washing Sennheiser HD600 headphone earpieces?

Discussion in 'Location Recording' started by Exsultavit, Jan 7, 2008.

  1. Exsultavit

    Exsultavit Active Member

    I just got a new set from Old Lyme (very expensive!). I'm thinking of cleaning the old ones. Any thoughts? As you probably know, they are foam covered with black velvet/ velour...

    Woolite, anyone? Has anyone done this before ?
  2. Exsultavit

    Exsultavit Active Member

    OK, OK. Probably the most boring topic I could have created.

    I did the Woolite thing- boy, did that water turn grey. Twice! It may take a few days to dry these things, but I'll let you know how it all worked out.

    Yes, I detached the pads from the phones before submersion....

    If this is too lame, please delete this thread.

  3. Simmosonic

    Simmosonic Active Member

    Actually, I'll be keen to learn how the washed pads fare after a week or so...

    I lent my Beyer DT990s (which I loved dearly at the time) to an engineer who used to sweat terribly during recording. We were working together, I was using my HD600s and he was using my DT990s. At one point he handed me the DT990s to cross-reference with the HD600s and the ear pads were literally soaked in sweat. I didn't physically react, so as not to embarass him, but I couldn't bring myself to wear them.

    A few days after they dried out, the foam broke down rapidly and collapsed into a powder, leaving the baffle pressing against my ears. Instead of buying new pads, I sold the phones cheap 'as is' to another engineer, who bought new pads and a new headband for them. I have often wondered if a good soaking in an appropriate detergent would have saved them.
  4. Exsultavit

    Exsultavit Active Member

    Dear Simmsonic-

    I have 3 pairs of HD600 phones, and handwashed each one's pads in Woolite. Seemed to work very well! My advice to others: be very gentle with the pads so as not to distort the foam that is under the velvet. Initially, I 'squashed' the water out after washing in an attempt to quicken the dry time. After trying this a few times, I let #3 drip-dry without squashing. Result: the pads seem firmer and more in the original form. Took overnight to dry.

    As for your Beyers' foam falling apart after your friend sweated on them: I am a sweater and have soaked my HD600's many times. This did not (I think) cause the foam under the velvet to break down, but maybe your friend has more poisonous sweat!

    If one can detach the foam or fabric from a headset without damage, I can tell you that a little Woolite can only improve things; Imagine if we never washed our sweaty shirts!

    Glad you expressed an interest, S! Yes, in pro audio, sometimes it's those little details that count...

  5. Simmosonic

    Simmosonic Active Member

    Very useful information, thanks!

    This might sound perverse, but have you ever sniffed the ear pads on your headphones? Sometimes they can be really smelly, especially after a year or so of use. Kind of like those sweaty clothes you mentioned...

    For many years I was using a pair of Beyer DT250s, which have a fabric ear pad, for my location recordings in the Himalaya. After a recording, I'd hand the 'phones over to the performers for playback. That's not such a problem in the West, but if you're in Tibet it's a totally different thing. Most traditional Tibetans have an aversion to water and washing, and so they're quite feral; matted hair and so on. I'd hate to think what has crawled into my Beyer's ear pads and died in there. Or thrived...

    I've recently switched to AudioTechnica's M50s, which are an improvement over the Beyers in just about every respect. They have faux leather earpads, which can be wiped clean. I like them very much, but I'll say no more because I'm currently on a sponsorship deal that includes AT headphones and microphones. So you may want to take this comment with a grain of salt.

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