Grado SR80i Modifications - What Have I Done???

Jason36

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Well I have been at a bit of a loose end over the last few days....run up to Christmas etc. and have been reading a few posts on modifying the Stock Grado's. I love my Grado's, however do find they can become a little fatiguing sometimes depending on what I am listening to.

So seeing as these are not my only pair of headphones now (having recently purchased a pair of Denon AH-D2000's) I thought what the hell :grin:

So what have I done?

Well intially I started by taking the membrane cover of the front of the drivers....this was easy to do with a hobby knife and using fingers as pliers to remove and remaining strands of membrane.

Secondly I prised the earcups apart using a bevelled spoon, to gently prise the earcups apart and then punched a few holes into the back of the driver housing. You can actually add anywhere up to ten holes....I have initially opted for four.

Thirdly I have cut a hole in the stock earpads, opening up the driver directly to the ear...however held away from the ear by the outside of the earpads.

So have these changes made a difference?

The short answer to this is yes they have.

The removal of the membrane from the front of the driver certainly made the sound clearer and slightly less veiled.

The addition of the holes into the back of the driver housing has definately increased the Bass of the Grado's, a definate improvement. This can be changed by adding more holes if required.....however a few people have said that when they added ten holes the Grado's became very bassy.

Finally cutting the holes into the earpads has again just opened up the sound when wearing the Grado's.

These were all simple and free upgrades and to my ears have definately improved the stock Grado sound :grin:

So Whats Next?

Well at the moment I am now looking to upgrade the cable, which I am hoping will clean up the treble of the Grado's.

I also fancy changing the plastic earcups and replacing these with some bespoke wooden chambers.

Now I know some of you will be saying, why not just buy another pair of headphones, with a more pleasing sound......but too be honest this is more of a "what can be done to the Grado's" project rather than anything else.

ALSO would like to remind people that messing with your headphones will obviously invalidate any warranty!! :O
 

eggontoast

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Jason36 said:
Well I have been at a bit of a loose end over the last few days....run up to Christmas etc. and have been reading a few posts on modifying the Stock Grado's. I love my Grado's, however do find they can become a little fatiguing sometimes depending on what I am listening to.

So seeing as these are not my only pair of headphones now (having recently purchased a pair of Denon AH-D2000's) I thought what the hell :grin:

So what have I done?

Well intially I started by taking the membrane cover of the front of the drivers....this was easy to do with a hobby knife and using fingers as pliers to remove and remaining strands of membrane.

Secondly I prised the earcups apart using a bevelled spoon, to gently prise the earcups apart and then punched a few holes into the back of the driver housing. You can actually add anywhere up to ten holes....I have initially opted for four.

Thirdly I have cut a hole in the stock earpads, opening up the driver directly to the ear...however held away from the ear by the outside of the earpads.

So have these changes made a difference?

The short answer to this is yes they have.

The removal of the membrane from the front of the driver certainly made the sound clearer and slightly less veiled.

The addition of the holes into the back of the driver housing has definately increased the Bass of the Grado's, a definate improvement. This can be changed by adding more holes if required.....however a few people have said that when they added ten holes the Grado's became very bassy.

Finally cutting the holes into the earpads has again just opened up the sound when wearing the Grado's.

These were all simple and free upgrades and to my ears have definately improved the stock Grado sound :grin:

So Whats Next?

Well at the moment I am now looking to upgrade the cable, which I am hoping will clean up the treble of the Grado's.

I also fancy changing the plastic earcups and replacing these with some bespoke wooden chambers.

Now I know some of you will be saying, why not just buy another pair of headphones, with a more pleasing sound......but too be honest this is more of a "what can be done to the Grado's" project rather than anything else.

ALSO would like to remind people that messing with your headphones will obviously invalidate any warranty!! :O
Interesting, but lets face it...........they couldn't sound any worse :shifty:
 

Jason36

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Ha ha ha,

Well by the time I have finished the only Grado parts left will be the drivers, Headband and Connecting loops for the cups.

I'm gonna have a play with a rewire and changing the cups (chambers) to wood........If nothing else they will look pretty dam good :)
 

DIB

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Sorry to hijack your thread, but I've been thinking about adding an extra pair of headphones to my set-up. Not as a replacement, in addition to. I like my Grado's but as you say certain music can be quite hard with them (eg. listening to OK Computer the other day on them and I thought that there was just too much going on, if that makes any sense? ).

Anyway. amongst possible options earmarked were a pair of Denon AH-D2000's.

How do you find them, and how do they compare to the Grado's.

Cheers

.
 

Jason36

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DIB said:
Sorry to hijack your thread, but I've been thinking about adding an extra pair of headphones to my set-up. Not as a replacement, in addition to. I like my Grado's but as you say certain music can be quite hard with them (eg. listening to OK Computer the other day on them and I thought that there was just too much going on, if that makes any sense? ).

Anyway. amongst possible options earmarked were a pair of Denon AH-D2000's.

How do you find them, and how do they compare to the Grado's.

Cheers

.

Hiya Mte,

The Denons are a really well built pair of Headphones with a very long cable for ease of use...however this can be a bit of a pain when listening within close proximity of your system (lots of excess cable to sort out). The Denons are extremely comfortable to wear for long periods of time without causing any heating or sweating on the ears. Very good at cancelling out outside noise and leak very little indeed.

They provide an open sound (for closed back headphones) and I find are especially good with vocals providing a clear insight into the music. The Bass is strong with good mid range and highs.....I had read that they can have a tendency to sound sibilant, however I havent found this personally. My only main concern with the Denons is that sometimes the Bass can seem to be a little overpowering, especially when used with the uDAC2 and Laptop.

Overall these are a good headphone wich provide and insightfull and enjoyable listen to a variety of muscal genres.

Totaly different to the Grado's....I like both for different reasons.
 

eggontoast

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Jason36 said:
Ha ha ha,

Well by the time I have finished the only Grado parts left will be the drivers, Headband and Connecting loops for the cups.

I'm gonna have a play with a rewire and changing the cups (chambers) to wood........If nothing else they will look pretty dam good :)
I must admit you can get some pretty darn good looking after market wooden cups for Grado's, keep us posted with your results preferably with pics.
 

Jason36

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Thought I would document the mods I am currently undertaking to my Grado SR80i Headphones for anyone that is interested. As I said yesterday this is more an exploration into what can be achieved in both looks and sound difference. So starting with basic mods I did yesterday.

6514946371_ba608dbc7e_m.jpg


Having removed the earcups from their fastenings I first removed the membrane covering the front of the drivers......mine came of very easily, carefully using a hobby craft knife and fingers to finally remove any stray leftovers.

6514946537_35e9354c14_m.jpg


Having carefuly prised the earcups apart, using a bevelled spoon in the gap between the front and rear housings, I then used a ball point pen (good because it stops what you are using going to far through and damaging the driver) to pierce the rear of the driver. There are ten holes here and initially I opened up four, however since then I have done another 1. As discussed, opening these up has increased the Bass you get from the Grado's. Still not Window rattling bass, but a noticeable difference.

Once this was done, I reassembled the housings and reattached them to the headband.

Later today I may look at adding a blob of bluetack (acting as a dampner) to the rear of the drivers....this does stop any stray reverberations you may get in the drivers and apparantely goes a long way to control the treble and High Frequencies you may get through openening up the holes in the rear drivers.

I have also ordered some L-Cush earpads for the Grado's....these are larger than the originals and more comfortable.....they also have a hole in them to allow the sound to travel freely from driver to ear.

More photos to follow as the modifications progress.

Jason :grin:
 

Jason36

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Latest addition to the Grado SR80i Modifications arrived recently.....these are more aesthetic / functional rather than anything else.....but I have changed the stock earpads for the L-Cush option. These are definately more comfortable than the standard pads and virtually sit around the ears rather than on top. I have been wearing them for about an hour this morning with no discomfort whathever.

Because they also open up the drivers to the ears they also provide a more airy sound to the music....a nice and cheap upgrade for the Grado's :grin:

6634047083_f7dac6ed9a.jpg


6634047177_491ab3989f.jpg
 

Jason36

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:grin:
eggontoast said:
Creedance Clearwater Revival eh....

Have the wooden cups not arrived yet ?

Yep that's the one mate....HiRes FLAC from HD Tracks :grin: Although I'm currently listening to "Grace for Drowning" by Steve Wilson...even better :grin:

The wooden cups and cable rewire should be arriving around the end of this month.....I ordered both from a guy who is based in America and he only does this part-time so there was about a 4 - 5 week waiting time when I ordered.

The Denon's have gone by the way and now have a pair of AKG K271 Mk II's.....these are more of a standby until I can demo and hopefully buy a pair of AT W1000's later this year.
 

Jason36

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Just an Update on the current situation :

I have just placed an order for these which should be arriving over the next week or so....Bocote Wooden Cups. These are a hardwood cup with excellent tonewood qualities.

6725393381_24995f8257.jpg


These have been orderd as an addition to the Hawaiian KOA cups I am waiting for......the Hawaiian KOA cups, I have now decided, will have a set of Magnum V4 drivers fitted into them and will be rewired with 22 AWG Silver Coated Copper Cable. I have been assured by various people that these drivers and cups will actually produce a similar sonic signature to the Grado RS1i, but at about a quarter of the cost.

The new cups above will be fitted with my Grado SR80i drivers (which will be liberated from their Plastic Air Chamber) and wired with the original Grado cable (for the time being).

Both of these should have very different sonic attributes. :grin:
 

GeoffreyW

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Looking forward to developments. I also changed the pads of my Alessandro MS1s for L-cush rings - a no brainer after back-to-back listening. I have my original SR80 phones as donors.
 

eggontoast

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Jason36 said:
Just an Update on the current situation :

I have just placed an order for these which should be arriving over the next week or so....Bocote Wooden Cups. These are a hardwood cup with excellent tonewood qualities.

6725393381_24995f8257.jpg


These have been orderd as an addition to the Hawaiian KOA cups I am waiting for......the Hawaiian KOA cups, I have now decided, will have a set of Magnum V4 drivers fitted into them and will be rewired with 22 AWG Silver Coated Copper Cable. I have been assured by various people that these drivers and cups will actually produce a similar sonic signature to the Grado RS1i, but at about a quarter of the cost.

The new cups above will be fitted with my Grado SR80i drivers (which will be liberated from their Plastic Air Chamber) and wired with the original Grado cable (for the time being).

Both of these should have very different sonic attributes. :grin:
They look nice, I almost want to buy myself a set of Grado's jsut to mod !
 

Jason36

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They look nice, I almost want to buy myself a set of Grado's jsut to mod !

[/quote]

I tell you what mate, I have just purchased a second hand pair of SR60's to canabalise and use the headrest and cup holders from for these new cups (managed to get them for £30.00). They arrived today and I thought I would have a listen against my modified SR80 drivers......Bloody hell talk about ear piercing.....the 60's sound so shrill and bright I can certainly see what people mean having listened to them.

Ok the Sr80's are different drivers but it is really urprising how the mods I have made to the drivers increase the Bass response and tames the high ends.

One I have the drivers in the cups and wired up, I will post some more pics. Hopefully by then I should have my Magnum Woodies to pot up pics of as well :grin:

Hmmm so what pair of headphones next? :roll:
 

Jason36

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eggontoast said:
Jason36 said:
Hmmm so what pair of headphones next? :roll:

these

or

these

or

these

or a second hand pair of

these

or

these

Out of those I think it would have to be the HiFiman HE-5LE or the Audeze LCD2. I have heard good reports about both of these headphones.....if anything the problem is getting a demo of them...especialy as I believe the Audeze are made to order. Would also like to try the Audio Technica ATH W1000 which I believe are supposed to be excellent for accoustic music and female vocals.

Like the idea of STAX, unfortunately I just do not like the style of the square cups on a lot of their headphones.....how comfortable are they, do you know?
 

eggontoast

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Jason36 said:
...especialy as I believe the Audeze are made to order.
There is a UK distributor, I think it was called Decent Audio and is up north somewhere. When I enquired they said they were in stock and priced at £799, that was about six months ago though.

Jason36 said:
Like the idea of STAX, unfortunately I just do not like the style of the square cups on a lot of their headphones.....how comfortable are they, do you know?
Aye, I have a pair of Lambda's. I know they look like monstrosities but they are very comfortable and you can wear them for hours. Anyway they do round ones too.
 
A

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EggyBread - you're headphonebonkers. I've just made a new word - just for you! :cheers:
 

eggontoast

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Graham_Thomas said:
EggyBread - you're headphonebonkers. I've just made a new word - just for you! :cheers:
:rofl: you sound like my misses only, see doesn't always include the headphone bit ;)

I think Jason36 is nearly on the road to headphonebonkerism too.

Just for the record though, I prefer 'French Toast' it sounds more sophisticated
 

Jason36

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eggontoast said:
Graham_Thomas said:
EggyBread - you're headphonebonkers. I've just made a new word - just for you! :cheers:
:rofl: you sound like my misses only, see doesn't always include the headphone bit ;)

I think Jason36 is nearly on the road to headphonebonkerism too.

Just for the record though, I prefer 'French Toast' it sounds more sophisticated

Ha Ha could have been worse....he could have called you "Soggy Toast" :rofl:

Yeah I think I am well on my way to that as well......its just at the moment its easier to listen via headphones, especially at work and late at night. To be honest as well I find I get much more detail through headphones than I do my speakers....and unfortunately house situation means I wont be changing those for probably another 12 to 18 months and I get my dedicated "Man Cave" for my stereo and gadgets :)

Oh yeah....theres also the point that I am getting into this Grado Modding lark and finding out what they are capable of. :shifty:
 

Jason36

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eggontoast said:
Jason36 said:
Oh yeah....theres also the point that I am getting into this Grado Modding lark and finding out what they are capable of. :shifty:
Steady........just waiting for the WHF moderators to chime in :p

OK just to balance it out a bit....I do like my AKG K271 MkII as well >)
 

Jason36

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OK so I had a box delivered today to my work address......and yep they were the Wooden Bocote Cups from America :) these will have my Grado SR80i drivers fitted into them once I have liberated them from their plastic housings and will be wired with the standard Grado SR80i Cable.

Here's some photos of the cups, Im afraid these were taken with my camera phone and hence not the best quality.......decent photos will follow when I have finished the fitting.

6788462577_410995e527.jpg


6788462657_c0e8d4f328.jpg


6788462717_2659452ccf.jpg


6788462803_f988911f45.jpg


I am really pleased with these, the wood is excellent quality and looks amazing. The quality of the workmanship of these is next to none. Cant wait to get them wired up :grin:
 
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I recently purchased the Grado sr80 along with a pair of Grado Alessandro MS1 headphones.The sr80's I purchased on ebay sounded great right out of the box, had already been burned in. I don't think the Grado Alessandro MS1 have enough hours on them yet because they sound a bit more harsh when compared to the sr80's I have. I don't know about the sr225 yet. I did purchase a pair today ... have to share my thoughts once I get to audition them. I too am looking for info on reasonable priced headphone amp.

I might take a chance and try a mod job soon.

I recently purchased the Grado sr80 along with a pair of Grado Alessandro MS1 headphones.

The sr80's I purchased on ebay sounded great right out of the box, had already been burned in. I don't think the Grado Alessandro MS1 have enough hours on them yet because they sound a bit more harsh when compared to the sr80's I have.

I will be getting the sr225 soon ... have to share my thoughts once I get to audition them.

Also I am looking for info on reasonable priced headphone amp.

Any suggestions?
 

Jason36

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etomic said:
I recently purchased the Grado sr80 along with a pair of Grado Alessandro MS1 headphones.The sr80's I purchased on ebay sounded great right out of the box, had already been burned in. I don't think the Grado Alessandro MS1 have enough hours on them yet because they sound a bit more harsh when compared to the sr80's I have. I don't know about the sr225 yet. I did purchase a pair today ... have to share my thoughts once I get to audition them. I too am looking for info on reasonable priced headphone amp.

I might take a chance and try a mod job soon.

I recently purchased the Grado sr80 along with a pair of Grado Alessandro MS1 headphones.

The sr80's I purchased on ebay sounded great right out of the box, had already been burned in. I don't think the Grado Alessandro MS1 have enough hours on them yet because they sound a bit more harsh when compared to the sr80's I have.

I will be getting the sr225 soon ... have to share my thoughts once I get to audition them.

Also I am looking for info on reasonable priced headphone amp.

Any suggestions?

Hi Etomic,

What other equipment are you using? It it a CD player and amp or is it a laptop etc. if an amp and CD I take it you do not have a headphone out? Also what sort of money do you want to spend and would you consider second hand?
 

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