Sony MDR-R10 Repair
Back From The Dead

We got an email about a pair of Sony R10ís where the customer felt there was something wrong with his headphones. After speaking with him for about an hour on the phone listening to all the symptoms and their past history I suggested him to mail them in to have us give them a look over. Once we got the headphones in I noticed they were only off by 4 serial #ís from a pair I used to own. I plugged them in and gave them a listen instantly noticing there was something terribly wrong with these headphones. Muffled, congested, missing entire frequencies of the sound spectrum, and absolutely bloated bass were among the things I instantly noticed. I stopped the music and unplugged the headphones having no idea how serious the damage was going to be.

I remove the ear pads from the headphones and noticed a few things. First the pads were no longer held on by their stock material. Instead replaced with what seems to be double sided sticky tape. I also noticed that pieces of the urethane ring were ripped off and still on the pads. Also, I saw that the filter attached to the pad was torn at the stitches from the pads. The only way I know this can happen is if you have no idea how to remove the ear pads. The ear pads if removed properly cause no damage to anything in the headphone or the pads themselves. The stock material used to hold the pads down to the housing can be reused without question.

At this point since I know these were modded before the drivers should be easily removed so long as they were not glued into the housing. I removed the right driver and then the left driver from the wooden cups. I couldnít believe what I saw. The right driver seems to be fine, but the left driver instantly caught my attention.

Someone has seriously messed up removing the driver previously and then attempted fixing the problem using epoxy glue!

The voice coil of the left side driver was torn completely when removing the driver. Based on how the drivers are installed in the housing this is because either an improper tool was used or a tool was used improperly. Trying to fix the voice coil they removed the entire driver dampening and filter from the back side. The worst part is that it doesnít seem that the voice coil extensions were ever actually soldered to the voice coil, but simply laid down to touch and glued down with epoxy which is impossible to remove without further damage to the voice coils.

At this point I had no idea what to do, but started running tests to try and figure out if at least the repair was feasible. I contacted the owner of the headphones shortly after telling him about what I had discovered. He was very surprised and quite upset rightfully so.

After about 6 hours and numerous different tests I discovered where everything went wrong and where the problems were. I tested the right driver separately and it worked perfectly, but as soon as it was connected back in conjunction to the left side on the same cable it started to give me all sorts of problems again. I tested the stock cable and it was ok so I knew this for sure was all tied into the damaged left driver. I went ahead on a hunch and decided to measure resistance of the housing (the R10 driver housing is metal so it is conductive) and the voice coil wire. To my surprise I was actually getting a reading. I started trying to figure out where it was connected and it lead to the side marked in blue which the previous modder put on there. This normally is the ground or return of the voice coil wire. I went ahead and removed as much of the fix from before and reconstructed as much of the driver as I could testing resistance to the housing the entire time finally getting it done with no resistance to the housing. Great news as it seems the driver was at this point fixed I went ahead and ran tests of the driver against the right driver and was still getting incorrect measurements. Instantly it hit me. When they removed the driver they broke the voice coil and didnít fix it so they had no idea which was the correct phase of the driver. I swapped the + and Ė and next thing I know the left driver is giving me nearly the exact same readings as the right side. I went ahead and secured the entire repair and installed the torn off dampening and filter back onto the driver and tested again getting the exact same measurements for both the left and right side. I thought to myself great this is finally fixed and how happy the customer will be when he hears the great news.

The following day I took apart the rest of the headphone only to find more and more things wrong. Once the wooden housing was removed from the headband assembly I noticed that the stock cable was reattached using hot glue all over. Having modded a hand full of other R10ís I knew for a fact this wasnít right. I went ahead and removed all of it from every place I found it. I also found small wooden chips inside the left ear cup which was removed in the cleaning process of this headphone.

I spoke with the customer and he was amazed with the fact that it was repaired and asked me to recable them with the APureSound V3 cable using Super Nylon and a Furutech 1/4in plug.

You can see below the repaired driver on the right and the unharmed driver on the left. Note that the + and - is now switched on the left side driver because of how they previously attempted to repair them.

As always here at APureSound all of our cables are installed right onto the driver with no splicing or connection of any type.

The entire headphone was reassembled, cleaned, the leather conditioned, and are back to being truly one of the finest headphones ever made.

Here is a comment from the owner of these R10ís.

ďI cannot begin to tell you how excellent your cabling has made these headphones sound. Way beyond my expectations. Thank you very much for everything. Again thank you very much you are a true professional.ď

The initial recable was done by JenaLabs which is where all the damage happened as well. You can read what JenaLabs had to say about when they recabled them HERE

Itís ironic how they are able to point out other companies who do not solder directly to the drivers, but mess up doing it themselves.

You can read what the owner of these wonderful headphone had to say about all of this HERE or by clicking the image below.

Until next time.

© 2009 APureSound.com, All Rights Reserved.