The purpose of this Instructable is to upgrade any cheap Bluetooth headphones to a H-Fi one and comparable with Beats Studio (~$300). Note although Bluetooth wireless prevents high bit rate flow, to enjoy true hi-fi you can still connect it with a 3.5mm jack cable.
The method is very straight forward, the dynamic driver (speakers) inside these cheap headphone is simple so poor. Replacing them with a hi-end one will immediately boost the quality. Note dynamic driver accounts for 90% of the sound quality of a headphone - the rest is the acoustic design of the shell, quality of the cable, etc. So this is a method with best ROI.
As most Bluetooth headphones use 40mm drivers, in this post I use a $15 headphone, a best seller from online shops with 40mm drivers, and show you how to replace it with Beats Audio 2.0 drivers.
To begin with, you will need following. The entire process take 1~2 hours, or 30min if you have quick hands.
- a Bluetooth headphone with 40mm drivers/speakers. You may get this info from its Ads. If you have one at hand, you can open and measure its diameter.
- A pair of Beats Audio 2.0 drivers, you can order from here.
- Screw drivers, knife, glue soldering iron
I'm a fan of DIY headphones. See my other builds at https://www.instructables.com/member/EarphoneDIYLabs/
Step 1: Open Up the Front Cover
You need to open up the cover and expose the dynamic drivers. I'm lucky as this headphone used screws not glue :)
Most headphones would put the battery at one side and the PCB on the other side (i.e., with all buttons). Proceed with caution not to break anything!
Step 2: Check the Dynamic Drivers and Unwire It
You will need to record the wiring sequence before unwire it.
Step 3: Heart Surgery Starts - Replacing the Dynamic Driver
In most cases, the dynamic drivers are glued firmly with the front panel. Lift around it with a tiny flat screw driver. this is a tricky part, you need to be patient and proceed slowly, not to break the front panel.
Step 4: Understand the Difference!
Here is a side by side comparison of 2 drivers. Left one is Beats Studio headphone drivers, the right one is teardown from the cheap headphone. You can see obviously:
1. Studio driver is with a much bigger coil build in OFC, which greatly reduce harmful distortion of the diaphragm.
2. Studio driver is with a bigger magnet (the silver metal disk at the backend), which help to increase the sensitivity and improve working condition of the diaphragm.
3. or in short, the difference give you super bass and bright voice, which you can feel immediately after finishing.
Step 5: Glue the New Driver to the Front Cover, and Wiring
Be careful not to left any glue on either the front or backend side of the driver!
Also remember to wire in exactly same order as the previous drivers.
Step 6: Finish and Enjoy It!
Install everything back in reversed order, and now you can enjoy your Studio!
There are some major differences you may feel immediately, even you are not a Hi-Fi fan:
1. Super bass. You will hear a much much deeper bass
2. Higher sensitivity. You will find you need less volume
3. Details. You will feel much more details from the music, and everything becomes clear.
For a Hi-Fi know-how, there are still many things can be improved. for example, shells of the cheap headphones are tiny and in plastic. Echo inside the shell make the sound sounds "plastic", if you understand what I mean. You may want to add some sound-absorbing materials, like sponge or cotton, to reduce the side effect. Or another way is to find a better shell.