

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  1. Pingback: Modding the T50RP: voice transplant « Kuusou Rumba and Headphones - June 3, 2012

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