The vintage Ortho thread

Discussion in 'Headphones' started by gurubhai, Jun 24, 2016.

  1. gurubhai

    gurubhai Friend

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    I recently received another vintage Ortho and was looking for a thread to discuss it but surprisingly there was none. So, here it goes.
    Most of you probably know of my love for Yamaha Orthos. I have tried a few fostex planars, T50 OEM NAD rp18 (both versions), T30, T20 and the T50rp. I have liked a couple of them - my own modded mylar rp18 and rhythmdevils modded T50rp, but I have never quite loved them.
    I had never tried the fostex T10 though probably because my own prejudices - why bother with cheaper model when I have already tried the expensive one?
    Anyways I was pleasantly surprised by the little fostex T10.
    These sound quite nice in the stock form. None of that rolled off treble and slow, tired pace characteristic of most vintage Orthos. This was fast, with good separation and details. There is a peak somewhere in lower to mid treble which causes a slightly etched sound and their isn't much lower bass to speak of but otherwise quite fine for a stock Ortho.
    It was obvious that these were a bit overdamped, so I took off some of the damping and these already have much better bass and the treble issues have been taken care of.
    I can already say that this is probably going to be my favorite Ortho outside of the big driver Yammie's.


    [​IMG]
     
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    Last edited: Jul 2, 2016
  2. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    The T10 is the only vintage ortho that I have ever regretted selling/trading away. Plus they have the true claim to the title of "first portable ortho", unlike Audeze's claim with the Sine.

    The pair that I had was modded by... ah I can't remember, but it was one of the old original guys from the headfi thread. Some new pads definitely helps fill in the lower end if yours are worn.
     
  3. gurubhai

    gurubhai Friend

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    Ya, it does seem quite suited to portable use with its small form factor. However, the 94 dB/mW sensitivity makes me wonder if it would work out of a portable unit.
    I would check it myself but for the provided 6.3 mm plug. If anyone can confirm that these would work from a portable source, I would replace the plug but I don't plan to d any cutting/chopping till then.
    The pads are in quite good shape actually with the original shine still intact so no problem there. The issue with the bass was certainly the overt damping since its much better now with the mods.
     
  4. Koth Ganesh

    Koth Ganesh Friend

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    Guru, is this available?
     
  5. gurubhai

    gurubhai Friend

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    Available - as in current production?
    Sadly no. These were a part of the original Fostex 'RP' series from 70's and it has been a while since these were out of production. They do occasionally come up on ebay, which is where I found mine.

    A look at the T10 driver :

    [​IMG]
     
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  6. Koth Ganesh

    Koth Ganesh Friend

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    Nice. Can you show the damping and what you did by way of modding it? Thanks
     
  7. spoony

    spoony Spooky

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    BTW, here's a measurement (solid-plate) of a broken stock pair that I'm working on fixing:

    t10.png

    Both channels were well-matched (not pictured here). I tried the thinksound on1 pads; they fit, are very comfortable and will help the bass but not ruin the sound.
     
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  8. dBel84

    dBel84 Friend

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    The T10 and T20v1 are quite similar. I prefer the T10 with stock pads and minimalist damping. My favourite is a single disk of "auzzie wool felt" (the yellow stuff of old) in the small cavity behind the driver. Moorbrook lining the cup. Sadly both these treasured fabrics are no longer available, but there has to be acoustic equivalents out there. I hold the T10 on parr with the YHD1 for portable ortho and will hold them above most new gen orthos. The T20v1 needs new pads, those original saucers are just nasty.

    ..dB
     
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  9. Koth Ganesh

    Koth Ganesh Friend

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    Guru, I'm seeing a pair of T20 (no not the cricket type :)) Is it with picking up?
     
  10. gurubhai

    gurubhai Friend

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    The T10 magnets are quite a bit more open though. I haven't tried the T20v1 myself, mainly beacause I never seem to find one in good condition. They all have probably seen a lot of (ab)use in studios!



    Depends on which version.
    The original T20 had round cups and round drivers, this is the version that dbel84 mentioned and the one which we refer as T20v1. This is the one that you would probably want.
    The second version still had round drivers but the cups were changed(similar to current T50RP).

    After that the driver was changed and is basically a square driver similar to current T50RP. This version can be easily identified from the older versions because unlike the older ones these are named as T20RP, old ones were just called T20.
     
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  11. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    @gurubhai

    Those drivers look quite clean, but I'd still want to open it up to make sure there's no particulate matter inside. The pair I had were contaminated with what looked like black sand. My guess it was some of the original dampening material that had crumbled away. The bad part is some had slipped in between the magnets and diaphragm and caused a lot of issues.

    Careful if you're never opened it up though. Those magnets are "jumpy". Use a finger to hold down the magnet as you unscrew the retaining ring.
     
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  12. Bagged Milk

    Bagged Milk Friend

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    I've owned a few vintage orthos. A YHD-1, B&O U70 (one of the worse headphones I've ever heard. Good thing they were free.), and a few soviet ones. Probably going to rehouse a pair of TDS-5 drivers eventually, and also buy one of my friends T10's and HP-1 anisotropics, as he has two HP-1A's and three or something T10's.

    Also, I saw a YH-1000 go for like 30$ earlier this month on eBay with one driver not working. Needless to say I was pretty salty I didn't see that before it sold.
     
  13. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    I've got an old Technics ortho that I don't know what to do with.
     
  14. gurubhai

    gurubhai Friend

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    @Armaegis : That picture is actually a borrowed one from the internet.
    Fortunately my pair had the stock damping in excellent condition, no crumbling at all which is probably the reason it sounded so good in stock condition.

    And ya, I know all about those 'jumpy' magnets having owned 3 t20v2 at one time.
     
  15. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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  16. dBel84

    dBel84 Friend

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    I had forgotten about that epic rebuild. Quite the achievement ! Why not try a complete rebuild for the technics. The EAH 820 driver has always seemed like it should perform well. Giving it new life with some neodynium magnets could be a fine (and fun) experiment. I would probably err on single sided to avoid the headache of assembly.

    *this had always been my intent with the wharfedale ID but it now gathers dust in some cupboard.

    Probably not what you wanted to hear as i think much of the old innovation has been replaced by the neo-ortho revolution.

    ..dB
     
  17. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    I was kinda hoping to just sell off the Technics (I have the 810, not 820), but the vintage ortho market has dried up significantly. What ever happened to the scores of Russians hounding after these things? I haven't really delved into heavy modding in a while now, though I suppose I could crack this thing open and see what I can do with it.
     
  18. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

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    Any recommendations for replacement pads that work well?
     
  19. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

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    I think waiting around a few years, after the DIY ortho crazy, was probably a good idea. I picked up a Fostex T10 and T20v1 for around $25-30 each on eBay. The T10 is on its way, but the T20v1 showed up today. Good condition. Works perfectly. Headband logos are missing on the side, which seems common, but that's about it aside from one small spot in one pad that flaked off. I am assuming they are both stock but have not opened to verify, nor would I really know what to look for without research.

    I do not care for the T20v1's pads. Not comfortable, weird seal, etc. That said, it seems the T20v1 almost requires you to have the driver right up against your ear with an immediate cushion and seal around the driver opening. I quickly tried a few other pads, and they all sounded very wrong as well as made them very hard to drive.

    Sonically, the T20v1 stock sounds...surprisingly good. Not too far off from an HD600 tonally, but the upper-mids are more elevated, and the midrange through treble response is overall edgier sounding despite being surprisingly clear and balanced sounding. Sub-bass rolls off more but is not as bad as you'd expect once you get the headphones to fit right-ish. Better extension than the MA900, and surprisingly tight bass at that too. And for being literally directly on my ears, the stage is not as hard left/right as some of the more modern planars I've heard, for whatever reason. Note that you have to fiddle with pad and headphone placement to get the sound just right. Treble can be a bit dulled up top if you have them on wrong.

    How about some quick measurements?

    Fostex T20v1 Left Stock.PNG Fostex T20v1 Right Stock.PNG Fostex T20v1 Left CSD Stock.PNG Fostex T20v1 Right CSD Stock.PNG


    Some notes: My amp has an inherent channel balance, so that's probably why the L/R aren't more closely matched.

    Slight fit and physical pad differences can probably account for most other differences in the FR and CSDs. I did not try a pad swap to verify.

    Distortion more or less maxes out what my rig is capable of. Funny how damn good these results are overall for a headphone from the 70s/80s, with original pads (I assume), and when compared to modern orthos.
     
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  20. dBel84

    dBel84 Friend

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    Yes, they have long been considered one of the hidden gems.

    The pads i like are modified HM5 (bicycle inner tube sewed to pad lip to hold them onto the cups)

    Never seen measurements for them, quite remarkable


    ..dB
     

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