Geekria Grado Pad (+ Symphones V9) Review and Measurements

Discussion in 'Modifications and Tweaks' started by purr1n, Jul 25, 2020.

  1. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Associated threads for reference:
    Geekria provides several types of pads for Grado. To be specific, I am taking about these below. In terms of thickness, they are somewhere between the stock L-pad and SR60 cushions, but of larger diameter. The Geekria material is softer and more pliant than the Grado pads. In other words, more comfortable.

    https://www.amazon.com/Geekria-Replacement-Headphones-Cushion-Earpads/dp/B0155XZJ4I/

    upload_2020-7-25_13-7-43.png

    @Hands already did a lot of the heavy lifting in his Symphones V9 build review, going through 100 different pads. He zero'd in on the Geekria as being the best for this headphone, so I just went along with it. FWIW, I also agree these pads worked the best. For kicks, I also tried these pads with the Grado HF-3, and they worked quite well (more later). For now, I'd like to concentrate on the Symphones V9 build (to supplement @Hands thread). Normally, I would piggyback on the existing thread, but I wanted to bring attention on these pads as an alternative to the TTVJ pads I have been using with various Grados.

    IMG_20200725_125844.jpg

    For those who do not know, Symphones manufactures drivers which are compatible with the Grado footprint. It's for for people to make their own headphones. Cups, gimbals, and headphones can be obtained on the Internet. However, this is outside of the scope of our discussion.
    See here: https://www.symphones.com/

    By the way, I wish the manufacturer assigned a name to these pads.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2020
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  2. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Here is the Symphones V9 headphone build with the Geekria pads compared to a Grado HF-3 with stock L-cush pads*

    Symphones V9 Build w/ Geekria Pads
    Frequency Response
    upload_2020-7-25_13-31-44.png

    Symphones V9 Build Geekria and Grado HF-3
    Frequency Response (not compressed Y-axis)
    YEL = Symphones V9 Build w/ Geekria Pads
    GRY = Grado HF-3
    upload_2020-7-25_13-23-10.png

    Symphones V9 Build w/ Geekria Pads
    Distortion in Percentage
    upload_2020-7-25_13-30-18.png

    Symphones V9 Build w/ Geekria Pads
    CSD
    FPC Symphones V9 L Geek.jpg

    *Well at least Geekria's version of the Grado stock L-cush.
     
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  3. M3NTAL

    M3NTAL Friend

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    @Rhydon - anything you can share with us with your side of the operation with the new drivers and what your visions & goals are?

    I still need to "upgrade" my V7 to a V9. I'm hoping for more of the same, but with a little more of something to off-set the magic in the bottom end. It is a little over taut for me personally, but if you relax it, I assume the magic in the presentation would go away and we'd have that bassy low-fi sound.
     
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  4. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    More comparisons of Symphones V9 to Grado HF-3 (both with Geekria pad this time). Here we will be discussion the Symphones V9 to the Grado sound. Note that the Symphones driver is a more grown-up version of the Grados with smoother highs.

    I didn't normalize levels here, but this confirmed what I heard, that the Symphones are just slightly less sensitive than Grado drivers. I didn't touch the volume on the amp:

    GRN = Grado HF-3 w/ Geekria Pad
    YEL = Symphones V9 Build w/ Geekria Pad
    upload_2020-7-25_13-54-29.png

    Below is a comparison of the above, normalized to the mids, with the addition of the HF-3 with TTVJ pads. The HF-3 TTVJ pads is the darkest sound.

    GRN = Grado HF-3 w/ Geekria Pad
    YEL = Symphones V9 Build w/ Geekria Pad
    BLU = Grado HF-3 w/ TTVH Pads
    upload_2020-7-25_14-1-43.png

    With the Geekria pads, the HF-3 and Symphones V9 measure close overall. Symphones are smoother and less peaky in the highs both objectively and subjectively. The HF-3 with the TTVJ pads are darker sounding*. Subjectively, the Symphones did sounded brighter than the HF-3, and with greater extension. I actually felt the last octave was just a tiny bit elevated on the Symphones. The Symphones roll-off in the bass a little bit easily with a slight bump. Not sure if I heard this. Overall, the Symphones sounded slightly more V-shaped than the HF-3 with the same Geekria pads used on both.

    The more narrow 2kHz build on the Symphones build may be related to the deeper custom wood cup with slightly smaller opening.
    IMG_20200725_150257.jpg

    *The TTVJ pads do not sound good with the Symphones - too bassy - I didn't even bother measuring.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2020
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  5. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Finally let's compare burst responses between Symphones V9 and Grado HF-3 drivers, both using the Geekria pads.

    Attack and Decay Envelope - 10 Cycles
    ezgif-4-db1e434619cb.gif

    Let's first keep mind that HF-3 tends to be a bit less Grado already, at least in terms of the upper-mids, compared to RS-2, SR-80, etc. This lines up with what I'm hearing. The Symphones are actually mellow in terms of transient response, closer to a Sennheiser in terms of attack and evenness of attack. I felt the HF-3 was snappier with faster transients, more Grado-like in that sense.

    TBH, Symphones V9 sound is quite a departure from the Grado sound that I really wouldn't even think of it as a Grado in any way. It's really it's own driver. The sum of the little differences add up: little bit more V-shaped, little bit less snappy, little bit smoother in the highs, little bit more air, etc.
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2020
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  6. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Finally, here are the FR differences among the Geekria, "stock" L-cush (Geekria brand), and TTVJ pads on the HF-3

    Frequency Response of Grado HF-3 with different pads
    GRY = "stock" L-cush
    YEL = Geekria
    GRN = TTVJ Deluxe
    upload_2020-7-25_14-53-53.png

    Personally, I can deal with either the TTVJ or Geekria pads, but not the L-cush. The Geekria pad on the HF-3 is like the TTVJ pads but with more highs. The TTVJ is a darker sound. The stock L-cush is a bit too thin for my taste. Some things to consider: the Geekria pads are way more comfortable than the TTVJ pads and cost only one-fourth as much.

    CONCLUSIONS:
    • Symphones drivers are quite a departure from Grado drivers to even think of them as having a Grado sound. It's a more mature and refined sound. Relative to Grado drivers, the V9 is a tiny bit more V-shaped with more air.
    • The Geekria pads will elevate the thin bass of Grados. They don't sound as dark as the TTVJ pads. However, they are much more comfortable and cost much much less.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2020
  7. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

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    With my recently activated grado love (or supra aural love?), this thread and Hand's one are very motivational. I added symphones-based personal project to my bucket list.

    After only triangulating the graphs above, I thought ttvj+symphones(v9) would be the most neutral. So it's a little surprising to hear both didn't work well together. Possibly a negative synergy that is immeasurable I guess?
     
  8. Pogo

    Pogo Friend

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    Cheap enough, ordered in for my RS2e. Thanks for the heads up.
     
  9. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

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    @purr1n Maybe I didn't read close enough or got confused by the pictures, but the pads I commonly used looked more like basic flat pads with a hole cut in the middle. I think it was these:

    https://www.amazon.com/Geekria-Replacement-Headphones-Cushion-Earpads/dp/B00TGCDHL2/

    They have a more rubbery, bouncy sort of feeling to them. Too many pads...Are you talking about those or no?

    These were also pretty good, and more comfortable, but tended to benefit from a bit of additional damping over the driver:

    https://www.amazon.com/Geekria-Earpads-Replacement-GS1000i-Headphone/dp/B0839KDL1W/

    I might not have been clear enough in my original thread, and it probably didn't help that the picture I included was not my own, so not representative of what pads I liked. That, and, you know, a million pads makes things confusing.

    The cups definitely seem to cause the upper-mid emphasis and ringing, though it's hard to say how much of it is the length, the diameter of the opening, or the way it flares out. A wee bit of rear damping helps to some degree.
     
  10. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

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    My understanding below.
    (pictures all from Geekria amazon pages)

    1. what @purr1n used for this review:

    [​IMG]

    Link: https://www.amazon.com/Geekria-Replacement-Headphones-Cushion-Earpads/dp/B0155XZJ4I


    2. Two pairs of cushions @Hands liked in his review:

    [​IMG]

    Link : https://www.amazon.com/Geekria-Replacement-Headphones-Cushion-Earpads/dp/B00TGCDHL2/


    [​IMG]

    Link : https://www.amazon.com/Geekria-Earpads-Replacement-GS1000i-Headphone/dp/B0839KDL1W/


    I placed an order for all of them to test for myself and my Grado pair. Will report back later.
     
  11. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Correct. The link I provided was wrong. This has been fixed.

    Oops. No wonder they measure and sounded a little V-shaped (more bright than mid-bassy). I just found the pads that you liked - the ones that kind of looked like the SR80 style basic flat pads, but with cutout. I blame this mess on Geekria for not naming their products and calling everything "Geekria Earpad"

    These are the ones @Hands is talking about:
    IMG_20200725_201548.jpg

    P.S. Highs are good, but ugh... sum ting wong with bass with these pads. I think it's the Symphones drivers in combination with the pads. They are a bit more peaky in the bass.

    P.S.S. I think I may try the earlier pads and line with a thin layer of TP or cloth to tone down the highs.

    Will be back...
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2020
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  12. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    OK, there are the Geekria flat (@Hands preferred) vs Geekria "wide" (covered in the first post of this thread)

    Frequency Response of Symphones V9 built with different pads
    BLU = Geekria "wide" pads (covered in the first post of this thread)
    YEL = Geekria flat pads (@Hands preferred)
    upload_2020-7-25_20-45-38.png

    The highs look right, as they sounded right. Subjectively I heard more bass than was measured about. I know why. The Symphones V9 drivers are super duper sensitive to any kind of resistance in air pressure. I did a third measurement kicks, using the Geekria "wide" pads (described first post of this thread), but this time using a piece of mask material (one layer) to hopefully tone down the highs. This is what I got:

    Frequency Response of Symphones V9 built with different pads
    BLU = Geekria "wide" pads (covered in the first post of this thread)
    GRN = Geekria "wide" pads with mask material over driver
    YEL = Geekria flat pads (@Hands preferred)
    upload_2020-7-25_20-49-9.png

    With just a light later of mask material wrapped over the front of the Symphones V9 driver, I ended up with this! The highest octave gets cut a a tiny bit, but the bass gets pushed down a ton! I didn't believe it so I retested everything, re set the pads, the materials, and got the same results.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2020
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  13. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Impedance plots below. Maybe this may provide some insight.

    Symphones V9 built, Geekria flats
    YEL = open air
    GRN = on ear / head
    upload_2020-7-25_21-1-49.png

    Symphones V9 built, Geekria wides
    YEL = open air
    GRN = on ear / head
    upload_2020-7-25_21-5-11.png

    Symphones V9 built, Geekria wides + mask material covering driver
    YEL = open air
    GRN = on ear / head
    upload_2020-7-25_21-9-24.png
     
  14. Philimon

    Philimon Friend

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    Another demonstration of effects of air resistance on v9 comparing L-cush vs L-cush w/tape mod, from @Hands:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    The drop in the 2kHz peak hypothesized by Tyll:

    “In the graph above, we can see that the taped pads (red) have about 5dB less energy than the stock bowls (blue) between 1.5kHz and 3kHz. This is exactly the region that troubles me. You'll also see a slight increase in bass response, and between the settling of the 2kHz stuff and the rise in bass you end up with a little less dished mid-range (though now tilted somewhat).

    I'm gonna take a wild guess here and provide an hypothesis: When a transient is pumped into the chamber between the driver and ear, pressure radiates radially out towards the edge of the ear-pad. The boundary at the edge of the ear-pad provides the opportunity for an acoustic reflection, and therefor the opportunity for a resonant mode to develop. Because the pads are perfectly circular, the Q (quality of the resonator) could be high. The resonant mode is at 2130kHz; it's half wavelength (the first resonant mode) at my altitude and temperature is 3.086 inches. Guess what the pad diameter is? Yup, 3 inches.

    More guessing: The Scotch tape is making the diameter of the edge of the foam pad stiff and supporting the foam inside. This improves the Q of the resonator by making its edge more reflective, which yields the narrowing of the spike at 2kHz. But with the tape's more rigid support, the foam might offer just a bit more resistance to the air passing, which lowers the level in the region surrounding 2kHz.”
     
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  15. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Yes, it appears that the Symphones V9 is super sensitive to anything that may imped the airflow. Its probably that with the Geekria flat pads they sat on @Hands ears and my coupler better, with a snugger fit, than on my ears, hence why I thought they were too bassy than what the measurements and @Hands impressions suggested.
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2020
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  16. oh_okay

    oh_okay Rando

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    Those Symphones divers are interesting.
    Have folks here on SBAF replaced their Grado drivers with Symphones?
    Please link to respective discussion.
     
  17. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    From what I know, only this with a earlier Symphones V4 or V6 driver (not sure / can't remember):
    https://www.changstar.com/www.changstar.com/index.php/topic,1318.0.html
    This was a drop-in replacement that yielded similar tonal balance as the original driver.

    The Symphones V9 would not be a drop in for Grado headphones. Some tweaks, pads, etc. would be required to get the same kind of sound. There is likely way more stuff on HF.
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2020
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  18. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

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    Geekria pads on Hemp posted in the Hemp thread. Starting from this post: https://www.superbestaudiofriends.o...views-and-impressions.9627/page-2#post-311377

    Shortly, my favorite Geekria pads are flat ones (with center holes) as they are close to f-cushions adding mild V-effect -- very synergistic with Hemp drivers/chambers. Donut(-ish?) ones are also good but stiffer V may or may not work depending on recordings.
     
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