Cheapskate Charlie Goes Shopping- Headphones

Just to keep the page rolling, I thought I’d post something someone may find useful, even if it’s not the finished piece I’ve been working on.

Once upon a time, Marcel needed new headphones…

I’m no Audiophile these days, but back then (I dunno, like 15 or 10 or whatever) I might have claimed to be so.  Not having the money I do now days meant I’d be saving up for a very long time to consider anything remotely passable as nice and so I had to really look at the functional specs of these things to be sure I got every cent of my moneys worth.

*Long boring montage of me reading documentation etc etc*

Eventually I found these little guys.

Looking a little worse for wear, but those are the Sennheiser HD 555.  Retailed for around $150 or so at the time and found in your local sound store.

“Shop smart, shop S-Mart”

It was a lot for my group of friends to spend on headphones and while I could afford a little more, it wouldn’t mean any tangible performance increase over these babies.  That’s because of these…

That there’s the sportin’ model for the high schooler that likes his tunes and his parents money more than that.  The HD595. They retailed for around $550-$600 at the time and they had some notable performance improvements.  In fact, the document below is a quick snapshot of what I found just now…

Specifically the frequency response was the most notable but I’ll spare you the Audiophile bullshittery and ensuing internet flame war.  The fact is that if you had the meagre savings I had available, this was the next pair up (from the 555’s I mentioned, regardless of brand) that had any improvements worth paying anything for and it was a big improvement at that.  But here’s the reason that really sold me to Sennheiser here…

That’s my 555’s with the ear cup pulled open to expose the shiny goodness that brings the eargasm.  It’s important to notice that the driver (speaker) has a part number on it.  Now some fellow with a wallet far deeper than mine happened to own the more expensive 959’s and was kind enough the time to uncup his and check the model number for me.  They match.  A little internet jiggery fuckery revealed that they are in fact the same part.

Actually the form factor (shapey thingy) of the headphones and specifically the resonator cavity are the same.  You bastards Sennheiser!!  Buuuuut, I’m cool with it, because I like to believe that this is how it went down.

  1.  You make some kick ass 595 headphones and sell ’em for around $550.  Wicked profit since it cost you $5 to make ’em.
  2. Not everyone can afford that though.  What about Marcel.  What if he comes knocking?  Let’s make something he can afford.  Here, have the inferior 555 series for $150.hmm builder a shittier driver for the 555 series seems a bit expensive.  I mean who needs a new production line and factory with parking and a water cooler.  Let’s just shitty up the 595’s and sell them as the affordable less performing version for the cheapskates.
  3. Soooo…make the 595 shitter you say?  Jam this bit of foam in behind them.  It’ll make it sound louder but the response range with suffer and be noticeably cheaper.

That’s right folks.  Google it.  Now days there’s some internet trash around somewhere that resembles the cromagnun instructable, somewhere.  Take a look.

So I bought myself a pair of quality headphones that normally cost the rest of the world %550 odd and I only paid $150.  I just popped open the ear piece and removed that foamy bastard.  I could hear the difference immediately.

Still got ’em today.  Go void some warrantees.


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