So if you’ve read my other thread, you’ll know that I have been working on rebuilding some Beyerdynamic DT990s. Well, the proper jack finally came in, so here we go!
#Step 1: Print stuff
I’ve made some models of new earcups, but it’s up to you to print them. Mine were printed at 40% infill, no scaling, 0.2mm layer height, using black Verbatim PLA.
YouMagine | Thingiverse
Note: If I update the earcups the files will be updated on both sites.
#Step 2: Get your shit together
You’ll probably want
- Small slotted screwdriver
- T6 Torx (for earcups)
- T10 Torx (for headband)
- Wire strippers/cutters
- Soldering iron
- Multimeter (optional, but they’re really handy)
- The actual parts (wires, earcups, foam cup things, drivers, headband, et cetera)
#Step 3: Route the wire through the earcup
insert sex joke here
#Step 4: Strip and partition the wire
Make sure you don’t trash too many conductors. Notice that the shielding is being used as well. Twist the shielding like the media twists the truth.
#Step 5: Desolder the old wire
Pop pop pop, watchin’ wires drop.
#Step 6: Solder me like one of your German headphones
Solder the wire to + (marked with the red paint), and the shielding to the farthest away contact.
#Step 6b: Solder me like the other ear of one of your German headphones
No pictures for this step, but to solder the left ear it’s pretty much the same process except that there are a couple extra wires. For the left ear you need the + wire for the left signal to go to the + terminal (again, marked by red), the + wire for the right signal to go to the middle terminal, and both - wires to go to the - terminal. Looking at the back of the driver, like in the picture in step 6, there will be one wire to the left terminal, two wires to the middle (one from outside and one going to the other ear), and two to the right terminal (both - wires). It seems a bit weird at first, but the middle terminal isn’t actually connected to anything, it’s there for the sole purpose of being a solder point for the + wire of the right ear. Since the setup is unbalanced the - signals for both ears are strapped together (most headphones are like this).
#Step 7: Place the weird fabric stuff and the foam cup thing into the earcup
The fabric is primarily cosmetic, so if you’re like me and lost it somehow, just leave it out. The cup with the foam is just friction fit, so it should just push in.
#Step 8: Place the driver
There’s a small tab on the outside of the frame of the driver. I got your back though, there are four matching slots around the perimeter of the earcup to choose from.
#Step 9: Black foam matters
Semi-ironically it goes on top of a white driver.
#Step 9+1: Snap fit ring
This mofo is designed to fit tight. It too has a tab, but once again it fits in any of the four slots. Snap it in like a dislocated shoulder.
#Step 11: Hey, that side’s done!
You’re half way there!
#Step 12: Put everything together
Assuming both ears were actually done.
#Step Final (a.k.a. Step Lucky Number 13): Sound test
Make sure it, you know, actually works. Preferably using your work in progress FrankenAmp and using that beefcake 3.5mm cable you made last week that you could probably strangle an elephant with. If you don’t have those, acquire them, and then test out your almost new and kinda shiny headphones! Or don’t, I’m not your boss.
First thing’s first, I completely forgot how much I loathe this headband until I put it on again for the first time in over a month. There’s pretty much zero clamping force, the earcups slide down because the detents keeping them in position are meager at best, and the plastic bits holding the yokes to the headband dig into my head. It’s not because of the new earcups, it did the exact same things before the modifications.
They are surprisingly nice looking, even at a .2mm layer height. From a distance one can’t really even tell that they are 3D printed earcups, they really just look like normal plastic cups, just slightly glossy. I also like the lack of branding on the outside now, I’ve never been a fan of big, gaudy logos and text on things, there’s an elegance in simplicity.
Surprisingly enough, they sound pretty damn close to what I remember them sounding like before. The standard DT990 V-shaped response curve is still there, soundstage is still there, and imaging is still good. The difference I’m possibly picking up is that voices seem to be a bit more defined, if that makes sense? I’m not really sure how to describe it other than it feels like voices are more… there, I guess.
I’m definitely going to look into trying to find replacement headbands for sure. I may actually look into seeing if I can get somebody to print a test headband out of nylon or something, a headphone with as many printed parts as possible would be pretty nifty.
Anyways, I’ll also probably try to fix the detent/plastic bit situation as a temporary solution to the fitting issues. It may even be something as simple as copying the existing pieces and just making a smoother bevel around the edges or something.
Aside from those few things, I think this was a worthwhile endeavor. I had fun designing and building them, I learned a couple things, and they still sound pretty good. Overall a pleasant experience.
I’m half tempted to print a set of earcups in a translucent material and stick some LEDs in them for shits and giggles.