TH500RP Modding (WIP)

Discussion in 'Modifications and Tweaks' started by Hands, Nov 4, 2015.

  1. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

    Staff Member Friend MZR
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    12,026
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Colorado
    Home Page:
    Until getting my hands on a TH500RP at RMAF this year, I never thought much of the headphone. Sure, they looked nice, but impressions and the one set of measurements I saw seemed lackluster. Not to mention the price was too high. I don't know what it was, but something intrigued me about the pair I heard at RMAF. I really liked the style and fit in person, and that particular pair reminded me of the HE400S somewhat (key word "somewhat"). That was a bad thing, because it got what little cogs I have in my head turning. Sure, the T50RP driver has been modded to hell and back by everyone and their mother, but maybe, just maybe, the driver combined with the TH500RP enclosure would make for a good mod platform. I hate the stock T50RP enclosure and was curious what I could do with the TH500RP enclosure.

    And then I found a used pair for quite cheap. Oops.

    It could just be show conditions, but the pair I received seems to sound a little thinner, a little rougher, and a little brighter than the one at RMAF. Maybe. No matter. It won't stay stock for long.

    Stock, these are sort of a mixed bag. They are definitely lacking in bass, yet still have a bit of midrange warmth to them. Midrange seems pretty decent. They are a bit papery and thin sounding up top, but not in a particularly offensive or painful way.

    Measurements suggest these have potential just looking at distortion. Surprisingly low for this driver, in my experience, and I even had them running a bit louder than usual. I wonder if these drivers have been refined, cherry picked, or if it all comes down to the enclosure.

    TH500RP L.png

    Part of the problem is that these are too open. I imagine making them mostly closed, on the back side and on the front baffle, will bring out some bass. But I would like to keep some of the semi-open nature if possible. Initial tests closing the back of the cups with my big ol' hands already seem promising. These are also begging to have some damping thrown in the cups. The stock pad and attachment assembly should be good to work from. The pads aren't as thin as the T50RP MK3 pads, though not as thick as the alpha pads or similar. They are slightly angled. I think this will strike a nice balance when it comes to tuning these.

    I have some particular ideas in mind, but right now, I'm just waiting on materials to arrive so I can get to work.

    More to come in the next couple weeks!
     
    • Like / Agree Like / Agree x 5
    • List
  2. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

    Staff Member Friend MZR
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    12,026
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Colorado
    Home Page:
    Reserved
     
  3. OJneg

    OJneg The Most Insufferable

    Friend BWC
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2015
    Likes Received:
    3,882
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Denver
    Always picking the hard ones Hans...
     
    • Like / Agree Like / Agree x 1
    • List
  4. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

    Staff Member Friend MZR
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    12,026
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Colorado
    Home Page:
    Reserved - Dammit, OJ! Just had to throw that reply in there before I got my last "reserved" in. :p

    That's exactly what I was thinking when I posted this. I'm just looking to torture myself, it seems.
     
  5. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

    Staff Member Friend MZR
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    12,026
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Colorado
    Home Page:
    Here's a teaser for my current "prototype" mod. I say prototype because the sound is more or less where I want it, but currently there's a lot of scotch tape on the exterior, side part of the cups to get a seal for bass. In other words, just some polishing up to do. I was running into some walls until I happened to try something new today, and it was a game changer, so to speak. Anyway, quick measurements for now, and will update the reserved posts above with full mod details when ready.

    I figured it would be interesting to target something other than what I usually go for, the HD650's tone. Maybe something a little bit bassier, maybe a little more laid-back. I already have my modded PM-2 which is pretty close to the HD650's tone (with the benefit of having pads you can swap for your tastes). I should also say the mod does make them more of a semi-open/semi-closed headphone than open like they were stock, but probably one of the most open enclosures for a modded T50RP/TH500RP.

    Easiest way to compare images in to open them all in separate tabs and switch back and forth as needed.

    Stock:

    TH500RP Left.PNG

    "Prototype" Mod:

    TH500RP Mod Prototype.PNG

    When I stumbled on a part of the mod that really changed things for the better, I looked at the measurements and noticed something familiar. Not exact by any means, and keeping scale in mind (i.e. differences are bigger than they look with these measurements), but the curve reminded me of the Slant. Wasn't an intentional target, but interesting regardless:

    Slant Left.PNG

    Note: Had to resize a couple images so they could be directly compared, hence some resize artifacts in the TH500RP stock and Slant measurement pic.
     
    • Like / Agree Like / Agree x 5
    • List
  6. spoony

    spoony Spooky

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2015
    Likes Received:
    497
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Nice going, hands.
     
  7. hifi01170

    hifi01170 Acquaintance

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2015
    Likes Received:
    59
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Great going man!
    please walk us through your findings.
     
  8. Bill-P

    Bill-P Level 42 Mad Wizard

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2015
    Likes Received:
    4,240
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    Damn, Hands. Now you're making me curious.

    Good work, man!
     
  9. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

    Staff Member Friend MZR
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    12,026
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Colorado
    Home Page:
    I'll have full details up once I finalize the mod, but long story short, it came down to putting a couple sheets of felt over the back of the cups, using Bonded Logic UltraTouch denim insulation, then sealing up both the edge/surrounding of the cups where they meet the pad attachment mechanism, sealing the front baffle entirely, and most importantly, putting something around the edge of that circular, front-side foam surrounding the driver so that it didn't leak out the sides. Easiest way to tune down the bass is via how much you don't seal those spots, but I figured why not go for something kinda fun? :)
     
    • Like / Agree Like / Agree x 1
    • List
  10. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

    Staff Member Friend MZR
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    12,026
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Colorado
    Home Page:
    Apparently this works pretty well from my Nexus 6? Gets loud and doesn't lose too much oomph or clarity. I'll take it!

    Mod is more or less finalized now. Will give a full write up over the next few days or so. Might take a while to comb through all the details and add pics.

    Totally different beast compared to stock. Very much enjoying it.
     
  11. hifi01170

    hifi01170 Acquaintance

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2015
    Likes Received:
    59
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Great man!
    How does it compare to some of the reference cans disussed in SBAF?
     
  12. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

    Staff Member Friend MZR
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    12,026
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Colorado
    Home Page:
    I'll do some comparisons with my HD650 over the next few days.
     
  13. Robert777

    Robert777 Acquaintance

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2015
    Likes Received:
    65
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Thanks for this. My TH500rp's get the least listening time and hopefully some mods can mix things up a little.
     
  14. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

    Staff Member Friend MZR
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    12,026
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Colorado
    Home Page:
    Well, it's a T50RP driver...so of course mods can mix things up a bit! :p The tough part is how the cups attach to the gimbals and headband, and how the pads attach to that part as well. There's a lot of air leakage where the cups mount on the headband and gimbal, which really screws with the bass response.

    I kind of got sidetracked with some other things, which gave me some perspective when I came back to these. Still trying to narrow down how I want to "finalize" the mod. One of those things where you get really excited, then the more you listen (and compare to the HD650), the more you want to tweak things just a bit more. Then you get a Super 7 and stop caring about anything but it and the HD650. Wait, what?

    At this point, it's a matter of how much to close up the back of the cups and slight front damping changes. Having them mostly open is cool in concept, but it makes them sound less focused. Closing them up too much reduces bass. All about balance. Trying to minimize putting anything in front of the driver as well. More or less impossible to get rid of the 10KHz peak without something in front of the driver, but the cool thing is you can tweak everything else to the point where it doesn't stand out or sound bright for some reason in that spot.
     
    • Like / Agree Like / Agree x 2
    • List
  15. Robert777

    Robert777 Acquaintance

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2015
    Likes Received:
    65
    Trophy Points:
    28
    @Hands

    Do you happen to know if HM5 or Hifiman pads could easily be put on these headphones?

    I would try my TH900 pads, but I really do not want to take them apart.

    Cheers.

    Update: I did some research and the pads are really easy to change. I also have some HM5 velour pads on the way.
     
    • Like / Agree Like / Agree x 1
    • List
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2015
  16. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

    Staff Member Friend MZR
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    12,026
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Colorado
    Home Page:
    HM5 pads work well. HM5 velour pads will make the headphone very thin and very bright sounding.

    TH900 pads should use the same attachment mechanism, so should be easy to pop them off and put them on the TH500RP.
     
    • Like / Agree Like / Agree x 1
    • List
  17. spoony

    spoony Spooky

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2015
    Likes Received:
    497
    Trophy Points:
    63
    These are going for $350 new nowadays, not a bad price if you're willing to mod?
     
  18. Robert777

    Robert777 Acquaintance

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2015
    Likes Received:
    65
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Thank you for the information. I like bright sounding headphones, but not thin. I may try some Hifiman pleather pads as I have a stack of them, if I can get the mounting rings inside them. I will also try my TH900 pads as I discovered how easily they come on and off.

    I think that is a good price. They are very comfortable and well built. I really like bright headphones so the treble seems a little off to me, but I am looking forward to swapping pads and playing with dampening.
     
  19. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

    Staff Member Friend MZR
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    12,026
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Colorado
    Home Page:
    The more I play around and listen, the more I'm coming around to thinking this really is best as a mostly closed headphone (wow, no surprise given all the other T50RP mods!). Having it too open makes the bass kind of "fluffy" sounding and overall reduces the sense of focus and clarity. Indistinct might be a good way to put it.

    The thing is, it's not as simple as just closing off the back of the cups. I had the cups almost entirely closed off, with a small semi-open spot in the center.

    I was playing around with placing my fingers over that open spot and noticed I preferred the sound with my lanky fingers there. However, when I tried covering it up with tape, leaving a bit open still, it did not sound the same. All it would do was continuously lower the bass without adding the sense of extra clarity and focus I would get by placing my fingers over that spot.

    What I ultimately discovered is that, at least in my configuration, the back needs to be almost entirely closed in such a way that it is entirely reflective. That is, you can't just leave an open spot where air can leak directly out of the back (think straight line from back of drivers out of the back of the cups). What I realized my fingers were doing were acting as a reflective area BUT allowing air to escape at a sort of 90 degree angle relative to the back of the cups. Some sort of port. I made some sort of crappy looking, 90 degree port using adhesive creatology foam. Not an ideal solution, but, hey, it seems to work.

    Here, look, I drew a pretty picture:

    Super Best TH500RP Mod Picture.png
     
    • Like / Agree Like / Agree x 1
    • List
  20. MWSVette

    MWSVette Almost "Made"

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2016
    Likes Received:
    265
    Trophy Points:
    53
    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    I have both the TH500RP and the TH-X00 which appear to share all of the same hardware. I am going to remove the wood cups from the TH-X00s and try them on the TH500RPs. Since the TH-X00 are semi-open that may provide the "almost entirely closed" form hands is talking about.

    I will let you know how it turns out...
     
    • Like / Agree Like / Agree x 2
    • List

Share This Page