LTA Headphones Project thread - Freely accessible modular headphone platforms

Discussion in 'Headphones' started by Tomislav_L, Dec 3, 2020.

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If you're interested in this project, how would you most likely make use of it?

  1. I'd like to build my headphones from scratch, by manufacturing and sourcing all parts on my own.

    5 vote(s)
    7.7%
  2. I'd like to modify the current designs and then manufacture the modified parts on my own.

    8 vote(s)
    12.3%
  3. I'd like to build my headphones using a DIY kit that only contains passive 3D printed or CNC parts.

    10 vote(s)
    15.4%
  4. I'd like to build my headphones out of a DIY kit that already contains all required parts.

    46 vote(s)
    70.8%
  5. I'd like to have headphones custom-built for me.

    23 vote(s)
    35.4%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Tomislav_L

    Tomislav_L Facebook Friend

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    That's weird and also worrying, since I've ordered a couple of pairs and waiting for a delivery too. Previous samples I ordered came in little molded clear plastic shells, packed by a pair. I'm sure digikey will replace them, since they're generally very reliable. This sounds like a one-off incident of someone packing something the way it shouldn't be packed, maybe repackaged items that have been returned by someone previously, since these drivers should never even come out of their molded plastic shells between the manufacturer and end buyer, at least I don't see a reason why someone would take them out.
     
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  2. 7seven

    7seven Rando

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    Nice tip @spoony , it works a lot better than I was expecting
     
  3. 7seven

    7seven Rando

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    yeah, I expect they'll offer replacements. Mouser at least have very good customer service, one time just refunding me and letting me keep some parts that I wanted return.
     
  4. spoony

    spoony Spooky

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    Yo @Tomislav_L, I haven't been able to download the CAD files, ever. It shows an 'access denied' error.
     
  5. Tomislav_L

    Tomislav_L Facebook Friend

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    I just tested it from 3 browsers and my phone and it works fine on all of them. Are you typing in the password or at least the password section pops up? It has to be something on your end blocking it, maybe some antivirus, vpn, firewall, some browser addon...?
     
  6. spoony

    spoony Spooky

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    upload_2021-1-23_17-24-29.png

    No vpn or the like. Tried multiple browsers, computers, home and cell networks, same result.

    Edit: It has to do with Clouflare settings, if you didn't set them yourself, perhaps try alternative storage.
     
  7. Themilkman

    Themilkman Rando

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    Just want to say this seems pretty damn impressive, really good work dude, awesome. I hope after some home renovations I can find someone with a printer because this seems very cool.
     
  8. 7seven

    7seven Rando

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    Something I was wondering re the driver and frame damping,
    Have the effects outside of FR been measured e.g THD, CSD?
     
  9. 7seven

    7seven Rando

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    Sharing some relatively short impressions of my LTA V2

    This particular set were adapted to use a Hifiman headband and have some other trivial adjustments that Tomislav, who was really nice and helpful in general, kindly helped with. Also they are missing the outer cup shells and some other non-critical parts for a various reasons...
    They were printed with carbon fibre reinforced plastic.
    good examples of the kind of freedom this project allows.

    Although cosmetics weren't a concern for me I think the industrial/skeletal look of the bare baffles is really cool, :
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]



    For tuning:
    From front to back on the filter frame- 4 medium mesh pieces then 8 high mesh pieces.
    Medium mesh on rear driver port.
    Nothing in front of the driver.
    Velour pads from aliexpress.
    And of course no rear cups at all (not sure how much it effects the sound).


    Current HPs: HD650 slightly modded, HD800 modded
    Previous HPs: DT990, HD600, HE400i, HE560, AD2000X, Beyer T1.1

    I am extremely impressed with these headphones, the hope was to get something new+fresh that can hold up against the HD650 without spending much but as far as I'm concerned they completely outclass the HD650 and the HD800.

    I think what stands out the most is how clean and smooth they sound from top to bottom, but most notably in the treble.
    When doing quick back and forth comparisons it's hard to ignore how much less refined the Senns sound in comparison.

    The signature is peculiar to me, they are definitely a bright headphone i.e treble emphasis, but there is also a lot of what I would call 'warmth' to the sound, which I guess stems from the smoothness... 'soft/gentle' would be less contradictory than 'warmth', but that would also be inaccurate.. since they are very engaging.

    Excellent macro-dynamics. very good micro-dynamics. An impressively wide but flat presentation, 650/800 holography seems a little better because of this.

    Mega plankton, particularly in the upper end.
    Senns edge it out a bit in mid-bass/lower-mids plankton I think but the V2 is still cleaner in this area too. And as you probably guessed It extends down more with better sub-bass presence too.

    I feel like it's hard to pin down the real weaknesses of this headphone, particularly those related to the lower end, and not what's upstream when it's pulling over 10 times more power compared to the senns (sensitivity is a bit lower then them). The fact it already performs the way it does with sub-par amplification is one of the most surprising things... or maybe it isn't too 'picky' and won't scale that much?
    I always believed Senns or any good headphone ''scaled'' because they are very resolving/revealing, not that they are hard to drive...

    On a final, side note it would be cool to try out a bio-cell driver in the V2 chassis eventually. There are a lot of THX00/D-X000 looking drivers floating around on aliexpress, not sure if they factory rejects or what but at 52mm they would need a new custom driver holder to work.
    There is another gold, fostex-like driver on there which is actually 50mm, it also comes in 24,32,64 and 300 ohm versions. With those high impedance versions I have no idea what this driver could be from.. maybe something related to ZMF?

    p.s it occurred to me when handling them for photos that it could be intended that you use a loose screw to hold the yokes inside the yoke attachment piece so they cant pop out?
     
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    Last edited: Mar 12, 2021
  10. Philimon

    Philimon Friend

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    @Tomislav_L Loaner tour please?

    @7seven The v1 with Grado style pads looked most appealing, and I think preferred by Tomislav_L. Is it possible to accomodate Grado style pads with v2 even though not ideal.
     
  11. 7seven

    7seven Rando

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    Better to ask Tomislav, I never owned grados but arent the pads sort of smaller on-ear types? These use 50mm Beyerdynamic style pads.
     
  12. 2chinzz

    2chinzz Rando

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    @7seven, what driver angle did you end up choosing for the baffle?
     
  13. 7seven

    7seven Rando

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    I'm using one of the 'alternative' baffles that is designed for the 50mm tymphany drivers, this is the one included in the downloadable cad files and seems to come only in one fixed angle. It has a removable driver holder so different angles are probably possible, they'd just have to be designed first.

    Actually I didnt realise till now that this HP might be considered an alternative version of the V2, with the standard version being the one that uses the P1 driver.
     
  14. Tomislav_L

    Tomislav_L Facebook Friend

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    I'm hoping to get a loaner pair of headphones built in the very near future now that the V2 model has been finalized, been busy finishing up the builds for a couple of clients in the last few weeks, while simultaneously working on redesigning and tuning the V3 model, which involves quite a lot of expensive prototype parts to be made on a weekly basis and is where a lot of my funds are going, currently making it more difficult to build extra pairs of headphones for loan purposes, but we'll get there eventually, hopefully sooner than later.

    I'll post a few photos of the V2's in the following days showing the final production builds featuring CNC machined parts and a few refinements and new details that weren't present on the prototypes shown so far.

    The V1 model is entirely separate to the V2, so the pads are not cross-compatible.
     
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    Last edited: Mar 13, 2021
  15. Tomislav_L

    Tomislav_L Facebook Friend

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    Yep, the V2 development project started off with the Elleven Acoustica P1 drivers, but later on I switched to the Peerless one which I now consider to be the standard driver. It's still possible to install the P1 drivers into the standard V2 of course, they just require slightly different driver holder parts, the rest of the headphone stays the same, so it's a relatively affordable upgrade path as far as passive headphone parts go, obviously the P1 drivers themselves are quite a bit more expensive than the Peerless ones.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2021
  16. Tomislav_L

    Tomislav_L Facebook Friend

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    As for the angle of the driver, the standard baffle of the V2 is currently set at 5 degrees, although I will release 7.5deg and 10 deg options in the future. It's not a massive difference between them mind you, we're talking very subtle changes in presentation. The V3 model once it comes out will have a more extreme driver angle at 18 degrees, with a larger forward offset.
     
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  17. 7seven

    7seven Rando

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    I have to mention that I had added a 40 ohm resistor to the output of my amp a while ago to add a bit warmth and tubey-ness when paired with Senns and completely forgot about it, this is why the sensitivity seemed so low with V2 , which I was confused about because the Borealis using the same driver was described as being quite sensitive.

    Anyway to my surprise impressions are largely the same without the resistor, except mid-bass/lower mid area is now a bit more tight and defined but that overall 'warmth' is toned down and sound is a bit dryer.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2021
  18. 7seven

    7seven Rando

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    I'm going to see if some of the congestion/thickness/stiffness in the midbass/lower-mid area of the V2 can be alleviated by adjusting the tuning.
    I could just experiment blindly but the tuning mesh is limited and requires super-gluing so I'd rather try to get some direction for the best chances of nailing it the first time.

    Increasing the rear port damping or decreasing baffle damping both reduce bass in different ways on the V2 (very similar to the HD650) but I am assuming these are not purely FR changes.
    You lose sensitivity so maybe you gain improved transient response or something?
    Or it is really just a way to control FR with virtually no other effects?

    The bass quantity is a tad much for me right now so I'm hoping this can end up as a win-win.

    edit: I removed rear port mesh and used double sided tape instead to compare different ones more easily... I couldn't actually say if either high or lower transparency mesh 'improves transient response', both ways could be considered an improvement depending how you look at it, the effects are just too complex and subjective to predict or theorise about the sound.

    Anyway, messing with the ports didnt do much to effect the mid area, that much could have been predicted from the FR graphs ... on to the baffles next.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2021
  19. 7seven

    7seven Rando

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    Final post and I'll stop cluttering the thread.

    The mids were actually improved by using a lower transparency (light) mesh on the rear driver port in the end. Naturally there is lift in the low bass, an overwhelming amount of bass to me now, but for some reason this helped to really open up the overall sound, mid clarity went way up, flatness/2-dimensionality no longer stands out. The sound is more diffuse , treble lost a bit of its laser precision but I feel this is beneficial for more natural tone/timbre, though technically impressive acoustic strings and trebly percussion felt artificially articulate before. Funnily no mesh at all on the port (a la Borealis) sounded worst to me, way too diffuse and loose sounding with dt990-esque bass wooliness.

    The trouble now is that the only way of reducing the low bass is potentially by means of the baffle filters. This will bring down the mids too, which are pretty much perfect, it's not worth losing mid body just for the sake of some bass EQ... that and if the tuning of the low bass alone can have an effects on entire frequency range how much of an effect will the retuning of both the mids and bass have...

    But anyway, holy shit are these headphones good, I'm very curious how these will be ranked against some of the top performers (Utopia, etc.) once a loaner gets going..
     
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    Last edited: Mar 17, 2021
  20. Tomislav_L

    Tomislav_L Facebook Friend

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    Reducing the bass from the point you're at now can be done by simply using more transparent mesh on the baffles. Don't worry about the mids, it's the low end primarily that gets affected. Just try to use less transparent mesh on 1 or 2 ports on the baffles, and work your way to the point where you feel like you're getting the right amount of bass. The rear driver port is not intended to control the amount of bass, instead the mesh of the baffles does that, which is why by default the filter frames on the headphone are removable and replaceable, since it's the filters that have the greatest effect on the sound balance. The rear driver port damping is more beneficial for tuning the "character" of the low end, the more open it is the more "loose" the bass is, with more of a " mid bass hump" in the response, whereas using less open mesh on the rear driver port makes the bass "tighter", with less of a hump, with more of a flat FR in the bass area, or in other words, there's less of a difference between levels of sub, mid and upper bass the more damping you use, if you'd like to break it down like that. Of course, you shouldn't go over the top with the damping. However, in order to play with the total volume of bass, you still have to use the filters on the baffle itself, and find the right combination of them to find the right amount of bass.

    Also, note that since you're using just the baffle, without the rest of the cup attached to it, you're still not getting the full perceived "tightness" in the bass, as that's additionally improved once you attach the rest of the pieces to the baffle, since you're making the whole system more rigid in that case and you're coupling additional mass to it. The rear cup and grill are more than transparent enough to not reflect anything back, and to not choke the level of air available to the driver, but the added rigidity due to all the additional bracing to the baffle provided by the cup is beneficial, not just to the bass, but I feel the overall clarity goes up, again, a similar subtle step up as when I was improving the rigidity of the baffle itself via different design elements and with more rigid materials. I spent some time comparing the baffles on their own to baffles with cups attached, and always preferred the whole system with cups attached, hence the fact I stuck with the design.
     
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    Last edited: Mar 18, 2021

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