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beaucauchemar
39
Jan 11, 2018
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Spent quite a bit of time pad rolling and comparing the non-perforated Ori to the perforated Ori last night (both with the foam insert mod) using the same set of tracks at the same volume to see which was truly superior. In stock form with a couple of hours playtime, they sounded good, but not great pretty much across the board, which is why I got modding immediately. It's worth noting, as I outlined in a previous thread, that these 4XXs also have the grill mod using paper tray mesh and no dust screen along with having over 170 hours worth of play time. They also are using a custom silver-plated 22-gauge OFC cable from Amplifier Surgery. Equipment used in this comparison: straight from my XDP-100R playing the first few tracks from Steve Turre's Woody's Delight (mainly for balance, imaging, sibilance testing) and various tracks from Tame Impala's Currents (mainly for balance and soundstage testing). Updated Ratings after Ori pad comparison: 4XX (non-perforated Ori + grill mod + foam pad mod): treble 0 / mids -1 / lows +1 / soundstage -1.5 / imaging -1 / detail -1 4XX (perforated Ori + grill mod + foam pad mod): treble +0.25 / mids 0 / lows 0 / soundstage -0.5 / imaging 0 / detail -0.5 I started this comparison because I started feeling as though the perforated pads introduced a touch more treble tipping it into the warning zone for near-harshness. After the comparison though I came to the realization that the recording and volume must have influenced this thinking, as switching back to the non-perforated pads (neutral-dark) they exhibited an almost indistinguishable difference in harshness (which is to say very minimal, again depending on the recording.) The highest brass notes on Woody's Delight inspired only a single wince or two and when it happened it felt appropriate for the recording's intent and intensity. In this back and forth though I did notice that the non-perforated pads seemed a bit congested which I hadn't noticed without comparing and switching over to the perforated pads the sound opened up with more air/space and better imaging. Jazz recordings can get busy sounding and the perforated pads handled this with ease. The swirling synths on Current's showed the perforated pads to have improved the soundstage to very satisfying levels. Since I felt that bass was too anemic without the foam pad mod (and previously the hair roller mod), but also slightly too prominent with the foam pad mod and the non-perforated Ori, I was happy to realize that the perforated pads tamed the bass ever so slightly so that a perfect Goldilocks amount of bass tightness/impact/detail/amount was achieved. The juicy distorted synth groove on the tail end of Tame Impala's Let It Happen sent a chill down my body and the upright bass on Woody's Delight had just enough heft and body to seem very real. To briefly explain, the foam (pads or rollers) was used to distance the driver farther from the ears which made a noticeable increase in all things bass and are fit in the ring pocket between the Ori's foam and mounting ring. For a frame of reference, my bass port modded Q701s (think K712 or 7XX) seem to be putting out a similar bass amount (although slightly more body not being as neutral) with the 4XX+Perforated Ori+foam pad mod pulling ahead of the Q701's low end in terms of response, detail, impact, and sub bass. In going back and forth I also realized just how much more I prefer the modded 4XX over my previously loved Q701s. The soundstage on the AKGs by comparison now makes them seem almost unnatural and odd while the perforated pads and grill mod brought the 4XX to a natural, pleasing soundstage somewhere between the Elear and HD800. Imaging is also quite good and I can easily tell where instruments are in the space. In terms of neutrality, I feel as though the perforated pads improved even further on the non-perforated Ori and am now able to easily focus on whatever instrument I want in the mix without it getting lost or overshadowed. Superb balance indeed. It's worth mentioning that since my previous cans were the Q701, your mileage may vary in terms of treble on this series of 4XX mods although I should say that it is less strident and smoother than the AKGs while never feeling even slightly veiled or losing detail/microdetail. If you can't tell already, I am loving the 4XXs with this combo of mods and feel as though this might be it for new cans for a while given my high level of satisfaction at this point. Even off of the DAP I was getting goosebumps at the sheer amount of pleasure and technical prowess these things were putting out. There was also a bit of disbelief given how relatively cheap these things were even with the mods ($325 total). So if you have the 4XXs, do yourself a favor and make the same changes. I'm sure you'll be quite impressed as well.
Jan 11, 2018
A community member
Jan 11, 2018
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Wow... Thanks for your nice modding a 4XX story! I'm also enjoying a MD-HFMN 4XX - my first planar. I'm driving it with a Cowon Plenue 1 and its Burr-Brown DAC checks any 4XX high end edge perfectly. I've been following members' discussion on changing pads and other modding and it's all very interesting... but my 4XX's detailed, clear sound already has me requesting Massdrop HE-500s lol.
Jan 11, 2018
beaucauchemar
39
Jan 11, 2018
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If it counts for anything, I'm enjoying these modded 4XXs more so than the HE-560s I had on loan. And I'm a pretty critical listener when comparing headphones.
Jan 11, 2018
A community member
Jan 12, 2018
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Thanks then. I'll consider modding mine at some point in their future.
Jan 12, 2018
chrolls
10
Jan 12, 2018
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Thx for the info! Would you be able to detail in your modding journey whether the "missing" center image filled in or not in your various and sundry pad swapping and the like? I would appreciate it muchly :)
Jan 12, 2018
beaucauchemar
39
Jan 12, 2018
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My ears went looking for the center image when listening to the stock configuration since it seemed slightly missing, however, I haven't felt as though I've needed to find it with the current modded config. They certainly aren't as obviously centered as a nice set of properly positioned floorstanding speakers, but they aren't lacking center imaging at this point.
Jan 12, 2018
chrolls
10
Jan 12, 2018
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Jan 12, 2018
Noimus
20
Jan 13, 2018
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Holy sh*t. You are such an awesome reviewer man. I'm new to this community so I have no idea what 80% of the terms you used mean, but wow what an awesome review. We need more people like you!
-Noimus
Jan 13, 2018
beaucauchemar
39
Jan 13, 2018
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Thanks dude. Trust me the more you spend time on forums and growing the listening hobby the more you’ll pick up on the lingo and the personal relevance.
Jan 13, 2018
Megazine
465
Jan 13, 2018
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Well done lad. Great review. We really appreciate all the work you put into your review. Please keep it up.
-Mega
Jan 13, 2018
spronk
102
Feb 8, 2018
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I have had my 4XX for a while, and got my Ori (non-perforated) pads today. I'll second exactly what you say about them on the 4XX. Increases lows, treble stays about the same, but decreases everything else and adds congestion.
Perhaps I need to try these perforated pads...
Feb 8, 2018
beaucauchemar
39
Feb 8, 2018
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Feel free to read over our discussion on this mod/pad combo (starting around Pg22).) Additional listener notes are incoming.
https://www.head-fi.org/threads/hifiman-he4xx.856943/page-22
Feb 8, 2018
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