Cheap Upgrade for Sony MDR-EX71 Headphones





Introduction: Cheap Upgrade for Sony MDR-EX71 Headphones

I was always loosing the rubber earpieces from my Sonys, so I found some reaplacements, which actually work better (to my ear)

Step 1: Buy Earplugs

I found these ear plugs at a local camping/outdoors store. They're designed to reduce outside noise by using a removable plug to antentunate either high frequencies (in-flight noise) or low frequencies (snoring)

I use them for work because I sometimes spend periods in a loudly air conditioned server room.

The plugs are made by a company called "Design GO" and cost 6UKP

Step 2: Cut the Stalks

After removing the little plugs (yellow in this photo - they're the LF plugs) from the earphones, you're left with a rubbery bit of silicone.

You'll have to cut a little of the stalk (ie - the tube of rubber the plugs go into from the back. Otherwise, it's too floppy to get inside your ear properly.

Step 3: Attach to Earphones

The Sonys are quite a bit bigger than the hole in the plugs, fortunately, the rubber stretches well, and if anything it helps keep the plug and earphone together.

Fold the flanges of the plug back, and work the rubber over the little pole that contains the speaker. It's easier if you get one side on, and then pivot the thing over.

Once the rubber is totally over the plug, work it back as far as you can, and that's it!

Step 4: Job Done!

I found the bass was much better, and the sound isolation was pretty much 100% (which isn't a surprise as this is what these plugs are designed to do)

One word of warning, while using these headphones, you won't be able to hear things around you. Pay more attention to traffic while walking, and for bob's sake, don't wear them while cycling!

This is my first instructable, hope you liked it!



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    I just did this mod last night to my ex71s. I had to order the earplugs overseas, but the result was well worth it. These silicon nips will more than likely not fall off like the originals and they block more sound as well. Excellent instructable!

    1 reply

    I forgot to say that if you yank the foam insert out of the earplugs case, it makes for an awesome case for the headphones! 2 for one!

    Changd nothing, but the ear-stretching tip improved the low end greatly. just registered in order to thank Bowdie.

    Got the plugs, did the mod, mostly pleased. They're now quieter than the originals but still not quite as quiet as I'd like it. But then I'm using them underneath a motorcycle helmet at 90mph... They do also stay in better than with the Sony plugs. I used to have troubles with the ear plugs falling slightly out unless I wedged them in really firmly.

    2 replies

    Cool, I'm glad to hear they worked. I find the plugs fit, and isolate, better if you pull your ear up while fitting them. Just reach around and pull the top of your ear up and slightly back and then push in the plugs. They seem to go in easier too.

    When you lift your ear up and backwards you straighten out the ear canal, making it easier to put anything in it.

    Where did you get the ear plugs? I looked on the Design Go website and they don't seem to sell them any more. I also tried Millets but they have their own brand of this stuff.

    3 replies

    Oh, mine came from my local Blacks (which I gather are owned by Millets) I think Boots the Chemist sell them too. I'll check tomorrow for you.

    WOW! I have a pair of Ear Subs for my PSP and just recently one of the silicone ear bud thingies broke off.....IN MY EAR!!!! and while the full sensation in my ear was interesting, I don't recommmend it! I gently remeoved the offending piece of silicone Macguyver style, with the handle of my fingernail clippers on my keychain (i was at work) but I now have a 20$ pair of earbuds that I only can use one side. and I had considered using this type of earplug to replace the silicone, and you confirmed it! now where in hades do i find a pair in my neck of the woods? Revo

    Shure isn't the only one, many many other companies make 'Canalphones', like Etymotic, Ultimate Ears, Sharp, Aiwa (Sony), Panasonic, even Coby. More to be found at

    Shure makes a headphone that look and performs exactly like the ones you made (the E4c), the only difference is that the Shure phones cost $299. Great instructable.