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What do you think of "markl Mod for Denon AH-D5000" thread?


purk
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Guys,

Anyone wants to give this a try? IMO, you can mod a headphone to have a tighter bass and a more natural high but you can't improve the midrange,details, and soundstaging. What do you think? Can the modification be as good as claimed? MarkL has an interesting check on his pair of R10.

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You asked for it...

I'm so excited about this headphone mod, based on 4 days of listening to the result, I wanted to share with the board right away.

Initially, when I got the Denon D5000, I was pretty disappointed with it. As has been well documented, it has this flabby almost flatulent bass response that can sound like a giant farting sound or like a woopie cushion deflating. The other issue was that the wimpy, ultra-thin cushions on Denon?s ear pads insured that the drivers were practically sitting right on top of your ear drums. This made them somewhat obnoxious and overblown, pumping lots of vibrating air down your ear canal, muddying the sound, and harming the soundstage. Whatever its other charms, I couldn?t get past these things and didn?t spend a lot of time with them. So I put them aside to focus on my upcoming reviews of the Ultrasone ED9 and the JVC DX1000.

After adding 75 hours of burn-in and picking the Denons up again on a whim earlier in the week, I was quite surprised. I could hear there was an incredible amount of potential in these cans. It occurred to me that the main source of the issues was not the D5000?s drivers, but rather the flimsy and borderline pathetic construction of the rest of the headphone. I could feel the headphone itself vibrating radically in time to the bass notes; the powerful driver transfers a lot of energy to the rest of the assembly. I think this accounts for at least 75% of the problem with the Denon?s bass?there is no damping of vibration in the headphone, and this adds greatly to the illusion of a loose, stuttering farting bass response that rattles your skull. If you could start to eliminate the vibrations, you could go a long way toward correcting the problem. Hmmmmm?

Also, one thing the Sony R10 and the JVC-DX1000 (two of the soundstaging champs of all time, IMO) has taught me, is that one of the keys to obtaining a proper soundstage is to simply move the driver away from the ear. Both those cans have a lot of space between your ears and the driver, and this allows the soundstage to expand left and right and fill in that center gap in the image you get with many cans (including the D5000). Moving the driver away also can reduce the feeling of air being pushed against the ear drum which tends to localize the sound inside the ear cups. Because the driver is constantly reminding you of its presence, pumping and vibrating, it can spoil the illusion of a soundstage outside your head, always reminding you that you are actually listening to two tiny drivers strapped to your ears.

OK, anyway, so this mod has two parts, one to damp the vibrations in the headphone assembly, and another to move the driver further away from the ear. The results of this mod, IMO, are the following:

Advantages of this mod over stock:

--Tightening of bass response, to the point it no longer intrudes into the rest of the sound

--Slight attenuation of bass volume, allowing the mids and highs to bloom a little more, improving resolution

--Removal of a considerable amount of the vibration in the assembly, which yields a less ?farty? bass sound and less blurry image.

--Bigger soundstage left-to-right and up and down, plus greater soundstage depth

--Partial closure of the gap in the center of the image

--Blacker background

--Slightly improved isolation

Consequences of the mod

--In the process, you will rub off the lettering on the outside of the ear cups, an already noted problem with the Denons.

--You've got one or two chances to get this right-- the teeny tiny screws can be unscrewed once easily, after that you may have a hard time getting them to go back in securely.

--YOU. VOID. YOUR. WARRANTY.

What You Will Need

--2 standard 1/2" thick sponges

--Some cotton balls

--A set of tiny Phillips head screw-drivers like they make for glasses

--Some 1/2" electrical tape

--2 plastic cups with a 2.5? diameter at the top

-----------------------Procedure-----------------------

Step 1: Remove the Ear Pads.

--Place the flat of your palms firmly up against the ear pad, and applying even, firm pressure, twist the pad counter-clockwise. It will pop out of the assembly.

Step 2: Unscrew the Driver Assembly from the Headband Assembly

--You will notice 4 tiny phillips head screws, screwed into the metal. Unscrew them and set aside these screws, they are slightly different from the screws in the wood enclosure (see Step 3). The wooden ear cup and the driver will detach from the main assembly. Make a mental note of what the holes look like that you just removed these screws from.

--You will notice a foam ring that will likely fall out at this stage. Don't worry, it just sits in there loosely and can be re-seated when you are done mod-ing.

Step 3: Unscrew the Wooden Ear Cup From the Driver Assembly

--You will see 4 tiny phillips head screws that attach the driver into the wood of the earcup. Unscrew them and set these screws aside, keeping them separate from the other screws from Step 2. Remember which screws go where. Make a mental note of what the holes look like that you just removed these screws from, you will need this info later, and you will forget und get stuck unless you do so! :)

Step 4: Add Sponge Damping to Inside of Wooden Ear Cup

--Why sponge? It is denser than cotton (which likely wouldn't do much), and lighter than Blue-Tak and will conform nicely to the shape of the bowl. It absorbs a lot of vibration. It works.

--Take the wooden ear cup and place it on top of your sponge. Trace around the outside of the cup with a pencil to mark out a circle. Cut out your template. Cut some tiny indentations in each of the 4 corners where there are portusions in the wood that have the holes for the screws.

--Stuff the sponge into the inside of the earcup. Press down until there is no air between the sponge and the wood. You will need to do some slight trimming around the edges to get the sponge to fit, but try to get as much sponge inside the earcup as possible.

--The rear of the driver portrudes out into the ear cup. You will not be able to put the ear cup back onto the driver assembly without hollowing out a little space in the center of the sponge. There is no need to cut an entire hole in the sponge. Instead, take an x-acto knife and extend the blade approx one quarter inch and lock in place. Draw a circle in the middle of the sponge within the ear cup the size of the rear of the driver. Use the x-acto knife to cut a quarter inch into the sponge around the perimeter of the circle you drew. You may be surprised to find a layer of sponge 1/4" deep will peel away from the rest of the sponge leaving a 1/4" layer of sponge behind where the butt of the driver will rest. If it doesn'y all peel off, pick at it and scrape it carefully with the x-acto knife until you have created a hollow.

--The ear cup still will not attach fully to the driver assembly. This is because of the cables that attach to the back of the driver (see pic). The cord is thick and there is a little knot in it that rests inside the ear cup housing. You will need to cut a 1/4" channel in the sponge to match where the cable lays; again, no need to cut a full hole in the sponge. This will leave enough room for the cable so you can now put the ear cup back on the driver assembly.

102507002kt0.jpg

Step 5: Re-Attach the Ear Cup to the Driver Assembly

--You will see 2 potential sets of holes into which to screw your 4 screws, and by this time you may have forgotten which was which. It's too hard to describe with words which set of holes is for attaching the wood back to the driver and which are for attaching the driver back to the headphone assembly, so you will have to make careful mental notes before you unscrew them back in Steps 2 & 3.

--Put the wooden cup in place up against the rear of the driver, making sure the wires fit squarely into the channels you cut for them in Step 4.

--Using the correct screws and holes, screw them back into the wood.

Step 6: Re-Attach the Driver Assembly to the Headband Assembly

--By this time there will be a lot of slack in the cord where you pulled the driver assembly away from the headphone assembly to do the work. Pull the cord atached to the rear of the driver back through the hole until there is no more slack and the driver fits back into place in the headphone assembly.

--Re-fit the foam ring back into the center hole if it has come out.

--Using the correct screws and holes, screw them back into the metal assembly.

--Voila! You have just applied a very effective amount of damping. I recommend getting out your most bass-tastic piece of electronica and listen to it before doing the mod. Place your hands on the earcups and then on the metal arms that attach the ear cups to the headband assembly. Try to remember how much vibration you could sense, and then repeat the experiment after the mods. You will notice at least a 50% reduction in vibration. Not perfect, but vastly improved.

Step 7: Stuff the Ear Pads With Cotton

--You will notice on the underside of the ear pads, there is a little white plastic ring that has notches in it that re-attach the pad to the headphone assembly.

--You will also notice that there is no direct way to access inside the pad where the existing padding is; it's been sewn shut. No problem.

--Take a cotton ball and pull it gently apart into a longer strip. Take the strip of cotton and stuff it up under the plastic ring into the space between the ring and the existing padding. You will be surprised how much space will open up in there and how much cotton you can get in there.

--Continue to stuff as much cotton as you can all along the outside edge under the plastic ring; you will need to kneed it and keep pushing it in with your fingers, and eventually you can get a fairly dense and thick layer of cotton in there. If the cotton seems to portrude out a little mnore than you'd like at this stage, don't worry (this is actually good), we will deal with that shortly.

102507006ks7.jpg

--This step is CRUCIAL! You are about to tape the ring in place which means you cannot adjust it once you are done with the stuffing mod. You must now make sure all 4 of the little prongs are situated in the exact right place to make sure that the pad goes on correctly in the right position. Before you begin taping, the ring will readily move clockwise or counterclockwise within the ear pad. Rotate the ring within the pad, and keep experimenting with it in the assembly until you figure out exactly where the right position is so the pad will go on correctly when you are done. Once you find that position, make sure the ring does not move from it.

--Now for the electrical tape. Why electrical tape? It's rubbery and flexible, and adhere's readily to pleather and fabric and cotton. It is there to help contain the cotton.

--Cut 3/4" strips of your 1/2" electrical tape. Attach one end of one strip to the edge of the pleather pad, fold it over and tuck the bottom of the tape up under the cotton. You will find this step will help contain the cotton, and push it further under the ring in case you were worried you had too much cotton. Continue placing strips of tape around the edge of the pleather and tuck under the cotton. This will create a nice (but not sufficient, see next Step) wall/barrier that will keep the cotton contained and firmly together so it won't come out and cover up the driver.

102507007ed6.jpg

--Take a plastic cup with a 2.5" diameter top. Cut away the rest of the cup, leaving a very thin ring of plastic. Place the 2.5" little ring of plastic inside the ear cup. If you've done everything correctly, this 2.5" ring will fit snugly up against the electrical tape and in combo with the tape, will be a strong enough barrier to prevent cotton from spreading into areas you don't want it to go.

102507011eb2.jpg

--Situate the pad back on the headphone assembly, and using firm pressure with your palm, turn clockwiseuntil it snaps into place.

--Oooh, now lok how plump and full your ear pads are!

102507013mz5.jpg

--But, uh-oh! :( What kind of headphone is this? Bye-Bye writing on the ear cups...

102507012ab1.jpg

Conclusion

And there you have it! I'm confident you will find these mods very worth-while. It sounds a lot more difficult than it is (it's really easy), and I know I didn't take enough pics, but there ya go. :allteeth:

I always suspected this, but it's still really ear-opening to start to understand just how much the rest of the headphone outside of the driver actually influences the sound you hear. It's not enough to have a great driver; you can't get lazy and stop there like Denon did, who seem to have totally botched every other aspect of this headphone. The driver is a work of art, one of the best made, but the rest of the assembly fails to capitalize on it. These mods help!

Anyway, I almost can't believe how much I'm enjoying them now. My R10s are literally shaking in their boots. No lie. :)

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Is that what you're handing out for Halloween tonight?

mmmm...beeeeets....

I personally have never agreed with markl's impressions and how he hears things. Even though I have never heard the denon d5000's, the way he describes the R10's, compared with how I hear them, makes me believe that I would not get the d5000's stock or modded whatsoever. I will leave it at that.

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Were the R10 really that good? pfft

Yes, but not to the level of the HEV90+HE90 combo but certainly very close. :) Of course, I'm biased but both Mulveling and Tom Hankins agreed with my finding when they came over. The R10 is all about powerful amp and source. They are the most picky headphones I have deal with to date.

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Yes, but not to the level of the HEV90+HE90 combo but certainly very close. :) Of course, I'm biased but both Mulveling and Tom Hankins agreed with my finding when they came over. The R10 is all about powerful amp and source. They are the most picky headphones I have deal with to date.

My post was light hearted with the Head-Case "pffft". I don't think they're that great, just my opinion.

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IMO, you can mod a headphone to have a tighter bass and a more natural high but you can't improve the midrange,details, and soundstaging.

It's possible, but it takes a hell of a lot more than the markl mods, which is just sticking a sponge in it and filling out the earpads. You're going to have to use blu-tack or plumber's putty, felt pads, cotton stuffing, and possibly make physical alterations to the headphone housings or even the driver itself.

What do you think? Can the modification be as good as claimed?

Markl claims the following:

--Tightening of bass response, to the point it no longer intrudes into the rest of the sound

--Slight attenuation of bass volume, allowing the mids and highs to bloom a little more, improving resolution

--Removal of a considerable amount of the vibration in the assembly, which yields a less ?farty? bass sound and less blurry image.

--Bigger soundstage left-to-right and up and down, plus greater soundstage depth

--Partial closure of the gap in the center of the image

--Blacker background

--Slightly improved isolation

IMO, they're all plausible except for the one I bolded. From my experience with my K340's, sponge doesn't have significant vibration damping properties and I very much doubt it's going to remove a bunch of vibration from the headphone. The only way I can think of it working is that the D5000 rattles like a sumbitch due to loose assembly, and the sponge provides enough spring tension to keep things from moving.

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IMO, they're all plausible except for the one I bolded. From my experience with my K340's, sponge doesn't have significant vibration damping properties and I very much doubt it's going to remove a bunch of vibration from the headphone. The only way I can think of it working is that the D5000 rattles like a sumbitch due to loose assembly, and the sponge provides enough spring tension to keep things from moving.

Someone in the thread noted that the denon's rattles decreased when they simply tightened the screws.

Biggie.

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I found it all a bit bizarre. I read his old review of the R10s and agreed with much of it, minus the some of the flowery language (though some I understand), but his thoughts re D5000 confuse me with what I've heard of the D5000s. Even his thoughts before the mod confused me a bit. It's just not my experience. They're nice enough, but do not sound like R10s...unless...what the heck amp is he using with R10s? I think he has that new Marantz source. That still wouldn't explain it, imo, but perhaps somewhat. It's a bit baffling.

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Yeah. I can't ever agree with Markl fully (Though I mean he said the R10s are very good for a long time and I agree with that) since dude hates the Qualias. I am skeptical of anyone that polarizes that hard to anything without at least including the disclaimer that he/she can understand how other people can like it or... another issue might be at play (Fit etc in the case of Qualias).

I don't see how the mods can bring the d2k/5k to the level of R10s because my problem with the Denons is 2 pronged. 1. Muddled sound signature regardless of which amp was used with it (Mods may fix the muddledness) 2. The fact that the sound doesn't change with the swap of components (Doesn't scale... how do the mods change that?). Unless there's some specific element between removed/swapped that was actually the factor that causes the headphone to impose a sound signature so heavy handedly on a set up... i don't see how the mods can fix that.

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Someone in the thread noted that the denon's rattles decreased when they simply tightened the screws.

Talk about half-ass assembly procedures.

I'll also post a full length review on the cans, having not heard them. Can't wait to read how many people agree with my findings. ^^

Biggie.

The sad part is you could probably write a better and more accurate review than some of the people who actually own them.

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