DIY Orthodynamic Headphone Measurements and Contest
In preparing my article “How Planar Magnetic Headphones Work” I became enamored of the work being done by DIYers building their own Orthodynamic cans over in the "Orthodynamic Roundup thread" on Head-Fi. The blood, sweat, and tears invested in building and modifying vintage Yamaha Orthodynamics, and cans like the Fostex T50RP is simply stunning, but more striking is the sense of fun and camaraderie so clearly evident in their headphone play that I simply can’t resist trying to find a way to enter into the party in some way.
I think I’ve figured out what I can do.
Measuring DIY Cans
One of the difficulties for Orthodynamic DIYers is tuning headphones by ear. We all know how notoriously difficult it is to agree on subjective impressions. That problem gets seriously worse when you’re trying to tweak a pair for better performance. Ortho DIYers are constantly exchanging information and tips amongst the hoard in order to get a read on their own developments and how to continue making improvement, but it’s not easy.
I’d like to offer my assistance by measuring DIY Ortho headphones. I believe this will add another layer of understanding to their process, and provide some objective feedback for Ortho DIYers efforts. If you are an Ortho DIYer and would like to have your cans measured, and their performance added to the database of cans for posterity, you may contact me by PM on Head-Fi (my profile page here) and we’ll get it done.
But! I think it would be fun to sweeten the pot and have a little contest:
There will be three winners in the contest. I’ll be the judge:
First Place --- Goes to the best measuring headphone. Winner gets my pair of Audez’e LCD-2s. Yes … the one that’s currently in pieces after taking them apart for the article. I’ll be a nice guy and put them back together and test them before they go out to you with their own datasheet.
Second Place --- Goes to the worst measuring headphones. (This should be good.) Winner gets the best sounding headphones I’ve got available at the time. (Worst case, I’ll have another set of AKG Q701s from the burn-in testing. But I might be able to do better by the time this is over.)
Third Place --- Goes to the coolest looking pair of cans. I just love the steampuck, Beverly Hillbilly, whack-o, and weird lookin’ crazy inventiveness (and possibly lack of style sense) DIYers pull off sometimes. Coolest doesn’t necessarily mean “most beautiful,” but of course, it might. (Same story as above, I'll try to get my hands on something good.)
They have to work and make it through testing. I will play 100dB levels in them for about five minutes for the THD+noise measurement.
You have to have a piece of paper in the box with your: name; Head-Fi name; email address; home phone; and return shipping address.
Your name has to be on the headphones somewhere. I don’t want to mix them up and send them off to the wrong people. Simply scotch taping your name on a piece of paper onto the cable would be fine.
If you pack your headphones with bubblewrap, please do not tape it together. It makes it hard to get the cans out (I don't like using knives near peoples hand made cans) and hard to reuse the packing materials. Thanks.
You have to email me a two paragraph essay: first paragraph is a description of the headphones (headphone it was based on; wood used; damping used); second paragraph is your description of how they sound. Total has to be 500 words or less. Please attach a jpg picture no more than 600 pixels wide if possible. I will post these as add-ons to this page.
You pay the shipping to me; I’ll pay the return shipping. I’m sorry, I really can’t commit to return shipments of international headphones at this time, but if you pay the shipping both ways I’d be happy to do it.
Contest will end April 1, 2012. That way we can be sure to have given as many people as possible a chance to get their cans measured, and we'll have a nice big data base of measurements for the DIYers to work with.
Guess what! We have our first two contestants! Check it out after the video.