Wednesday, March 23, 2005

De-Bloating the Sony MDR-V700DJ

The Sony MDR-V700DJ has to be one of the most villified headphones on Head-Fi. To me, these are bloated in the mid-bass and slightly "rolled off" in the treble, but I don't think they are sonically terrible bearing in mind their typical selling price and their intended application as semi-consumer / semi-pro DJ style headphones. The rolled off higher treble, combined with the bloated mid-bass which serves to reduce the apparent agility of the phone is what causes the 'audiophiles' on Head-Fi to pronounce the phones worse than they actually are.

I happen to think that the V700 'as is' is a fairly good match with comparatively lean portable sources like the iPod for users who want to be entertained, not to analyse. It adds just the right amount of bloat IMO to balance out the bass of the iPod without EQ and keeps the trebles in check for long-term listening. However, to me the physical problems are more apparent: I think they're uncomfortable and too heavy.

If you've bought one of these phones unfortunately I'm not going to show you what I've done in respect of those physical issues, but what I am going to tell you about is a simple modification you can make to the V700 drivers to control some elements of the bloated mid-bass, which in my opinion is responsible for a lot of the perceived ills of the V700. Of course any mod can damage your phones and you follow my instructions at your own risk.

The key to this is a little hole on the back of the driver, in the 'paper' ring outside the centre magnet. If you take the earpads off by pulling them off in a circular pattern (and while you're at it, you can take off the felt discs in front of the driver if you wish), locate the three screws, remove them and flip open the V700's innards, you'll see a round hole a couple of millimeters across on the back of the driver. Making this hole smaller controls the amount of mid-bass that the V700 exaggerates. How to make a large hole smaller? The easiest way is to cut out a fairly thick paper cover for that general area, and prick a smaller hole in it using a small punch to line up with the hole in the driver... then sellotape the piece of paper on. It's best to start small, and experiment, moving upwards in hole size to achieve the sound you want. It's a good idea to get the holes in both earcups the same size.

You can also experiment with other aspects of the V700's earcup structure to control the sound. The V700 was specifically engineered to sound the way it does, and you can 're-engineer' it to sound otherwise.

1 comment:

Marek said...

Hey there.. I have a pair of these. They aren't the best. But for Dj'ing purposes they do work ok. Well the question is. Do you have a general ballpark and idea what the frequency response could be like for a certain diameter hole? I would be using them for dance/type mixing music. Any input would serve as a reference point to experimenting with sound. I like the lower frequncies but balance is more important. Thanks!