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Old 25th April 2012, 07:48 AM   #1
BowtoEd is offline BowtoEd  United States
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Default KonoAudio Retro Headphone Mod

Hi all,

I went to a thrift store today and picked up a pair of headphones for $3. They are KonoAudio Retro headphones, which don't seem to be a big name brand. Still, they were only $3 so I figured I would pick them up and try some modification on them. I didn't find much info on the company but apparently they make safety headphones for children. These don't seem to be the type with built-in volume limiters.

They are on-ear headphones and apparently they retail for $10-$30. So far, I've taken them apart and removed all the original wire. I assume the reason they were in Goodwill was because the wire near the plug was somewhat damaged and the phones had connectivity problems. As with most headphones, the wires looked like cables made from about ten strands of very, very fine magnet wire. I am replacing the wires with twisted pair from CAT 5 cable. Being that the original cord was pretty short, I cut four foot pieces of UTP to make the new wiring.

The ear cups are about 2.5in (67mm) across and the drivers are 40mm. If I wasn't afraid of destroying them, I'd take the drivers apart and replace the magnets with neodymium ones. I'm not sure of the difference it would make but this project is about experimentation.

So, the plans for these headphones are as follows. Any suggestions may or may not be helpful.

-Re-wiring of the headphones (in progress). Instead of using what is pretty much litz wire, I changed to solid-core wire as described before. I could use thicker wire but these headphones aren't subject to high currents like speakers. I'm going to incorporate strain relief so the wires aren't subject to pulling and tearing.

-I may look for new pads to fit over the ear cups. Failing that, I might try to make my own. If I removed the ear pads that are already on there, it will be an irreversible change.

-The ear cups are plastic. I might look at some sort of filling for the ear cups (like cotton or quilt filling) or get something like foam tape or weather strip foam for a bit of vibration reduction. Some advice on this might be helpful.

-I could also paint the ear cups. They are gloss black with some skulls (a la Skullcandy?) on the outside. Perhaps I will apply a couple of coats of flat black so they don't look like a toy so much.

-There also needs to be a new 3.5mm plug. The plug that was on the headphones had a brittle wire connection and worked intermittently. I was able to pull it apart with my fingers.

I think installing the drivers again will be the last thing I will do so I don't endanger the wire connections while looking at the ear pads. There will be photos to follow but for now it is late.

Ed
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Old 27th April 2012, 02:16 AM   #2
BowtoEd is offline BowtoEd  United States
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Join Date: Apr 2012
I did some more work on the phones and have somewhat assembled them. Here are pics.

106_2051.JPG

They seem to be fairly sturdy for over-the-ear headphones. My Skullcandy phones are not this well-built.

106_2052.JPG

A cheesy skull on the side of the earcups. I think I might paint these with a tamer color. What color, I'm not sure yet. I have a few from which to choose.

106_2053.JPG

The innards of the ear-cups without drivers. I am thinking of putting some foam inside to prevent reflections off the hard plastic.

106_2058.JPG

The end of the cord. The wiring is twisted, solid wire from discarded network cable. It should work quite well.

106_2059.JPG

The ear-pads. They look a bit dingy but some bleach will clear that up. I also contemplated tearing off the soft parts and making some new pads.

106_2062.JPG

The rear part of the drivers. I have to solder the wires to the solder pads and then apply a dab of glue for strength.

Ed
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