Reviewed on: SoundStage! Solo, June 2020
I measured the effects of the Dekoni earpads using a G.R.A.S. Model 43AG ear/cheek simulator (including the RA040X high-resolution ear simulator and KB5000 pinna), a laptop computer running TrueRTA software with an M-Audio MobilePre USB audio interface, and Musical Fidelity V-CAN amplifier. These are “flat” measurements; no diffuse-field or free-field compensation curve was employed.
This chart shows the frequency response of the Audeze LCD-X headphones measured with the stock earpads and the Dekoni Choice Suede pads. The difference is subtle -- the Dekoni pads kick in a few dB more bass below 50Hz, and reduce the LCD-X headphones’ peak at 2.4kHz by about 3dB. This is the only case where my listening notes don’t seem to correspond well with the measurements; I noted a little less bass, but clearly there’s more, and the reduction in output in the 2 to 3kHz band should have created the impression of even more bass. There seems to be something going on psychoacoustically here that I don’t quite grasp.
This chart shows the frequency response of the HiFiMan Sundara headphones with the stock earpads and the Dekoni Elite Sheepskin pads. This is, by far, the biggest difference I measured with any of the Dekoni earpads. With these headphones (and probably most compatible HiFiMan models, which tend to measure fairly similarly), the Dekoni pads tame most of the bass by about 1dB; they also boost it substantially below 30Hz, but there’s so little musical content that low that this shouldn’t have a big impact on the sound. Most importantly, they fill out the midrange between 600Hz and 2.5kHz, but reduce the lower treble between 2 and 4kHz. So it’s a substantially different sound, yet still true to the original vibe of the Sundaras in many ways.
This chart shows the frequency response of the Sony MDR-7506 headphones measured with the stock earpads and the Dekoni Platinum Protein pads. The results aren’t radically different; the important thing is that roughly 3dB reduction in energy between about 150 and 220Hz. This is the upper-bass/lower-midrange region, and too much energy here results in bloated, dull-sounding bass -- which, in my opinion, is the only major sonic flaw with the stock 7506 headphones.
I didn’t test isolation in my review, but I thought it’d be interesting to measure the isolation effects of the Dekoni pads with the Sony MDR-7506 headphones. (The other headphones I used are open-back models, so their isolation is negligible no matter what pads you use.) Except in a one-octave band between 600Hz and 1.2kHz, the Dekoni Platinum Protein pads improve isolation through most of the audioband. From about 2.5 to 13kHz, the isolation with the Dekoni pads improves by about 10dB on average, which means these will be a great choice for those who wear their MDR-7506 headphones on public transit, or who use them for field audio production.
. . . Brent Butterworth