Saturday, October 13, 2012

Recabling my Grados SR80

The recable excercise was inspired by CyberSpyder at Head-Fi. Go there if you are into high-end listening :3

Long story, I had my grados recabled by the local dealer here awhile back, and they started to disintegrate. Again. I have this feeling that the materials used are not suitable for use in the UK, as my grados have lasted probably 5, 7 years with no issues, and only started to have the rubber fall apart when I came to the UK for work.

I decided to do it myself, as I don't see the point in getting the dealer to recable it again, if it will just fall apart as it did. Hunted around for people to recable it for me, but they're very expensive, and really more for the serious audiophile type, which I am not. Hence, DIY!

The cables I used were the same type as CyberSpider above, Mogami 2983. The local dealer was sadly out of stock and took about 6 weeks for me to get my cables. The 2983s had 4 cores with a copper shield. Two of the cables were for ground, and the other two for the left and right channel. The copper shield was unused, though probably it may help get rid of some efi. I guess :P

The stereo plug I used is the Canare F-12, also from Japan. I really wanted to use a right angled Neutrik - because I like the brand (my mic uses a custom built cable, neutriks on both ends) and they look soooo cool, but the inner diameter was too small for my needs.

There is some strain relief cables inside that I braided together, and covered the entire thing with heat shrink sleeving.
Tada! Covered with the heatshrink above.

 I should have taken more photos of this part, but after the heat shrink, all of the cable was covered with expandable nylon sleeving. Tricky thing, not only does it fray at the end (melt the ends with the hot air gun!), due to it expanding it shrinks in length. I was quite surprised at how much more sleeving was needed, and I am very thankful that I bought the nylon sleeving separately on ebay, and it came with a 3m length as minimum.

Here's some details of the ends further shrink wrapped. Cable ties were used for strain relief, just like the originals.

Here's it all assembled up. I actually didn't hot glue the cups together, as I don't have a hot glue gun. I'll see how it holds up :P

Audio wise, I can't say it is better or worse than the stock grado cabling; there is no way to do a 1:1 comparison. What I can say, is that I'm very happy to get my grados back. During the wait for the cables, I have been using Shure SE215s for listening (paired with my Cowon D2+), and I am not a fan of them - they sound very flat to my ears, and the bass is uninspiring. I primarily bought them to replace my lost Sennheiser CX330s, and for the price, I can't say they are a good match for me.

What the SE215s are really good for though, is critical listening for music production - I'm thinking that because of they are IEMs and having a good seal allows me to pick up artifacts (like noise) in samples that I can't with my headphones. A more likely fact is that I have crap ears.

The other pair of headphones (in my videos) I use regularly, are the AKG240s MK2s. They have a very different signature from the Grados. I feel that they are able to pull out more details than the grados, but are not as upfront as the grados. The 240s are relegated to mixing and piano playing.

Hope I don't have to go through this recabling thing too soon, it took about 4 hours from start to finish, not as much fun as I thought :P

In any case, I am very glad the recabling went with no major issues. Some aspects could be improved, e.g. I only bought 2 metres worth of cable, I would probably have liked to have it longer. Very glad to have my old companion back in action with me.

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