HE-500 - old war horse remade with mods

HE-500. There must have been previous postings, here is mine.

  1. stock cable is microphonic, flimsy, and emphasizes the treble. Any DIY/aftermarket copper should outperform that. Cuts the ridiculously long overtones of cymbals.

  2. pad: the Dan Clark Ether Angled gives the most even FR performance of the 12 I’ve used. When paired with the open/more open rear screen removal/replacement, the head stage width grows to an unbelievable 135 degrees on top notch recordings.

  3. Fuzzor mod. Remove pads, measure (non magnetic tool) the width/length of the magnets running vertically. Get felt with a sticky back, cut it, apply. This mod cuts down the early reflection cancellations and IM. A delay in the “rear stage” increases the sense of depth - maybe the biggest hill headphones have to climb. In plain language you get a big increase in instrument space and definition. The single most important mod for these. Been done hundreds or thousands of times. Really cuts the cymbal decay. Also mitigates some of the ringing they suffer from.

  4. Mass loading. I use strips of dynamat on the backside along the edge of the outside rim and the face. I use 3 pieces cut to: 2.2"x.5", 1.4"x.5", .9"x.5" distributed with equal open space between the 3. More over damps the bass. None even with a Rag 1 has the sustain notes under 150 Hz last too long. If you like that sort of thing, don’t do it, If you like low Q (.707 or under) bass then try it. Easily applied/removed. I’ve tried sorbothane - potent, but poor glue, and blu tack - weak effect.

  5. Rear screens: I used to use .5" groundcloth, but after install/remove 3 times the outside “legs” start getting weak. I go nude now. I also bag my cans when not in use and keep them off the floor.

  6. headband. stock is heavy and gets shaggy or breaks. Luckily, I got a HE-4XX (well, that wasn’t lucky), but the headband is lighter and better padded. There are other solutions.

  7. Don’t forget it likes a 2+ watt amp, it’s OK with 1.5 wpc @ 38 Ohms.

  8. Digital parametric EQ. There is a slight hollowness in the mids, a slight fatness in the 100-800 Hz range, missing some bass under 30 Hz. A spot in the low treble (4050) they need a boost. Need a narrow but deep cut at 10k (ringing), and a small cut around 19500 Hz. Mods cannot do that, and EQ without mods cannot do what the mods do.
    IMO, set up like that it’s far better than the Ananda (my pick for that price range). It’s a classic that still has use today.