DIY Headphone Measurement Contest Winners! Coolest Looking

Coolest Looking DIY Headphones
When DIYers get serious about making a headphone sound good, it's mostly about stuff going on inside the headphones, so often the exterior of the headphone is little changed. But every once in a while, someone decides they're gonna do the full Monty, and builds a headphone from scratch ... or nearly so. The often monstrous results speak of the enthusiasm with which they were built, and these headphones glow with the love, care, and mania endowed to them by the maker. Judging here was purely subjective on my part; I picked headphones that tickled my headphone geek fancies. Prizes were picked for their interesting appearance.

On to the first winner, a monstrous headphone indeed.

3rd Place - FrankenTex by 4nradio

The thing I loved about these was that 4nradio did a spectacular job of cleanly bodging together a wide variety of parts from numerous headphones. This build was very nicely executed.

From 4nradio's notes:

it's a JVC & Fostex headphones mashup! My DIY orthodynamic headphones is made from a JVC HA-RX900 chassis, and drivers from the popular Fostex T50rp, with JMoney aftermarket ear pads designed to fit the Denon AH-D2000. I converted the earcups to open style using a 2-1/2" drill bit and covered the opening from the inside with perforated grill material from a $2.99 bookshelf speaker (Goodwill store find).

He then went on to give them a name and a logo. A marvelously cheerful effort in manufacturing and marketing a production run of one for a single customer: himself. You can read the InnerFidelity article here.

4nradio's prize will be the House of Marley "Stir it Up," an overly dark sounding can, built with very interesting and appealing looks. Maybe with some work 4nradio can get these headphones to brighten up a bit.

2nd Place - Thundersticks by ilikepie116

Klondike bars don't do it for ilikepie116 because they don't have a stick, and he needed 143 of them to make his modified Fostex T50RP he calls "Thundersticks!" I loved his willingness to do something so silly, this will no doubt be a conversation starter at many a headphone meet. Great job! Here's his notes:

Headphones started out life as Fostex T50RP's. A couple months ago, I had a vision of headphones made from popsicle sticks - so I finally got to it. The "Thundersticks" are created from 143 popsicle sticks, glued together in layers. Paxmate and blu-tak were used for dampening (and sealing). Cable was a A/V cord that came with a digital camera repurposed.

The Thundersticks sound like the T50RPs after some modification. The bass is not slapping you in the face.. but is in symphony with the other frequencies. YES! There is perhaps a slight harsh peak in the upper midrange that I especially noticed with Norah Jones' voice. There might be some imaging problems with these, but don't know how to tell other than my own judgement.

He's got a great set of pix on his Facebook page, I don't think I've ever seen that much glue used to build a pair of headphones.

For his efforts, ilikepie116 will receive a pair of Fanny Wang 3000 in custom colors selected by me to be as fugly as possible. These are noise canceling headphones with bass boost that sound absolutely horrid in either mode. Fortunately, they work without the electronics turned on, and sound much better in passive mode. Saves on batteries that way too.

1st Place - Yamaha YHD2 by dBel84
DIYOrtho_YamahaYHD2_dBel84HP4_photo Talk about a hand made headphone, I think dBel84 started with a tree and a cow, and went from there. I thought these little gems with hand sewn pads and hand carved earcups were spectacular for their steampunk looks. I kept expecting to see blood stains somewhere as evidence of his efforts.

Here's a quote from 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 ThunderPants . They have been tuned for their use: an 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.

You can see the innerFidelity article here.

First prize in this category is a pair of limited edition, Chicago Bulls Skullcandy Mix Masters. I like this headphone, and think it's one of the better full-size, sealed cans out there. Congratulations, mate, great job!

On to the worst measuring cans ...