DIY Orthodynamic Headphones by dBel84 Page 3

Yamaha YHD2

dBel84 - My travel cans – modded Yamaha YHD2. Cups gruelingly hand sculpted – cut with a hacksaw and filed down to shape (never again). The YHD series were the last line of orthos made by Yamaha, they followed the HP1/100/2 series. Drivers are smaller, designed to be completely open, but still need a kilowatt amp to make em sing. These are damped with lens cloth microfiber, a thicker absorptive donut and felt lining the cup. They are ported similar to the TP’s . They have been tuned for their use – mp3 player on the move. Probably best to describe them as having the “British” sound – little emphasis around 100Hz and top end pushed as best as one can for a vintage center pinned driver. It is the smallest of all orthos (if we exclude that crazy genius of engineering the YH5M ) Pads are self stitched – lambskin with memory foam.

Tyll - O! M! G! "gruelingly hand sculpted" is right. The effort and dedication just radiates from these little gems. I absolutely love the hand stitched leather earpads. These are the cans that had me tearing up when I removed them from the packaging materials and realized how much blood, sweat, and tears I was holding in my hands. Very cool.

The bass, again, is the big surprise: very articulate and punchy. The highs are somewhat missing and are very positionally sensitive, so with careful placement some balance is regained. Overall, these cans are a bit uneven and warm, but the listening was surprisingly lush and enjoyable for a can this small. Having recently reviewed the DT 1350 and heard what it sounds like to squeeze a lot of performance out of small, sealed, portable cans, I'll remark that I found some similarities. Though I heard some unevenness and some congestion, after a bit of mental adjustment, they became a very enjoyable listen.

Wikiphonia Yamaha YHD-2 page.

Clearly a lot of love and care has gone into these headphones, and I want to thank dBel84 for parting with them for a little while so that I could measure and have the pleasure of their company. Certainly, the measurements show, and my listening bares out, that these are fairly decent headphones. It's really too bad development didn't continue back in the day, as we may have had headphones like the HiFiMAN HE-500 and Audez'e LCD-2 long before now.

More resources after the video!

Previous InnerFidelity DIY Orthodynamic post here.
Head-Fi "Orthodynamic Roundup" Thread.
A great resource for vintage headphones, Wikiphonia.


dBel84's picture

Thanks Tyll , just blown away at how seriously terribly the wharfedales measure. An old curmudgen once said, "Give a listener flat response between 100 and 10000 Hz (with nothing to compare it to) and he'll be perfectly happy. For awhile, at least" Hopefully my while will keep on going as I seriously love those cans. To fill in a few voids re the origin of the zebrawood - they came from a now unobtanium online headphone that sounded like it should for the money and the Telefunken pads were in poor shape , the stax srx were as close as I could match and that is what was on the sample you had. Very intrigued by the HP50 findings as at most small meets this is the ortho loved by most. I had a lot of fun , glad you did too ..dB

svyr's picture

>Zebrawood Wharfedale

those look pretty sweet (like Stax 4070 woodies :D )

UtzY's picture

Talking about Stax, I really want to see how well they measure. I've seen many but I not so detailed like Tyll's. :)

PS: Please Tyll, I know that they aren't your priority, but make this site a one-stop destination for this kind of things :)

svyr's picture

mm, I'd love to see the graphs for SR 202,404, 407,507 and some omegas.

Unfortunately it doesn't seem likely many people will send those in :D...Maybe if Tyll attends meet.

Same goes for high end IEMs btw.

Tyll Hertsens's picture

Bringing the measurement gear to meets would be a bit of an ordeal, and the noise level might mess up the THD measurements. I've done it before, but I think it's unlikely again ... but we'll see.

I will get to electrostatics measurements eventually, I promise. It will just be a while.

sgrossklass's picture

I'm quite impressed by the results on some of these. The T-10s could almost pass for an early HD595 (albeit a much less sensitive one), or a DT880-32. Save for the lowest octaves, I'd say these are definitely better than the Thunderpants (which are likely to be limited by their drivers).

Those HP-50s look like they could even use a wee bit MORE damping still, in spite of already being quite insensitive as-is. Not bad at all for a freebie!

Now some of the others clearly measure like yesteryear's technology, but still gems like these show the potential of orthos. Without the whole ortho DIY scene, we certainly wouldn't be seeing new commercial models nowadays.