Discussion in 'Headphone Measurements' started by purr1n, Aug 12, 2016.
i read through this thread, thanks for experimenting for us
does the foam do anything else than just reduce the 10k peak? I've had bad experiences with front damping before, but this one looks more friendly.
It smooths and attenuates basically the whole upper-mid through treble response. I encourage everyone to experiment with front damping, or lack thereof, to find what works best for them. Same for pads, though I know that can get pricey quick.
right! so no changes in details or clarity or anything like that?
I'm trying to avoid having to experiment, and your mod measurements do look really nice. I am a big fan of the elear's technical qualities, speed especially. but the tonal balance stock kind of sucks for me.
Well, there's no free lunch. Extra front damping is always going to have some compromises, but I'd say the details and clarity still exceed the 650.
hmm! lunch is a bit late now anyway.
is it an immediately noticeable difference or is it subtle, in terms of clarity/detail?
the foam if I am reading correctly just sits inside the pad opening right? I should go to my local shop and put some foam in to try for myself
tempted to do the entire mod but would love to have a set of replaceable pads instead of taping on the HM5s... or gluing on the felt... hmm. maybe. I wouldnt be getting a pair until the new year either way, so perhaps there will be pad rings available by then
thanks again Hands, your mods always seem great!
I would say subtle. More positive changes than not if you want that sort of sound.
Front damping needs to go directly over the driver, not slipped in pads. I use small pieces of adhesive velcro around the edge or the driver, basically on that little foam ring. (Harder side of velcro with fingers)
For those of you lacking an imagination or the ability to picture things in your head:
The yellow circles are small strips of adhesive velcro. Again, this is the "hard" side with the little plastic "fingers." These will grab into foam, felt, fabric, etc., albeit sometimes with a bit of pressure and wiggling. You do NOT want to have anything covering the mesh to the side of the driver (left of driver in this pick).
The blue circles are where I put mild double sided mounting tape for pads. Don't use anything too strong while you try various pads. When you feel comfortable, double up on the number of spots where you put tape strips, and use stronger tape.
I hate to flip flop between pads. Lately I've been using the HD650 exclusively for listening. Kind of hard to not get sucked back into that. So when I put the Elear back on tonight, I realized the ZMF oval protein pads + foam front damping make the Elear sound closest to the HD650 tonally. The HM5 angled pleather are a bit more immediately enticing, being brighter (more neutral overall) and clearer sounding, but they put me more at edge than the ZMF pads or HD650 in a way that makes me not want to listen as long. HM5 pads + damping are still less bright than the Utopia and occupy a middle ground between that and the ZMF pads on Elear.
I think both pads are a big tonal upgrade over stock pads once you dial in your choice of front damping, if any (and I do encourage experimentation). Even with front damping, I think the overall sharpness, clarity, speed, and detail, top to bottom, match or exceed the HD650 for a more engaging experience. Stage also sits more in front of you, more 3D, with ZMF or HM5 angled pleather pads relative to HD650.
Anyway, sometimes long listening breaks help straighten your head. You can get a bit lost with a lot of back and forth experimentation early on. If you're in love with the HD650, try the ZMF oval protein pads on the Elear. If you are more of a Utopia or modded HD800 sort of person, try HM5 angled pleather. Front damping, if any, to your tastes. Felts, open-cell foams, fabrics, tissues...you name it.
Have you tried any other ZMF pads, or just the protein leather pads?
Just the protein ones.
Z1R is pretty good in upper mid to lower trebles details due to the enclosure of the closed back design, the complete leather pads and everything else to preserve these frequencies. However, sometime it would bring sibilants. When talking in these upper mid and lower trebles, I don't think anything can beat a proper Stax setup
I found a configuration that seems even closer to that of the HD650 than what I've found before. While you can get a good tone with certain angled pads, angled pads do have their own particular affect on the sound that may or may not be desirable (or so I've found). Seeing as I don't have every ear pad on hand to try, I can only test what's available. I recently got a Status Audio OB1, aka Somic V2, to try for shits and giggles, and I decided to try the pads from that.
Here's the config that I found works best like this:
1. Velour ear pads from Status Audio OB1/Somic V2, adhered like any other aftermarket pad. Good news is that these fit almost perfectly. Bad news is I don't know how to get them without buying the entire headphone. I'm sure you can find something on eBay that is the same if you know the exact measurements. Note that this pad has a sort of plastic/rubber underlay, and the mounting "lip" itself is relatively thin and minimal. No need to mod the pads in any way.
2. 1/8" or 1/4" open cell, light or medium density foam disk over the driver to your tastes.
3. Koss foam ear pad, like for KSC75 or PortaPro (pack of 6 available on Amazon for $7 or so) wrapped around the foam disk mentioned above. Just stick that disk in the Koss pads.
4. Snug clamp. The tighter these clamp, the smoother tone you'll get, like the HD650. One reason the HD650 sounds so smooth and cohesive, I assume, is because the driver is so close to and parallel with your ear. The headband and cup mount/sliders are pretty malleable. I think these are pretty snug out of the box, but it's worth making them clamp more if you loosened the up at all.
Optional: Very light density, ~1/8" open cell foam behind the small grill with the Focal logo on it. You'll have to pop the grill and place it underneath, but there's a filter to keep it in place. The foam I used was actually placed in front of the driver on the OB1 headphone. Similar to the foam that goes over the HD650's driver.
Very optional: Remove the Focal logo from the grill. Possibly reversible if careful. Not the prettiest thing, but theoretically reduces some non-symmetrical reflections.
@Hands thank you for your detailed descriptions of pad swaps/damping... I have been curious about the Elear since it was released and have a pair coming. Your description of the angled pleather HM5 pads appeals to me more than the ZMF proteins... The only problem being that the angled pleather HM5 pads are out of stock everywhere. Do you think the flat pleather HM5 pads would be in the same ballpark as far as sound signature (perhaps at the expense of some soundstage)?
I'm sure you can make the front ones work. Just play around with front, and possibly back (?), damping if you don't like them with just the pads. Alternatively, look for something like the HD650 pads without their plastic mounting ring. That too can work.
Got the angled HM5 hybrid pads for my Elears. Mids are back, but now everything sounds... muffled. I feel like I'm losing details in the highs somewhere. @Hands would I be able to just cut away the filter in the pads and get the highs back more, without affecting the mids? Don't want to go mucking around since I can't really un-cut them, and figured you would know.
Is there a dust filter you can cut out.
Yup. I think it's mostly superfluous, as the Elear already has one built in.
Think I may be getting used to the new sound, I'll give it until my Bifrost Multibit arrives to make a decision about that, since I'll probably need to re-evaluate once that's in my system too.
Could you provide measurements of your latest iteration of the mod, just for reference? BTW your efforts are always greatly appreciated
I can, but if I'm being honest, I will probably forget to do so.
There are two tricky things about measuring the Elear:
1. It is surprisingly sensitive to placement and seal. A lot of times, I get a spike in the treble, and sometimes not. Sometimes, it seems the headphone measures differently on a day-to-day basis.
2. I've had some pad/damping configurations measure very similarly yet sound very different.
Given these two points, measurements can show some characteristics of various pads and front damping mods, but at the end of the day, one simply has to listen and judge for themselves.
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