HD800 DTP mod - Quick, easy, but rewarding

Discussion in 'Modifications and Tweaks' started by Vtory, Feb 14, 2019.

  1. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

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    DTP = Dekoni velour pads + 2 sheets of Toilet Paper

    After getting E2 and experiencing recent ZMF loaners (aeolus & auteur), I nearly lost my love toward hd800. While my 800 (very recent production; sn later than 48000) doesn't have specific frequency issues, the "entire" treble tonality doesn't work for me, either. Before completely giving them up (eqing lose too much to my ears), I decided to give them a last chance.

    Admittedly, there are a bunch of known mods (sdr, sbaf, vader) for hd800. I can't (and won't) say that my mod is superior. But this mod specifically serves to my needs -- quick and easy. Literally, the most difficult part is to detach stock pads. lol

    How to mod
    1. Remove (stock) pads and dust covers
    2. Place two sheets of toilet papers nicely
    3. Put dust covers in again, and attach dekoni pads
    4. Done!
    Dekoni velour was chosen mostly because of my material texture preference (and costs haha). Speculating fenestrated sheepskin or hybrid do the similar job.. but didn't test.

    Finding the right toilet papers may be trickier than said. Honestly, I was surprised that different tps caused different sonic changes. Some changes were measurable but others were only caught by ears. Of course how many sheets to put is also an important consideration. 2 just worked for me best. I settled into the combination of the following two products:


    Now, let me share measurements taken during the modding process. Minidsp EARS with sbaf-compensation. All the measurements were taken with [email protected] calibrations.

    upload_2019-2-14_18-0-55.png

    upload_2019-2-14_18-1-31.png

    As shown in the graph, 3-9 khz region is successfully toned down. Bass seems a bit lost in quantity. However, DTP also took out mid-bass hump that the stock inherently had (not as severely as hd650 though). Sub-bass sounds much deeper than the graph suggests. Maybe a bit too over-damped. But I prefer modded bass to stock bass any day. Much cleaner and more articulate -- willing to lose a few decibels!

    upload_2019-2-14_18-11-52.png

    This graph shows the greatness of toilet papers. Without them, 6k peak is more evident, both measurably and to my ears. Funny thing is that there is only slight difference between with and without dust covers, which largely differ from what I heard. Without dust covers, sounds very strange.. nearly unlistenable.

    upload_2019-2-14_18-16-10.png

    Honestly to my ears, DTP-modded hd800 sounds much closer to aeolus than to stock 800. I can't say both sound similar but they share some similarly tasteful coloration.


    Then let's take a look at how DTP mods behave in the time domain.

    upload_2019-2-14_18-20-33.png
    upload_2019-2-14_18-21-52.png
    (Note: these are not impulse responses but step responses. Likely bugs in the current version of rew. Also ignore some ringings of stock after 6ms)

    Here are (1/12 oct wavelet) spectrograms to compare DTP and stock

    upload_2019-2-14_18-25-10.png
    upload_2019-2-14_18-25-16.png

    upload_2019-2-14_18-25-32.png
    upload_2019-2-14_18-25-46.png

    More subjective impressions to come later.


    [​IMG]

    By the way, dekoni 800 pads are really big. Visually very satisfying..
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2019
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  2. Ash1412

    Ash1412 Friend

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    @Maxx134, as weird as the guy is, was also testing Dekoni HD800 pads and said they had great effect. Its good that somebody else went and validated that too, though I'd love it if you could try to see if Dekoni+SDR would be enough to make HD800's actual treble quality show itself instead of damping it.
     
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  3. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

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    I remember @Bill-P also used dekoni in his final mods: https://www.superbestaudiofriends.o...od-thread-final-version.27/page-9#post-193831

    It's worth noting that I used velour, bill uesd sheepskin, and maxx used fenestrated ones.

    Regarding your idea of dekoni+sdr, I am a bit skeptical -- that combination may solve "some" problems introducing "another" issues -- inferring from my experience of hd800S with dekoni fenestrated last year. The sound impression, in short,was I returned the pads at the same day I received. It seemed to need much more effort additionally to get things right.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2019
  4. Biodegraded

    Biodegraded Friend

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    In your second graph, it looks like the mod also imparts a small downward slope through the midrange. I suspect this is the paper rather than the pad, as I noticed the same thing when adding papers to the K702 (second graph shows the effect, and the differences between 1 ply of thick TP and 1 of Kleenex).

    Different papers certainly filter more or less. Which is worth consideration when buying them for their intended purpose...
     
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  5. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

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    That's a wonderful experiment. Great read. Thickness, density, and texture of tps seem to affect sonic filtering and possibly damping. I am also wondering about the effects of thicker and denser material such as tuning pads used in mrs aeons.
     
  6. Ti_Leo

    Ti_Leo Rando

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    Yes the texture of TPs can be important.

    I tried a few kinds of paper on my TH-X00 PH as I felt the treble could be a bit too hot, and I found that it's like the softer the paper was, the milder and smoother the sound would be. I deliberately used some stiff tissue and found the sound become really sharp and plasticky. Now I'm sticking with 2 layers of... I don't know the name... "Static electricity paper"? Anyway it's some soft kind of paper that uses static electricity to stick dirt on it, it made the sound smoother and a little sweeter, and I achieved similar result using this paper on Aeon comparing to the black foam pads.

    But maybe I was just too subjective, as I don't have any proper matching tools. But I tried to stick my mobile to the driver playing white noise and use screenshot to compare the "FR", I found stiffer paper would create sharper changes to the sound.
     
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  7. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

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    Interesting. @Ti_Leo : so is the magic electricity paper different from white pad provided with aeon?

    Here are some of my -- not scientific though -- speculations regarding tp (or front damping in general) fwiw
    • Any kind of paper, cotton, or even stiffer material help to tame treble.. but,
    • The effects (as parameterized with center freq, q, time-related ones, ...) vary not only across different material, but also across sounding structures
    • Headphone openness, dimensions of internal space, and pad materials majorly interact with tps to various extent -- likely because of different internal reflections occurring around ears (need more verification)
    • ^ makes nearly every modding approach headphone-dependent (as opposed to headphone-invariant)
    • Some changes are easier to measure (than to hear). Some easier to hear though.
    • Amazon's order history really helps when figuring out the brand and tp product names. lol
     
  8. Jerry

    Jerry Friend

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    I notice your mod has triple dampening:
    1. Stock dust cover
    2. 2 sheets of TP
    3. Dekoni pads' own cover

    How does that effect the soundstage and imaging? Not suprised it sounds closer to Aelous as I find the Aelous quite warm and closed in, compared to Aeteur & Verite.

    I have been using Dekoni's fenestrated, but I take out the stock dust cover as I find it negates some of HD800's strengths (soundstage & air) though it has positive impact on tonality.

    To fix the HD800, i rely on:
    1. SDR mod
    2. Loki (8khz down by 1.5db & 20hz up by 5db)
    3. Dekoni fenestrated
    4. Tube amp

    How do you like the Aelous/Auteur/Ether 2 vs the HD800 DTP? I personally find it very hard to find a better can than a "fixed" HD800. Both tonality & technicality.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2019
  9. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

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    I may prefer auteur and ether 2 to hd800 even with any mods, at least regarding tonality. Auteur is extremely close to what I perceive neutral and ether 2 just coincide my tonality preference almost perfectly. Saying this first to clarify my reference point.

    While dekoni argues not to use their pads with the stock dust cover, my experience couldn't confirm it. Tested fenestrated pads with both 800 and 800s -- dust covers removed -- but those sound very annoying to me. Somewhat nasty, muffled and wrong around high treble and top octaves. This feeling was also present when I tested velour without the dust cover this time around.

    Regarding headstage and imaging, I believe DTP's increased damping resulted in a certain tradeoff. Less wide stages but tighter and more pin-pointed images. (Perceived) listening position moves a tad backward, too. Some may hate, but I like these changes -- great synergy with my dac.

    DTP's strength against my other headphones (including zmf loaners) is the bass. Slightly leaner and thiner than stock for sure (therefore "much" so than ether 2 or two zmfs).. but very articulate and tight. Stock was already very good in this respect. But I prefer DTP bass because of removed (mild) mid-bass hump of the stock.

    Also, I didn't like mids of stock hd800 (and s) at all. Recessed mids combined with lifted trebles exaggerate problems. Even after DTP this issue isn't completely solved. But way more acceptable than before.

    One remarkable downside of DTP is drier presentation, particularly for mids and high-mids. Perceptional decay is shorter than what I consider natural. It reminded me of monitors placed in too absorbing room (multiple huge bass traps, lots of acoustic absorbers on walls, ...). Not very problematic for my case because I can always switch between ether 2 and 800dtp back and forth.

    While this is obviously an oversimplification, but if I quantify required/obtained tonality and technicality as one dimensional scale (say, 0 to 10 with 10 being the best and 5 being "barely usable"),
    • My requirements (for keepers): tonality=8 , (combined) technicality=8
    • hd800 stock (sub-optimally amped): tonality=4, technicality=7
    • hd800 stock (with bw2): tonality=6.5, technicality=8
    • hd800 stock digital-eqed (bw2): tonality=8.5, technicality=7
    • hd800 dekoni only w dust cover (bw2): tonality=6.5-7.0, technicality=7.5-8
    • hd800 dtp (bw2): tonality=8, technicality=8-8.5
    • hd600 stock (bw2): tonality=8, technicality=7.5-8
    • hd600 dekoni fenestrated (bw2): tonality=8.5, technicality=7.5-8
    • zmf auteur eikon-pads (bw2): tonality=9.5, technicality=8
    • zmf aeolus universal-pads (bw2): tonality=8.5. technicality=8-8.5
    • ether 2 (bw2 -- likely still a bit sub-optimal amping): tonality=9.5-10, technicality=8.5
    • susvara (amped by allnic): tonality=8-8.5, technicality=9-9.5
    (boldened: keeping requirements passed)
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2019
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  10. Jerry

    Jerry Friend

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    Agree. Luckily the recessed mid is not that steep, like Audeze. Makes it easier to apply the Loki 2khz without too much exaggerating the 1khz area.

    I will give the TP a try. It does make sense since 2 pieces are still pretty thin.

    I wish there is a way to apply dynamat to the HD800. I find dynamat most effective for bass. It does wonders to my HD650 (and to a slightly lesser effect, the HD600). HD650 sounds tighter in the bass (from a 7 to an 8). The HD800 has a much better bass quality than HD600/650, makes me wonder how dynamat can further improve it.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2019
  11. Thenewerguy009

    Thenewerguy009 Friend

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    I didn't need to see a graph to know that.
     
  12. Ti_Leo

    Ti_Leo Rando

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    Yes, it's different, and I finally find a link of the electrostatic paper:
    https://www.amazon.com/ZaH-100pcs-Cleaning-Electrostatic-Disposable/dp/B01H8MZ1H4
    But the paper in this link looks expensive to me as I bought my pack for $2. (But I'm in China where things are cheap)

    Aeon's white pads feels like compressed material to me, as it's hard and even have sharp edges, and I didn't like it when I tried those TPs, but I imagine the damping effect could similar to 3 layers of paper or 4 (the black pads were like 1.5 layers IIRC)? Yes, 3 layers of paper sounds overdamped to me on paper, but it's all about personal taste.
     
  13. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

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    The more comfortable Scott toilet paper variant (still not very comfortable) is good for headphone damping. And it’s good for septic systems or shitty sewer lines that are prone to clog!
     
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  14. Maxx134

    Maxx134 no one will touch his boy parts without $$$

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    The Dekoni pads are all the best choices for the hd800.
    My preference was the ferenstrated, as i agreed with the company that they are the best pads (sonically).

    There is only one design aspect that the company chose to leave out.
    It affects the bass seal.
    So all Dekoni pads loose some bass, but also dampen upper range to offset this perception.
    As you know, we need every little bit of bass impact we can get.

    Take off, and take a look at your stock pads, and notice the thin plastic membrane.
    It is separate and layered onto the bottom of the pad.
    All original and fake stock version pads have this.
    It is specifically to preserve the bass seal.

    The issue is that this membrane is hard to cut or make, and it holds its shape.
    easiest way is to either cut out of original pads, effectively destroying them...
    OR..
    Buy a cheapo fake stock replacement to destroy for the "membrane".
    You can also try your luck with somethimg else, but it will be difficult to remove the Dekoni pads if you try anything thicker...

    Anyways, apply this "membrane" in the dekoni pads, effectively in between the pads and the headphone and you will regain a noticable bass gain.
    This plastic membrane was how Senheiser was able to preserve the bass from leaking out its stock foam pads.
    It is only used for this specific purpose.

    Why no one else knows this, is why you have to look at this headphone from a reverse-engineering perspective.
    I have researched and found there is more untapped potential in this headphone than has been accomplished so far.
    Sennheiser does not need to remake the whole thing to improve on it.

    Oh, and I forgot to mention instead of decomposimg toilet paper, to instead try thin felt sheets...
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2019
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  15. Thenewerguy009

    Thenewerguy009 Friend

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    Interesting, I always thought that plastic membrane was there to just keep the earpads sealed tight into the frame.
     
  16. Ash1412

    Ash1412 Friend

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    That makes a lot of sense to me. Its kinda like the MrSpeakers pads, which get a lot of flack for using adhesive, but I've always suspected it was for preventing the leak from tab-based designs like Senn and Focal. Now they've just patented a new attachment method that kinda resembles a suction cup, also using a flexible plastic/rubber membrane of sorts.

    It's quite ingenious really. The HD800 uses a LOT of baffling to get bass out of that tweeter driver. But I suspect that reducing the amount of baffling/bass is involved in reducing the 6khz ringing, since @purr1n has mentioned that removing the metal mesh also made the ringing disappear along with losing all the bass.

    I personally would take thinness/brightness over the ringing since from subjective impressions at meetings, the HD800 driver is not really "bright" in the ringing sense of the word but is really smooth, just without body. I acclimated to it almost immediately unlike the 6khz ringing or the Focals' metal timbres (different but both fatiguing quickly).

    Now the question is how to get both? A higher quality more rigid metal baffle with higher ringing frequency makes sense to me (carbon fibers in a crosshatch pattern?) but Sennheiser has said they've had the most consistency with the steel so who knows. You can also go the zmf route with a traditional wooden baffle that has good sounding resonance I guess.
     
  17. Maxx134

    Maxx134 no one will touch his boy parts without $$$

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    Mr.Speakers is a true genius when it comes to headphone hardware design & materials choice.
    Unfortunately the signature he choses is not neutral but leans more thicker.


    The cup being wood is enough. The baffle should have been something else, as their latest model does not look good when you remove the pads.
    The sound of the Véritée departs from the traditional tunning which made him popular.
     
  18. gixxerwimp

    gixxerwimp Professional tricycle rider

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    These "floor sweeping sheets" are common in Taiwan. I didn't realize they were electrostatic. I never thought to try them for modding. Great idea! This is what they look like in their original application.

    [​IMG]

    Edit: One drawback might be that they attract dust electrostatically ... :rolleyes:
     
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  19. Ti_Leo

    Ti_Leo Rando

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    Yes! That's what I'm talking about! (Feels strange to see Chinese here...) What is it called in China? "Duster cloth for lazy people?" But people here tried to put these paper on some air filters to improve the filter's performance... Wait... so some air filters use "HEPA paper", which looks similar to surgery mask but thicker? I might going to try that.

    And about the dust, I put electrostatic paper on my TH-X00 for a long time, and I think it's still clean-ish? It's OK, just fold the paper 2 times and then cut the shape of your headphones, and you'll get 4 pieces, replacement~
     

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