Build an “Aladdin's Lamp”, Gold Plated Copper In-ear Hi–Fi Earphone/Headphone

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About: www.earphonediylabs.org is my blog to share learnings and experiences building earphones.

Intro: Build an “Aladdin's Lamp”, Gold Plated Copper In-ear Hi–Fi Earphone/Headphone

Name of this earphone "Aladdin's Lamp" came to me when I got the golden plated shell. The shinning and rounded shape reminded me this old fairy tell :) Even though, my (might be very subjective) conclusion is the sound quality is just amazing. 10mm drivers in in–ear earphones is comparable with 9inch speakers on loudspeakers, and offers the best bass I have ever heard. May be massage is the right word to decribe the feeling of the super bass. The metal shell well avoid harmful viberations which you may met on most plastic eaphones, and offers a clear sound. Well the overall budget is managable to <$40.

I build this earphone for 2 purposes, one is as a benchmark of all the rest of in-ear earphones in my next plan. another is as a reference for the FR (frequnecy response) measurement DIY project I am building (as instructable not allowing publishing incompleted project, it may take a while).

  1. Build a Hi-Fi Headphone From Scratch
  2. A full size malnut wood Hi–End headhpone

Step 1: Material List and Tools

You will need following materials (see embedded links if you want to order) :

1. the "Aladdin Lamp" shell, which is actually golden plated copper. Note it includes a upper cover and a lower cover, an anti-dust net, and can hold 10mm or smaller driver units.

2. a DIY cable, I pick a yellow one with golden plated 3.5mm jack and mic. Looks the color perfectly matching the shell :)

3. A pair of 10mm dynamic drivers.I use the model same as Sennheiser IE80.

4. Ear pads (come with the shell), as the earphone is very tiny and hard to read any word on it, I pick 2 different color to mark left and right.

5. Other tiny staffs (come with the shell) to install drivers and fix cables.

You will need ordinary tools like knife, soldering iron, glue (E8000 or similar slow-dry, silicon based model), and a vice clamp. Note the clamp is critical in soldering and installation, see more details below.

Step 2: Wiring

Make sure following the direction and order as shown in the pic.

The hole is tiny and need a little bit pressure to get passed.

Step 3: Install Anti-dust Net to the Upper Cover

the anti-dust net is sticky at the backside. what you need to do is carefully attach it to the cover. Gently press it afterwards to make sure it firmly attached with the shell.

Step 4: Install Dynamic Drivers to the Upper Cover

1. Attach the cushion ring (sticky on both sides) to the front cover of the dynamic driver.

2. Evenly paint glue around the outer of the dynamic driver. DO NOT leave any glue at the front/back side of the driver!

3. Install the dynamic driver (with the cushion ring on it) to the upper cover, and wait for 10min until the glue dry

This is the most difficult and risky part

  • Ensure the driver being installed in place perfectly horizontal
  • Ensure AIR TIGHT. any tiny gap between diver and inner of the upper cover will cause "leakage of bass". the result is a big loss of low frequency
  • in most case you have only one chance. As once the glue dry, it's very difficult to take out the driver undamaged and glue again. Proceed with caution!

Step 5: Soldering

  • First thing first, fix the upper cover on the vice clamp BEFORE SOLDERING!

The dynamic driver is with strong magnetic and may stick to the soldering iron - and get killed in seconds.

  • Solder it quick and never keep the soldering panel heated >2S

Notice the wiring sequence - dynamic driver is with +/- polarities. Wrong wiring will cause it working inappropriately.

Your earphone actually can work now! you may want to connect to your cell phone and check if soldering being done correctly.

Step 6: Apply Wire Clip and Assembling

Apply the wire clip firmly to the cable. this is critical to prevent dragging from the outside hurting the driver.

Also apply a little bit glue to the joint of cable and lower cover to seal any gap.

Glue upper/lower covers together, press them into the right position on the vice clamp for 30min.

Step 7: Final Touches and Debug

in most cases, there will be glues left over. that why E8000 is recommended - it is flexible after fully dry and can be easily removed with wet wipes (containing a little bit alcohol).

Try it out immediately with your instrument and compare it with your reference phone! if you followed every step correctly, you shall have a fully functional earphone!

Step 8: Conclusion

The build what you see was "robbed" away from me by my colleague - according to him this is much better than his urBeats by stronger bass - for free :(

Anyway, I'm heading to the next one with a better cable and an upgraded driver unit, which will also be the first object of the FR instrument I'm DIYing :)

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