StacyD’s DIY HiFi Headphones

The original plans for this project are by StacyD from “Does It Pew?”. She is The Maker of the original design and deserves full credit for this project. She’s awesome, so check out her stuff. Thank you, StacyD!

Below are the steps that I took to recreate this project according to my own understanding (which is pretty minimal). I’m sure that a lot of things don’t make sense from an engineering point of view. I won’t pretend that I know what I’m doing. That being said, these headphones sound fantastic and better than anything I have tried in the stores.  Please feel free to comment with suggestions to improve this design.

Materials and Cost Analysis:

Below are two different cost analyses including taxes for the region. The first is the total actual cost from my pocket to complete the project (not including transportation), and the second is the real cost of the the materials that were consumed in the project (ie. I have leftovers and extraneous shipping costs).

Total Credits Spent: 95.07 CAD
Fake Audio-Technica headphones 18.60 CAD
28 AWG Silver Teflon Wire (50ft.) 10.62 CAD
SFI 120OHM BIPOLE ORTHODYNAMIC HEADPHONES DRIVERS (32ohm is better for portable device listening) 29.37 CAD
Vinyl Adhesive Pads (Not ROUND kind – 16 per pack) 2.89 CAD
3.5mm Jacks (2 per pack) 8.95 CAD
Soft Wool/Felt 2.68 CAD
Dense Felt 0.97 CAD
Rubberized Foam 0.98 CAD
Soldering Iron 4.53 CAD
Heat Shrink Tubing 2.24 CAD
Solder 8.39 CAD
Tissues ~0.00
Cellophane Tape ~0.00
Drill (Borrowed) ~0.00
Dense and Soft Wool
Pads and Shapelock
Total Cost of Material Used (Un-Reusable): 56.61 CAD
Fake Audio-Technica headphones 18.60 CAD
28 AWG Silver Teflon Wire (50ft.) – Minus Shipping 7.74 CAD
Vinyl Adhesive Pads (2/16) 0.36 CAD
3.5mm Jack (1/2) 4.48 CAD
Soft Wool/Felt 0.27 CAD
Dense Felt 0.50 CAD
Rubberized Foam 0.50 CAD
Heat Shrink Tubing 1.00 CAD
Solder 4.00 CAD
Tissues ~0.00
Cellophane Tape ~0.00


1) Preparation (Headphones)
– Remove the ear pads from the headphones (they just slip off)
– Unscrew the front part of the headphones (3 Phillips screws)
– Unsolder or snip the original wires from the stock drivers, and remove the original wire.
– Drill ventilation holes into the back of the headphone cups
– OPTIONAL: sand and paint the cups (I couldn’t find a way to safely remove the cups, so I taped them up as they were and painted them very poorly. I ended up removing the paint and re-sanding them, which resulted in a cool steampunky copper color. I left them like that).

2) Wiring
– While you are waiting for your paint to dry, or otherwise, now would be a good time to start your new wiring. I used 2 colors of the wire, so that I could differentiate between the positive and the ground.
– Start with 2 x 12.5ft of one color and 2 x 12.5ft of the other color (4 strands of wire), and put one end in a vice, or tape it to something sturdy
– Star braiding in a litz braid style: Most right wire (4) goes over one wire to the left (3) to the (c) position , then the most left wire (1) goes over two to the right to the (c) position. Then keep repeating. This is the most time-consuming stage of the project.
a b c d
1 2 3 4
1 2 4 3
2 4 1 3


– Strip the wire ends if you can. I couldn’t so I used a lighter to burn off the teflon coating, then wiped off the soot. There are seriously at least two or more tutorials on youtube about this.
– Twist the positives together and the negatives together so that you have 2 ends instead of 4. Do this on both ends of the wire.

Litz Braid
fight wire with fire

4) Out With The Old
– The stock drivers were nicely glued into the baffle, so with a thin blade and some nail polish remover, I was eventually able to pry out the drivers.

5) Dampening Part I
a) Baffle
– I honestly had no idea where to put the rubberized foam, so I took a guess.
– Trace the baffle onto the foam (I chose red for clarity), and cut out the oval.
– Press the oval onto the baffle to make impressions of where you should cut holes. Then cut out those parts.

6) In With The New
a) Lock and Load
– Place the new SFI drivers into the baffles (smooth side down ie facing your ears). * I used 120omh drivers, which is all that I could find at the time. They require and amp to get the sound out (ie a portable music player barely gets enough sound out)
– Heatup some shapelock beads (I did this in a pan on wax paper… it stuck to the wax paper), and use them to secure the drivers to the baffle. In this case, be sure that you connect to the black plastic and not the red foam by pushing the shapelock down a bit. This will cause the foam to flare out.
– Then stick a vinyl/rubber pad on the center of each driver.

b) Universal Solder
– Feed the positive and negative wires through the wire hole in the cups, and tie a loose knot (the original wire had this knot, so I did that for tension relief).
– _Without burning yourself_ solder one pair of wires (eg red) to the positive diode on the driver (marked with red), and the other pair to the negative diode*.

7) Dampening Part II
– Cut out a circle of the dense felt and trim to fit the inside of the cup snugly. I cut a small slit for one of the plastic things in the cup to go through.
– Do the same for the softer wool felt and place it on top.
– Cut out a similar shape from 4 layers of tissue (I used toilet paper!), and cut o hole in the center for the vinyl pad on the driver to fit through.
– I added a strip of foam around the edge of the cups. I don’t know if this actually helps or hinders my design, but I thought it might do something.

8) Screw It: Putting it all together
a) Assembly
– Carefully screw the pieces back in place.
– Add some tape on the front (???) as shown.
– Put the ear pads back on

b) Universal Solder 2
– If you want to put any heatshrink on the wire, then now would be a good time to do it. I added two small pieces for the parts that connect to the headphones, and one long piece to keep the two tires together at the plug end (I now realize that it might not have been the best choice, as heatshrink kinda hardens when heated. I ended up not heating it… still thinking about what to do here.)
– Twist together the negative wires from both sides of the headphones. Now you have 3 ends to solder to the jack.

– Feed it through any additional heatshrink that you might want to add. I added a long piece to keep tho wires together as one, but didn’t heat it up.
– Feed the jack cover over the wires

– Solder the positive (red) wires from the LEFT headphone to the shortest tap on the jack.
– Solder the positive (red) wires from the RIGHT headphone to the 2nd shortest tap on the side.
– Solder the negative/ground (4) wires to the ground tap, which is the longest one in the middle.

– close up the jack with the cover.

9) Testing and Tweaking
– Test your headphones before heating up any heatshrink. I used a hair dryer to heat up the shrinky parts.
– These types of headphones apparently require a lot of tweaking to make them sound better. So far, I’m happy with mine and haven’t done any additional work. If you have any suggestions as to how I might improve them, then please let me know.

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