Replacing Headphone Drivers

Discussion in 'Ask The Experts' started by SteamEngenius, May 9, 2012.

  1. SteamEngenius

    SteamEngenius New Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2012
    Messages:
    1
    Hello everyone, first post here so I hope it goes well...

    I am somewhat of a budding audiophile (best model I have had are Klipsch s4 canalphones lol) looking to get serious about headphones.

    I recently picked up a pair of old Wharfedale DD1 headphones (check out specs: Wharfedale DD1 on thevintageknob.org and Turntable Forum • Wharfedale Dd1 (Headphones)).

    They honestly sound pretty good straight away, but I was hoping to place some more... modern drivers in them. The problem is I am at a loss as to what exactly I need.

    I have disassembled one can and found that the 'tweeter' is 2" in diameter and 3/4" deep. The 'woofer' is 3 1/2" in diameter and 1 1/2" deep. So those are the dimensions I have to work with.

    I mostly understand the science behind the crossover, and I was hoping to either keep it or update it also with newer components. The drivers are where I'm having the problem. For the tweeter I was considering these two: 40mm Neodymium Headphone Element 279-090 (b/c of the price) or SFI BIPOLE RIBBON TWEETER S 4PC SETS EMIT-R TYPE 32ohm | eBay.

    For the woofers, however, I am having trouble finding a suitable model. The problem is not the size, but the fact that most drivers have power handling of about 15-25 watts RMS. I know that a headphone jack cannot output nearly that much power without an amp. So if anyone has any ideas as to how the original woofers in the headphones were given enough power, I would greatly appreciate it.

    My other problem is grasping the notion of impedance (physics was not my best subject). I understand that it is the resistance to current in a circuit, but I do not really know how this value relates to driver performance. From what I understand the drivers in the DD1's have an impedance of 8 ohms each, and they are wired in series giving a total value of 16 ohms. So I am not sure how they would do with the tweeters mentioned above, which have higher impedances. I know I could wire together a few of them in parallel and reduce the load, but is this wise?

    I know this is alot of info but I just wanted to make sure I covered all the bases... I really genuinely appreciate any guidance you can give me. I really want to keep these portable and avoid the need for an amp... So again, thanks in advance for any help.

    **EDIT** I just realized that the link I posted above to the ribbon tweeters on eBay is no good... they are no longer for sale (sigh). You can buy a pair of 1.5" 8 ohm ribbon tweeters, but I'm not sure if these would work.
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2012
  2. RobinHiFi

    RobinHiFi Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2010
    Messages:
    1,325
    Hi SteamEngenius

    The Wharfedale DD1 headphones look amazing! Sadly my experience does not cover manufacturing the headphones so I do not have any proven wisdom for you at all. As far as I understand it though the eventual sound of the headphones is a combination of the chamber and the drivers - without the maths and testing equipment that manufacturers use to work out how to approach an accurate response at the ear I think experimentation is probably the key.

    Please keep us informed and put up pictures - I would imagine if you post your finding you will find more helpful comments on individual problems as this project continues. I am not an electrical engineer but I imagine the biggest problem would be twinning the drivers as two speakers is only better than one when they work very well together. Also who knows what problems with the shape of the chamber and dampening it you will find.

    Sorry to not have all the answers but thanks for sharing, happy tinkering and make sure you tell us about the results.:D
     
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