The Wonderful LTS v3 Moddable Headphone

Discussion in 'Headphones' started by Marvey, Aug 9, 2021.

  1. Marvey

    Marvey Super Friend

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    One of the missions of SBAF is to seek out interesting and awesome new stuff. You know, stuff that you will never hear about on Head-Fi because Head-Fi requires MoTs to "pay to play". Unfortunately, this doesn't bode well for smaller boutique operators as they simply do not have the dollars necessary to continue posting on Head-Fi, especially after one of the moderator goons shuts them down. Head-Fi is a business after all, and it should be run like a business. However, that's OK. Because we here have been able to enjoy the super value high performance stuff from the small guys.

    Allow me to introduce the LTS v3 (formerly LTA) headphone. It is a beauty! Reminds me of the Sony Qualia 010! Allow me to post one of my janky photos here (ignore the super fake Google background blur - it's so bad that it gives me a headache).

    PXL_20210809_201357069.PORTRAIT.jpg

    The V3 I believe uses a 2" Peerless headphone driver which is widely available. The driver is angled in the frame and positioned similarly to the HD800/Qualia/SA5000. I would describe the sound as light on its feet, fast, zippy. I have not played with all the configuration options yet. Out of the box, the frequency response is neutral. There is some early bass roll-off (expected given the design of the cup and the driver) and if I wanted to nitpick, maybe a small narrow dip in upper mids and a small narrow peak in the highs. I think most will find the LTS V3 tonally lean or bright because of the bass roll-off combined with what seems like very flat bass response (most dynamics seem to have a small bump in the midbass, but not here).

    Given the original DIY intent of LTS, I'm sure there would be many ways to bump up the bass a bit. (There are plugs included in the package to do just that.) Also, some pad rolling to bring the drivers a few mm closer to the ear may bring some added warmth. Note that I did not have a problem with the stock tuning when run from my multibit DAC and tube amp with the high Z 8-ohm speaker tap (the low Z is for 4-ohm speakers). However, I felt this worth mentioning in case someone were running an ESS DAC or an amp like the Fiio K5 (warmish, but glarey and sharp up top). I let someone at work hear them (Magni 3+ and Modi 3) and he thought they were a bit lean sounding.

    I will post more later tonight including maybe some measurements.
     
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    Last edited: Aug 9, 2021
  2. Marvey

    Marvey Super Friend

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    One more photo, with the pad removed. Our friend @Tomislav_L is not screwing around. Fit, finish, polish - everything looks like a million dollars, from a REAL "big" company.

    PXL_20210809_204320701.jpg

    I am honored to be one of the first to own these.
     
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  3. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils Best SBAF member of all time

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    Very cool! I love the look. I think I know the velour pads that are being used, and velour pads in general are pretty leaky. They give you a nice airy, open sound because of this, but they also tip up the FR with less bass and more treble. It sounds like they are neutral with them so solid leather may not work, but I'm curious about perforated leather/pleather pads and what that might do. Could be best of both worlds.

    Just an idea for LTS, though one that's probably already been tried.
     
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  4. Tomislav_L

    Tomislav_L Almost "Made"

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    Awesome to see they finally made it across the pond safely!

    The stock tuning for my pre-built headphones is meant to be what I'd consider safe and a decent starting place for playing with the available tuning options, unless whoever I'm building the headphone for already has specific requests prior to the building process, then we can work towards that target signature immediately.

    The most basic form of adjustment on the V3 is using the rubber plugs on the baffle, with the most opened ones installed by default for leanest bass, and then the two other variants of plugs allow for a gradual boost in bass, with mostly the sub bass going up with more closed plugs, with the mid and upper bass still staying fairly flat and tight. The "roundness" of the bass response can be adjusted by playing with the filters on the rear of the driver (which requires some quick removal of 4 screws holding the driver in place), as opening up the big central port on the back of the driver's magnet by removing the installed filter (drivers out of the factory have no filters, but I add them to achieve this effect of tightening the response) adds back that mid-bass hump typical for dynamics and adds some "fluidity" to the bass.

    Additionally the whole filter frame that surrounds the driver can be removed and replaced with one that has different acoustic mesh attached to it, so that can again transform the overall balance to either a warmer or leaner side. In general, from the units built so far, most owners seem to be quite happy with the default balance that they've found with a combination of supplied rubber plugs, but some even found them a bit bass heavy even with leanest plugs installed, just depends on whether someone is used to daily driving the HD800's or TH900's I suppose. However, it's important to mention that everyone wanting to re-tune will receive additional sets of acoustic mesh and tuning materials completely free of charge for DIY-ing and experimenting with no headaches. I really want owners to feel the benefits of their headphone being modular and having that ability to play with it.

    Hopefully with more of these headphones out there, we'll also have more and more brave DIY'ers who will experiment with various drivers available and use these headphones as a DIY platform, as there are so many awesome driver units out there that enable some really interesting builds.


    For those wondering about the difference between this V3 and the V2, as @Marvey mention briefly, the V3 has a bit laid back upper mids relative to what may be considered perfectly flat, which is an effect introduced by the quite significant angle of the driver on the V3 and the concave shape of the baffle that follows the angle. That is also the main sound signature difference between the V2 and the V3 models in their default tune states. The V2 is basically flat between 2kHz and 5kHz, while the V3 has a dip around 2,5 - 4kHz, which if someone were to compare them head-to-head, would make the V2 sound more aggressive and in your face, and I could see people who listen to a lot of vocal / live instrumental music preferring the V2's default signature. However, it's important to say that the upper mids on the V3 can be brought more forward too, by using less transparent acoustic mesh under the grills behind the drivers, it all comes down to the tuning.
     
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  5. señorhifi

    señorhifi Friend

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    @Tomislav_L :
    [​IMG]

    Also looks pretty cool. Like a mix of Grado and the HD800. Can't wait for those measurements.
     
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  6. Tomislav_L

    Tomislav_L Almost "Made"

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    These pads installed by default are the original Beyerdynamic T1 gen.2 pads attached to custom 3D printed ear pad rings, same as on the V2 model. They aren't necessarily the absolute best pads out there for everyone's taste, but after trying out a lot of different pads I'd say they're sort of a jack of all trades and don't have major flaws if you can live with a bit of a high freq peak. Apart from sounding good, they also tick the boxes for comfort, availability and quality. In terms of sound signature they add to the mix, I'd say they're somewhere in between typical velour pads and leather pads, in that they're not too leaky like some velour pads, the foam in them is quite dense, so the sound with these pads is less on the airy side, and more focused and tighter than with most velour pads I've tried I'd say. However, they do add that high frequency peak into the mix, as do all Beyerdynamic pads (I suspect due to the rubbery/plasticy material they use on the inside of the pads). For those wanting to avoid that, there are pads that may be superior depending on tastes, for instance either the Dekoni or Brainwavz Hybrid pads have a very similar flat response of the T1 pads in the lows and mids, with a bit of added low end, but they don't have the high freq peak at all. The trade off is a slightly reduced comfort and soundstage size because they have smaller openings, so the room for ears is slightly reduced. I have tried sheepskin pads as well, and they actually led to a huge dip in the highs that made the sound too dark in my opinion. You can see my comparison graphs done with different pads on the V2 model, I don't have this side-by-side done for the V3's unfortunately, but all the effects of the pads translate to the V3 model as well. As always my measurements are done on a custom rig, so they're not directly comparable to measurements done on other systems, it's just to sort of illustrate the relative effects between various states of tune.

    [​IMG]
     
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  7. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    Other than tuning, does the V3 have significant technical improvements over the V2 or is it more a case of your preferred flavor?
     
  8. Tomislav_L

    Tomislav_L Almost "Made"

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    Well the overall construction of the cup on the V3 is more rigid and massive, and the driver is more separated in its own acoustic chamber on the V3, I feel like that gives the sound a bit more tightness and punch than on the V2, especially when they're both tuned on the bass-heavy side, that's when it becomes more noticeable that the V3 is capable of quite stronger bass without losing the tightness and control. The more angled drivers on the V3 bring the soundstage more forward rather than side-to-side, it's not a massive difference, but noticeable when switch between them. Purely objectively speaking the V3 is slightly technically more capable for those reasons, but I'd also say that this difference in technical ability of either of the two is not so big that it would be the main factor making someone pick one over the other, it would more likely be the sound signature preference that would make someone like one model more than the other (we're talking standard sound tuning, either model can be taken to all kinds of extremes otherwise). Think of it as HD600 vs. HD650 rather than HD600 vs. HD800 for example, if that makes sense. Even I jump between them and can't really say with full confidence which one I'd keep if I had to keep only one forever. When I listen to music that is more bass-focused or aggressive, anything ranging from various electronic genres, to rap, or even to metal, or when I'm gaming from time to time, I tend to pick up the V3 like 70% of the time, but when I listen to music that puts vocals up front, anything purely instrumental, especially live instrumental recordings, softer rock, etc. I tend to go for the V2 maybe 70% of the time, but again, it's not a matter of night and day in any of those situations.
     
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  9. Walderstorn

    Walderstorn Friend

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    I have had mine, with a special finish, for a month or so but my schedule has been hectic and, as such, its as been hard to do a proper review but I will write a few words now so I can add more during the weekend.

    My daily was a pair of heavily (soft) modded hd800 and, in between, my Verums (my black 600's are not getting the love that they deserve). Yes I say was for a reason, continue reading...

    As @Marvey mentioned the build quality is extremely good and when I say that it's not just because it's "extremely good" for DIY standards but more that it's much superior to most of the headphones I own/owned, with the exception of the Focals. They look great, fit great and feel great.

    Also about the mentioned rubber filters, to adjust bass, work wonders. There are 4 holes/outlets on these headphones (2 on each side) that can affect the bass (and incredibly not much else, so a lot of thought went into making these) and you get 6 filters so that you can decide what you like the most. Removing and setting these is very easy and with a tool it takes 3-4 seconds. Here is the twist though, you can further tweak them by using just 2 on each side.

    As soon as I got them in my ears I was surprised with the sound as it was a real shock for me. To be blunt the first impression was not good, as I was kind of expecting. I am a bass sensitive person and I knew this would be hit or miss because of this (as it happens to 90% of what I try) but, at the same time, I was also aware of my particular tastes so I knew that it could be a negative impact at first, with the default tuning. As soon as I changed to very light bass (2 light filters in each side) the bass fatigue that I was feeling disappeared and I still have enough bass, and tightness, that this quickly started to change to what I wanted.

    Now unlike some of you, I like to tweak, and I do believe the majority of you would love this "bass" model, because it has good bass quality, it's fast and engaging, although not forward throughout the whole spectrum (the bass is very present but not vocals, for example, as it's not their objective anyway).

    Because of this I would say that these headphones won't wow you if you are into live music but they can wow you if you want to feel as you are in the recording studio. Now I have only been in 2, very amateur focused, recording/mix, studios and this emulates that sound very closely, which, as a bonus, made these very engaging for my gaming.
    They are very unique in their sound presentation and I say this is a thumbs up, different flavour for sure.

    I have tried several headphones in these past 12years or so and two things I have come to realise:

    1) as in food I like to taste and get used to new flavours. Some work with time/adaptation, some don't.

    2) when I just get into my "zen zone", which means that I am doing things like just browsing, reading the news, etc... while listening to music, and my foot is tapping, that means that I am truly enjoying my experience, it just becomes more than just a listening experience, I am truly in a relax zone. This happened with these but didn't happen, as an example, with the Aelous, Clears, etc...

    More to come...
     
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    Last edited: Aug 10, 2021
  10. Tomislav_L

    Tomislav_L Almost "Made"

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    Thanks for the kind words! I'm really looking forward to your impressions when the new tuning materials get delivered to you, and you get a chance to even further experiment with possible sound signatures and push those mids more forward like you prefer.
     
  11. Marvey

    Marvey Super Friend

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    Here's a photo that shows some of what's included. Very professional looking and feeling. It turns out I had the bass lite setup. I have since moved to the one with the smaller vent holes and will maybe go to one vent blocked and one vent with the small holes. There are two vent positions each side at the top and bottom (not shown here).

    PXL_20210810_143825940.jpg

    I can see myself going to maybe one large and one small vent after I remove the damping from the back of the driver. I do prefer a more rounded sound with a stronger mid-bass hump. (Actually this depends on whether I'm running a solid-state or tube amp).

    Will do the sciency stuff later to show what goes on with FR, impedance plots, and burst envelope. For now, just enjoying.
     
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  12. Lyander

    Lyander Too sensitive for SBAF

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    Well this is one of the more exciting things in recent memory. Qualia aside (never gotten ears on them) how zippy and light do they feel compared to the HEK in the first configuration? Asking mostly out of curiosity since I tend to prefer a bit more weight to the general sound of things, though it can be enjoyable with some of the music library.

    The "forward" projecting soundstage with less lateral extension actually makes me think of the Klipsch HP-3! How's the headstage in comparison, if you remember @Marvey? Anyone else who's heard both and can compare definitely feel free to chime in since I know headstage isn't a priority for some :p

    For the record, these definitely look beautiful @Tomislav_L ! Excellent job on the baffle design, it looks well-considered and seeing that made me giddy :D
     
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  13. Walderstorn

    Walderstorn Friend

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    To complement @Marvey post. I will further demonstrate the attention to detail:

    [​IMG]

    Those are small magnets so that the pad rings stay in their, making this a very smart locking system. You setup the pad rings, rotate them clockwise and they lock in place with the help of that magnet . There's no wonkyness, no moving the pads by accident, no sudden pop out. It's a very smart, practical system.
     
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  14. Tomislav_L

    Tomislav_L Almost "Made"

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    Since I haven't mentioned anything about disassembly yet, just to put it out for others who may be doing the same thing as well. To take the driver out, the only thing that has to be done is removing the 4 screws around the driver that hold the driver holder in place, and then there's a small cutout under the rear edge of the driver holder obstructed by the felt (you don't have to remove the felt though), as marked with the red arrow, it's about 3 mm wide, so a nice small flathead screwdriver or a similar tool will fit in perfectly.

    [​IMG]


    You just have to gently jam something small and thin under that rear edge where the arrow is showing and gently but firmly lift the whole driver holder up a little bit until it pops out of the socket a bit, don't try to get it out all the way at once as it's quite tight fitting. The easiest way is to make it pop up a bit in the back initially, and then just sort of rock it front to back by alternating between jamming a thin tool under the edges at the back and at the front and gently pulling the whole thing out that way until it fully comes out. Just be careful to not pull it too far as the driver stays inside the front driver holder, and the wires have about 2-3 cm of slack when you pull the driver out, just enough to flip the front end of the driver holder backwards (so the side opposite of the red arrow goes up and back) and allowing you to have a look at the underside of the driver, allowing either to solder the wires or remove/attach the filter on the drivers magnet.

    There's also the spider-like rear driver holder under the driver itself, which can also pop out of the socket in case access to the grill behind the driver is needed. If the rear driver holder is popped out when removing the front driver holder, which can happen since all these components are tightly sandwiched together, it can just be pressed back into it's socked when putting the front driver holder back into place, just make sure to align it straight from front to back so it pops all the way down into the socket, some rotating of the rear driver holder left-right may be needed, but it only goes in one way, so it's impossible to screw it up.

    I'm gonna make an official disassembly/assembly guide for the V3, maybe in video form, but for now if any help is needed just let me know.
     
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  15. Marvey

    Marvey Super Friend

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    The headstage is not particularly wide which may turn off some people. This is not a problem for me because I dislike wide headstages. However the headstage is quite deep, especially with the drivers hanging low and to the front of my ears, which is my preferred way of using the LTS V3. So yeah, headstage is narrow but deep! Like how real speakers properly set up the stage in front, except it's headstage instead of soundstage.

    The driver is naturally quick and light. However, I am absolutely positive that if you plug in all the vents and take out the damping later behind the driver, we will get plenty of weight! I don't think we will get the HP-3's outrageous bass levels though.
     
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  16. Tomislav_L

    Tomislav_L Almost "Made"

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    I dislike the overly-wide headstages as well, I wanted to avoid the K701 effect of everything feeling very far to the left and right, but instead have the image more in front of the head, at least as much as that is possible with the limitations of headphones taken into consideration

    As for the bass, yea for levels like the Klipsch has the V3 would require a filter frame replacement with more dense acoustic mesh attached to them, the black mesh attached onto the frames now provides about 42% airflow restriction, the silver ones about 25%, but I also have mesh that provides 80% restriction, so there's still plenty of room to boost the low end upwards, easily well into bass-head headphone territory, I know some tune configurations I tried during testing made the DT770Pro 80 Ohm's bass feel puny in comparison. :)
     
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  17. Lyander

    Lyander Too sensitive for SBAF

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    Hahaha bass isn't everything, ya know. There are times when excessive amounts can be actually damaging, if you can believe it ;)

    But drat it all to perdition this makes four headphones I wanna hear now, only one of which isn't an "established" brand. I'm starting to dislike laterally extended headstages myself (ergo no to the DT880/HD800/HE-4XX). With the tweaks you suggested, curious to hear how much note weight there'd be compared to the classic Sennheiser 6-series. My audio vocab is a bit rusty but this'd be distinct from macrodynamic speed and impact, just in case I wasn't being particularly clear.
     
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  18. Marvey

    Marvey Super Friend

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    LTS V3
    Frequency Response
    FPC Compensated
    Stock (pads and medium vent)
    upload_2021-8-11_10-17-34.png

    Compared to a few others:

    LTS V3 (GRN/RED) to HD650 (WHT)
    Frequency Response
    FPC Compensated
    upload_2021-8-11_10-32-11.png

    LTS V3 (GRN/RED) to Elex (WHT)
    Frequency Response
    FPC Compensated
    upload_2021-8-11_10-37-27.png
    NOTE: dip at 8kHz for the Elex one of those in disguise, in this case surrounded by two ridges in CSDs (not shown)
     
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    Last edited: Aug 11, 2021
  19. spoony

    spoony Spooky

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    Are these 'stock' or tweaked to suit your preferences?
     
  20. Marvey

    Marvey Super Friend

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    Edited post above to make it clear. These are stock. LTS V3 reminds me most of Elex with both tonal signature and transient response. Elex sounds cleaner in the lows. LTS V3 kills Elex with respect to headstage.

    LTS V3
    Impedance (YEL=free-air, GRN=on-head)
    Stock (filter in place behind driver)
    upload_2021-8-11_10-46-4.png
     
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    Last edited: Aug 11, 2021

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