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Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro 80 Mod (Pt. II)

July 7, 2010

Desoldering & Cleaning up the Drivers

To the right, is how the drivers should look once you’ve desoldered the old wires and removed the old solder using a wick. Notice how you can see the tiny little holes for each terminal.

This is where having a temperature controlled soldering station helps quite a bit; the soldering station I have doesn’t give you a true readout on how much wattage is being fed to the iron, but for soldering my interconnects, I usually have it set at about 40% its total power, so about 15watts. For removing the solder, you’re going to want to kick up the juice a little bit to about 25watts; the idea is to get in on each of these fast with the wick, have it suck up the solder and then take a break. It took me about three passes per terminal to remove the solder completely. You don’t want to try to do each one in one pass, as you’ll most likely heat the terminal too much and if you do that: Game Over, you’ll need new drivers.

Modification of the ear cups

The next thing I did was modify the cable opening on the Left Ear Cup so I could fit in the female mini XLR casing. In order for the Redco jack to fit snug, you’ll need a 3/8″ drill bit to modify the original, rectangle-shaped opening. Make sure the small button used to lock/unlock the male jack faces outward, then use a couple of toothpicks to spread in some E6000 glue around the edges and set this aside to dry. It should be ready in about an hour. Once sealed, the jack’s casing is fused to the ear cup.

Now it’s time to wire everything up and solder in the new and improved wires. Below is a comparison between the stock wires (above) and the Canare Star Quad cable I used (there are cotton strands between the shield and the four wires, you don’t need them; I took this comparison picture before cutting the shield and these strands off).

The next step is modifying the inside of the ear cups for dampening. Below is a shot of the original ear cup; I decided that since the material I use is really dense, that I would cover the deepest rectangle depression as well as the smaller inner circle. I did nothing scientific here, I just guessed that this much coverage would dampen the lows just enough; the reason why you’re reading this now is because I think I got lucky and my assumption worked!

Heat up your Glue Gun and if it’s got a “low” setting, use that. This of course, assuming you’re using a similar type of dampening material. If you’re using something else, use an appropriate adhesive.

This is what the ear cups look like after hot gluing in the dampening material.

At this point, I already had painted all of the parts and assembled the cans back together. Below is what the painted and assembled headphones look like, with the ear cup modifications and the casing for the female mini XLR jack glued in place.

Soldering the new wires & connectors

The next step is to make the wire harness and solder the female mini XLR jack. I used some left over cable and used one of the white wires for the shield, which I marked at either end.

Then, I soldered the additional wires needed for the right ear cup and shrink-tubed the joints:

The lower wires are for the left driver, the two twisted wires are for the right driver; the left driver needs the shield, negative and positive wires soldered to the terminals, while the right driver only needs the shield and positive wires soldered. This is the left driver with the new wires soldered in place (from left: white wire=negative, blue=positive, white (marked)=shield).

Before soldering the right driver, I shrink-tubed the wires with both blue and red shrink tubing, just to match the corresponding blue (L) and red (R) details. You want to have enough wire that will allow you to extend the cans all the way without stretching the wires. Shrink tubing is a good insulator as well as protector for your wires, definitely better than the thin insulation of the stock wires.

This is about how much room you want to leave yourself for soldering in the wires to the drivers. I also placed small cable ties inside the ear cups to avoid the wires pulling on the soldered connections as a precaution (not really necessary since there’s plenty of room to stretch the can, but just in case someone or something pulls on the wires at either end, they’ll be extra protected). The wires don’t need to be secured under the headband, they simply tuck inside and then you snap the headband’s buttons, that’s all.

This is a close-up of the cable tie from the inside of the ear cup:

Putting it all back together

After you’ve soldered the drivers, simply tuck in the excess wire into the ear cup, place the foam disc over the drivers and snap the holding rings back in place, then the ear pads; have fun putting these back in place 😉

Building the new cable

The Male Mini XLR connector:

One of the things I like to do after soldering all my connectors is apply some hot glue in between each terminal for added stability and insulation. There’s going to be a little bit of excess glue preventing you from closing the connector with the tiny cover, so if you do this, you’ll also need to cut off the excess glue until you are able to cover the connection with the cover as shown in this pic.

Once soldered (and this goes for the female connector in the left ear cup), slip the soldered connectors into the casings to make sure they fit, then put a little bit of E6000 glue on the connectors and slip into the casings. Let dry and then fill the cavities with hot glue gun (for even more insulation and stability inside the casings).

The Furutech 1/4″ plug:

What is hidden by the cover on the Mini XLR connector above is the fact that I soldered the two blue and white wires to each of the positive and negative terminals on both connectors. This is definitely not a requirement, but many believe that doubling up the wires improves performance. I can’t tell for sure, but I did notice more separation of instruments that isn’t as noticeable when listening to the stock DT 770. I’m certain it’s not a placebo effect either, since I’m able to switch between both sets using a passive switcher that I built.

On the mini XLR end, I added about 4 layers of shrink tubing for strain relief and on the 1/4″ end, I used the coiled strain relief included with the Furutech plug. This was a bit of a challenge since the addition of Techflex made the cable diameter slightly larger, but found that turning the coil counterclockwise while pushing it through did the trick.

In Conclusion:

I’ve put together this two part tutorial about 8 months after I made this modification and I’ve put these cans through a lot of use since then. I definitely am hearing an improvement throughout the entire frequency range and they are not fatiguing to listen to (at moderate volume levels). These have become one of my favorite pair of cans to listen to music on, and I use them also to check my masters. They have not eliminated the use of my Bowers & Wilkins speakers (685 bookshelfs with 608 sub) for checking my masters, but I rarely find the need to make tweaks to my audio work after checking it over these.

I hope you found this useful; if you have any questions regarding this build, feel free to drop me a line.

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26 Comments leave one →
  1. 187 permalink
    December 22, 2010 1:18 pm

    Wow, a seriously impressive and hugely inspiring article/tutorial.
    I’m definitely going to give this a try.

    • December 22, 2010 5:55 pm

      Thank you! Glad you found it useful; good luck with your mod!

  2. Cameron permalink
    February 23, 2011 5:17 am

    Hey, thanks for the tutorial. I am interested in building something like this, but I was wondering if it would be possible to have one Mini-XLR out on the cans as well as a Stereo Mini-Jack out, just for versatility.

    • February 23, 2011 7:33 am

      Glad you found it useful, Cameron. Sure, you could use a 1/8″ (3.5mm) TRS plug instead of the 1/4″. I would recommend you use the Canare F12. It’s a bit bigger than most 3.5mm plugs, but it’s easy to solder and has a real good strain relief coil. They usually go for about $5.

  3. Shyam permalink
    May 27, 2011 5:23 pm

    how did you paint them?

    • May 28, 2011 6:08 pm

      I airbrushed them with Testors enamels. I matched the colors of the blue and red shrink tubing that I already had, and the tan color for the rest of it came from a camo paint kit I had. I used an Aztek airbrush and compressor.

  4. Ben permalink
    June 11, 2011 3:37 am

    Awesome tutorial, I had been wanting to do this mod precisely since I bought my pair a few years ago, I just didn’t want to be the guinea pig that ruins his cans.

    My only question is what dampening material did you use?

    • June 11, 2011 11:52 pm

      Thanks Ben. I used a product called “Floor Muffler” that I had left over from when I did the floors in my place. We used to be able to hear cars under our unit from the garage below us but after adding two layers of this stuff as underlayment, not only did it take care of the noise from the garage, it also helped a lot with resonance on our floors (walking over it with shoes sounds very dampened). It’s also moisture resistant and I also use this same material under my nearfield monitors (sandwiched between my monitors and Auralex MoPads) and I’m able to monitor close to 80dB’s and not feel any vibrations from the desk!

      It’s about $45 a roll but I bet if you find a place near you that carries it, you may be able to get a sample that would be enough for this mod!

      • Ben permalink
        July 2, 2011 4:36 am

        So I just finished up modding my cans. No dampening because I wasn’t able to wait long enough to find a place… I’m amazed at the level of detail I picked up just from the cable change over. I don’t feel like I need to put any Floor Muffler in simply because the balance is where I like it. Highs have come to life, mids are buttery and the bass is driving.

        I’ll have to get used to the cable poking me in the shoulder, but being able to swap cables for each device is great and being able to remove the cable entirely will come in handy.

  5. February 22, 2012 9:21 pm

    Hi there,
    Really great tut you have put together here, I got tempted to follow it and went through the steps, however not really that handy in it, but brave 🙂 however, run into a snag, I can hear sound only on the right can, it could be that my wiring is not correct, or something else, and was wondering if you could give me some ideas of what could I look for?
    Thx in advance !

  6. February 22, 2012 9:49 pm

    btw, forgot to mention that one of the terminals got loose, is that maybe what is affecting it?

    • February 23, 2012 2:09 am

      Hi, I would try to connect the wires properly without soldering and run signal to the drivers to see if the driver still works. There is a hair thin wire near the bottom of the terminals that could have gotten fried as well. I wish you the best, and hope you didn’t kill your driver!

  7. February 23, 2012 12:15 pm

    Thank you very much,
    I’m afraid I did… and so I learn from my mistakes 🙂 getting a new pair these days, as I was in need anyways, hoped I would be able to manage this mod on my own, but will need some more experience obviously which I will acuire in time. Thanks once again for posting this mod and for our prompt response!

    • February 24, 2012 8:12 am

      Well at least you won’t have to deal with de-soldering the terminals on the new drivers. Remember to not apply too much heat for too long, if you have temp control on your iron, set it to about 2Ow and apply heat for no more than a couple seconds, that should be enough to solder without transferring heat to the more sensitive areas of the drivers. Best of luck man!

  8. July 26, 2012 4:24 pm

    Hey L-Rox,
    I’m in the process of modding my dt770s (250ohm) but had one question. After you applied the floor dampening material, did you also put back the plastic ring?

    Thanks!

  9. Jan permalink
    August 26, 2013 5:56 am

    I gotta say: “Impressive”. Good work!

    Is it that you have less but tighter bass because of the damping or becaused you reduced the size of the chamber?

    • August 26, 2013 7:42 pm

      Thank you! I believe both have something to do with the overall effect. There is a deeper recess in the chamber where I added the dampening material (before adding the circular layer of it on top) that minimized the size of the overall chamber as well as dampened the lows. It’s been a while since I did these and the only thing I would like from them is the openness that I get from my Senn 650s (frequency wise, I think these still give me a more accurate overall response).

  10. Andrew permalink
    December 4, 2014 3:28 pm

    After doing this Mod; did you find the length of the cable sticking out of the headphones bothersome in any way? Isn’t the cable constantly poking into your shoulder?

    Also Great tutorial & I love your blog. I really want to get on it as I just bought the same pair of headphones. The only thing holding me back is the XLR sticking out of the headphones and i just wanted to hear your take on it
    Thanks

    • December 4, 2014 5:16 pm

      Thanks Andrew! If I tilt my head a bit to the left, the connector will touch my shoulder, but otherwise it’s fine if I turn my head sideways; the connector goes behind my shoulder and the cable just follows without making me feel like it’s tugging back. I think that’s mostly due to using techflex as sleeving, it doesn’t stick to anything you could be wearing.

      It’s been a while since I did this mod and I see now that I could have made the connector end shorter by cutting off a bit of the back of the connector cover (this could easily be done with a dremel tool and disc cutters and sanding off the roughness before shrink tubing it). Thanks for the question/comments!

  11. Admiral Akmir permalink
    November 27, 2016 9:23 pm

    You mentioned that you can’t heat the terminals too much or the driver will be destroyed. Why is this?

    I did this today and found that I had a really hard time melting the solder through the braid. Even after four+ seconds I wasn’t really getting anywhere. I did eventually get the solder off with numerous passes, but I’m still worried I hit the terminals for too long. I eventually want to do this on my DT880’s as well, so the 770’s are the test pair.

    • November 29, 2016 5:33 pm

      There are a couple of hair-thin wires that go to the drivers and these are close to the terminals, from what I remember. These can easily be burned off if you apply too much heat from the iron, for too long. Are you using a temperature-controlled soldering station? Situations like these is where they come in handy (so you can dial in enough heat to melt the solder in a couple of seconds and not “cook” the terminals for too long).

  12. April 5, 2017 9:02 pm

    Quick question on this older post, could you give some more detail with your wiring before I attempt this?

    • April 13, 2017 6:29 pm

      You definitely want to tin your wires beforehand, use a temp-controlled soldering station (with enough heat to melt solder to this particular gauge of wire in ~2 seconds) and not apply heat to the terminals for too long. If you’re not very experienced with soldering wires and components, I suggest you practice as much as possible. Headphone drivers are really sensitive and it’s not that difficult to damage them by applying solder to a terminal or two for too long! I think I have a wiring diagram for these somewhere, I’ll look around for it and will update the post when I find it (that might make the wiring easier to follow).

  13. jimbo permalink
    August 8, 2017 9:40 pm

    hi, having destroyed my ld drivers with overheating the tabs like a noob :] that plastic melts really easily, possibly before the solder, ill be keeping some sort of cooling or sink on the plastic area this time around.

    anyways i got a new set of 880’s to mod and some mini xlr t3 connectors, i see in your pictures your socket hole came past what i assumed was the driver shelf, has it interfered with placing the drivers back in? do they still snap into place or did it require you to move the hole outward or re-position it?

    thanks in advance, nice one for keeping up with the responses here over the years.

    • August 22, 2017 5:51 pm

      Sorry about your drivers! I don’t know if you were using a temp-controlled station or a standard iron. If not, this is why you need one with temperature control. Your solder should melt instantly, and you should be able to make a joint in about a second (fast enough to not melt anything around the iron’s tip).

      There was plenty of room to snap the drivers back in. The socket hole as seen on the second image is how much it protruded into the cup. I only had to deal with the wire harness that I made, making sure the wires were long enough to bend around the driver once it was inserted back in.

      It’s been a bit over seven years since I wrote this up, and these cans still work perfectly! Thanks for reading!

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