Miracles in Audio, by luck, by good choices,by design or by tweaking...


I owned a low cost headphone for many years, the Fostex TH7B, first version( a new one close version exist Fostex TH7BK), semi-open headphone...I was never completely satisfied by any headphones I ever owned: Hifiman 400, Stax basic lamda, Stax 5 gold,Akg 340,Akg 701, beyerdynamic 990, and T150... Because in each of them with all their qualities I never listen to at the same times, a confortable headphone with natural timbre and voicing, with a good imaging and a realistic soundstage(not too close to my ears)...


For the last days I tweaked this Fostex, to damp his internal resonance I used sorbothane, I put some shungite stones at the exterior part of the cups and I use some Herkimer diamond in the interior pads( 3 at 120 degree) … Now this low cost headphones crush all my others if I sum all his qualities... For example his mids and voicing cannot beat the AKG 340 but among all my other headphones it is the best that is near that mids and it is more confortable, and with longer cable than the 340...His imaging is better and more realistic than the 340 etc etc...It is the same if I compare with the others...


His most important qualities is natural timbre and clear imaging,very precise pinned point accuracy and natural, so clear it crush for that ALL the others to dust...In the French audio circle the reviews were more than very positive few years ago...Diapason d’or and choc Classica...I am not the only one impressed buy the ratio quality/price... But remember that thesae reviewers dont tweak their headphone...The difference between before and after the tweaks are staggering...


Yes Miracles happens in Audio: cost is under 100 American dollars... Few years ago they cost me 50 bucks new... I never dreamed that I will go back to headphones...


I will enjoy your miracles stories of any kind ….My best to all...
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Precisely that, I read it like a serious opinion then I give my take on it, without prejudice, for me plain solid rocks works, and powder reduced one too in different application like on cable...

By the way I added some Fo.Q tape 2 days ago on my Fostex headphone, they already have some of this tape on them dated from 2 years ago, with success... The Fostex TH 7 B is a TOTL headphone unbeknown to almost all reviewer  at cheap cost (less than 100 bucks new) , a miracle wonder, but plagued by heavy resonace all across the spectrum because of his plastic made cups...Damping them with sorbothane but mostly Fo.Q tape transform them in the better headphone I ever listen to...Herkimer stones in the inside cups achieve the job and they are spealer-like now with natural timbre and organic imaging...For 50 bucks new at the times I receive them, I underestimated them for years, because of their price and bad resonance...After I tweak them WOW, upgrading them is impossible at a cheap cost...

This Fo.Q tape is composed of powder reduced crystals of some kind...Like you already know crystals are efficient for damping also...
Good thing for me you didn’t patent teeny tiny crystals 20 years ago Geoff. Otherwise my rampant and dangerous free sample spree might be over before I set the tweek industry reeling with my ambitious goal to give away 10 units worldwide. One of them to you I was vainly hoping, to satsfy my egotistical desire for advanced tweeker peer recognition.
Geoff - I probably meant electromagnetic interference. Anyway, it's not vibration because the hood works at a considerable distance, even when not touching the equipment.

whostolethebatmobile
"
I probably meant electromagnetic interference."

You mean you don't know what you meant??? Then how are we supposed to know what you meant!
That's your problem, clearthink.
Now I get it. You were holding the hood while you evaluated the sound. You don’t think rf can do an end run around the hood? The whole room is filled with rf at all times, very hook and cranny. It moves at the speed of light. What is required is a comprehensive and effective program of RFI/EMI absorption and shielding the likes of which the world has never seen. 
Acoustic vibration? There is more than one possibility, including expectation bias. Self fulfilling prophecy, 
I agree with your last sentence (about the comprehensive program).
If it was a self fulfilling prophecy, I’ll take it. I like those even better than placebo effects.
Exactly! Me, too! Right up there with self hypnosis. 😳
I think any pro skeptic who talks placebo effect does not know what he talks about....At the most  basic fundamental level of perception there is placebo effect in play...Without that how human can transform sensation in an individualised and personal perception be it of our own internal organs and body or any object we are linked to by intimate sensation...The line between objectivity and subjectivity is fractal like and created by collective consensus figuration and configuration... I apologize for my foolish rant... :) 
I can certainly see why you would like the effects of adding sorbothane to headphones.  I have been pointing this out for some time.   https://www.head-fi.org/threads/damping-mechanical-energy-distortion-of-stax-and-other-phones-with-sorbothane-and-other-materials.744839/

If you check my later posts in that thread you will find that I report that the type of sorbothane, size and manner of fastening make a large difference. In brief,   you want to use small pieces of dense (70 duro) sorb. Fastening is tricky, my best results are using a Lord commercial glue recommended by Sorbothane but which is expensive, and has a short shelf life after being opened.  

The theory of sorbothane is that it gets rid of vibrational energy by converting it to heat.  Probably all the vibrational energy  in your phones or speakers  ends up as heat in a fairly short period of time (milliseconds possibly.) The problem  for audio, I suspect is that this doesn't normally happen quickly enough,  so that this energy sits around in your headphone or speakers system long enough to end up back in the drivers, messing up the sound.    I see many suggestions that this energy causes the walls earcups etc to vibrate making audible sound.  I find this unlikely for most frequencies because wooden/plastic/metal cabinets or earcups  are going to need a massive amount of energy to start behaving like speakers themselves so as I say I think the problem is the energy messing up the drivers. 

 The discussion in this thread quickly shifted to the use of crystals which I have never tried.  But I do not understand what the physical principles are supposed to be operating here. 
Salutations Edstrelow, I participate on your thread and this get me on my journey, thanks to you my best...
Oh, geez, not him again! This is rapidly becoming my favorite thread. 🤗

edstrelow
These things (Brilliant Pebbles) have been around for quite a while I believe, and still not even a hint of what principle of physics is supposed to be involved. The statements about them are just meaningless generalizations.

>>>>Pop Quiz - which one of us took atomic physics in school. Three guesses. The first two don’t count.
Quick interrupt! The Backfire Effect in so many words.

Some think the backfire effect is due to a cognitive deficit: people view unfavorable information as being in agreement with their beliefs (Lebo and Cassino 2007). Nyhan and Reifler, however, interpret backfire effects "as a possible result of the process by which people counterargue preference-incongruent information and bolster their preexisting views." That seems like a roundabout way of saying that people dig in when confronted with evidence contrary to their beliefs, but it doesn't seem to explain why they do so.

Another explanation involves communal reinforcement and the assumption that there is more information you don't have that supports your belief. If one knows that there is a community of believers who share your beliefs and one believes that there is probably information you don't have but which would outweigh the contrary information provided, rationalization becomes easier. It is possible that the rationalization process leads one to give more weight to reinforcement by the community of believers. How much play one's belief gets in the media, versus the play of contrary information may also contribute to the backfire effect. If messages supporting your belief are presented far more frequently in the media than messages contrary to your belief, or presented repeatedly by people you admire, the tendency might be to give those supportive messages even more weight than before.
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Elisabeth what is pen blanks? 
I'm a big headphone guy these days. Until a couple years ago, I somehow hadn't heard the legendary Sennheiser HD650. Then a friend developed a comprehensive series of mods for this headphone. I purchased his next-to-last version of the mods (Jupiter Audio Research JAR650) and compared that to a stock HD650, then posted a review on Head-Fi. I really liked the stock HD650, wished I'd heard one sooner. The JAR650 bettered stock in every way. Evolutionary sonic differences, rather than revolutionary: but still, very welcome & pleasing. Later that year my friend updated my JAR650 further.

It remains one of my favorite headphones. The sound of that modded headphone is superb IMO. 

Mods can be very good, indeed...
desktopguy thanks very much for this interesting story ...You are right about mods. I think the same My best  to you...
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I know a thing or two about modding a Sennheiser HD-600.

My new acoustic resonators employ a base that is quite similar to pen blanks, only fatter. Oh, and it uses a slab of agate under the tiny bowl resonator.

I’m like Chickenman. He’s everywhere! He’s everywhere! 🐔 
Thanks Elisabeth... Another question,  for example do yo use the pen blanks, 4 of them, under an amplifier instead of  a butcher block?

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Thanks very much Elisabeth... It is cheap and more than promising.... I will try that one day ...My best to you...
Thanks to everyone who responded to my CrystalTop giveaway offer. The sample packs are all taken. A few went outside Audiogon, nevertheless to good homes. Best of luck with them when they arrive.
Speaking of hardwood blanks a good experiment to do is get several different types of the longer hardwood blanks 12” x 1” x 1” and lean one of the blanks up against the wall behind the speakers in between the speakers and see what that does to the sound. Try different locations behind the speakers. Also try room corners lean the 1 foot blank up against the wall. Other locations to try these blanks are against the side wall out in front of the speakers and at rear corners. Gabon ebony, rosewood, maple, almost any hardwood. Experiment. You are zee controlla. 🤗
I just ordered an 8 pack of Marigo VTS Dots for my SONY MDR-V700 headphones. The VTS Tuning Dots are constrained layer dampers of various sizes and colors - 2 mm up to about 1” depending on application. Larger VTS Dots are for walls and windows, sliding glass doors, back panel of TV, speaker cabinets, the small ones which vary in size and color go on speaker frames, circuit boards, power cord plugs, chassis of preamp and CD player, CD tray, what have you. Tony the Tiger 🐯 says, Grrrreat!
I put piece of sorbothane inside the speakers around the woofer and tweeters, with success too at much less cost...
I surely will buy these wood blanks and try them to tune something … Good idea to experiment with...Thanks Geoff...
In this business there is such a thing as being too cheap. No offense to anyone living or dead. It’s a risk-reward situation. 
In this business there is such a thing as "your ears are your best friend"... No offense to anyone wanting to be deaf. But it is a risk reward-situation.
We have another phrase for this sort of thing. Penny wise and pound foolish. 😬

Everything is relative. A. Einstein 😛
I have no idea which phrase...English is not my native tongue.... I am saved...


« if all is relative, the absolute is by itself the relation»  Lanza del vasto 
Yes, that was a close call. 
By the way Geoff, we wait, at least me, for your impressions using the S.G. ?  You are silent for that and you are not a silent man usually...?
It will be soon. Very soon. I am in the final stage of burning in my SONY MRD-V700 headphones. Both BLACK SR USB devices are suspended by a sub 1.0 Hz thingamabob at a height of 5 ft. All systems go. 
This word is not in the Oxford dictionary : «thingamabob»... Is this the cadaver of a mummified  golden Egyptian beetle? I think so but...
I always assumed it was a technical term. Like doohickey. And no, it doesn’t have anything to do with chicken bones.
We ever underestimated the negative impact of resonance and negative mechanical vibrations on the gear...Even those like us that are conscious of the fact... I added sorbothane (compressed with tapes because sorb must be compressed to works better) to separate more the 2 cups linked by the headband... After adding band of sorb along the plastic arms that pivot on the cups by 2 points, the results are more 3-d holographically organic imaging...I was amazed already by these cheap Fostex TH 7 , I am more amazed...This low cost Fostex are the best headphone ever relatively to the ratio quality/price...i will not upgrade this... The akg 701 dont have an organic 3-d imaging... Only an incoherent big soundstage, and mids frequencies more artificial than the Fostex… The Akg 340 is better for the mids frequencies, almost king there among most of the headphone, but his good imaging are more artificial than the Fostex, his soundstage smaller on all count...And this AKG is too unconfortable for long use...The Hifiman 400 is no match nor the Stax i owns for naturalness of the timbre musical or voice except the Stax SR5 very good on this count but less amazing in the imaging and soundstage...Fostex TH7, semi-open; the last version is completely closed, improved, but is the fantastic imaging the same? I will buy one for sure this year...


For me except the imperative necessity of the natural voicing of the timbre, the most important feature of an headphone is his capacity to mimic speakers, for that the sound must not be only around the brain, but must seems to come from at least outside the head with an atmospheric distance between instruments (imaging)...Almost all headphones lacks these 2, and those that posess the first quality 9like the AKG 340 or the Stax SR5) lack the second (many headphone like the AKG 701 are a compromise between these 2 qualities but they excel at none)...It is the reason that i try many headphones, and after all these trials conclude that headphones are not from me...I decide then to try at last the cheaper one, with many modifications, and the results is there : they sound better now, on par, but differently than my speakers...I enjoy headphones now very much... Is there better headphone than this Fostex ? Hell yes ! But probably over 500 bucks is my guess, perhaps more, because natural mids frequencies coupled with perfect organic imaging is probably linked to the TOTL line of headphone...Dont forget that new they sell them now 100 bucks at most...
First up...The Moody Blues, A Question of Balance

After he had journeyed,
And his feet were sore,
And he was tired,
He came upon an orange grove
And he rested.And he lay in the cool,
And while he rested, 
He took to himself an orange
And tasted it,
And it was good.
And he felt the earth to his spine,
And he asked,
And he saw the tree above him,
And the stars,
And the veins in the leaf,
And the light,
And the balance.
And he saw magnificent perfection,
Whereon he thought of himself in balance,
And he knew he was.

Next, Dear Prudence and Glass Onion off the Beatles’ White Album.

Wow! Wow! Wow! 😮
What if she won't come out to play?
Geoffkait is this your  review of the S.G. ?  
Some pictures of the  miracles might go a long way towards convincing others that they are real.   
That’s my reaction to the first time listening to my new set up, with two BLACK SR USB devices, new treated and burned in SONY MRD-V700 headphones, new isolation stand for my portable SONY Walkman CD player, new PWB color scheme for the CD, my Mystery Tweak for the CD, and New Dark Matter on the CD tray. 
It is the least detailed and more convincing review I ever read.... A bit frustrating for the reader tough but difficult to doubt it... But someone from the future need to be elliptical I imagine?