An Audiophile “barn-find” that just needed the right owner and some TLC.

Sony MDR SA5000 with Balanced Recable made by Brandon Peterek.
 
These were bought by me 5 years ago used and in a bit of a state ( I don’t understand how people can even buy something so expensive and awesome yet treat it with such disregard. )
Either way, I was able to afford a cheapish pair of headphones I otherwise could have only dreamt about for the rest of my days! 
For whatever reason, The previous owner had replaced the stock cable ( Decent but renowned for falling apart rather quickly ) with another stock cable from a Sennheiser HD600/650. Another decent but meh cable. The SA5000’s deserve, No. Demand better. So when they arrived in the mail I was shocked at the state they were in.  
 
First port of call was to strip anything broken or filthy away and see what I had to work with. First thing I looked at were the drivers, Which thank the audio gods were in perfect condition. Apart from the absolute bodge of a soldering job. How they hadn’t shorted I don’t know. So I un-soldered that garbage and got rid!
The original ear pads had unfortunately been in some kind of altercation with a wild beast of unknown origin, They had been so badly messed up I gave them a little funeral ceremony and bid them on their way.
Some screws were missing so I bought a few various sizes of screws and found some that fit.
I gave them a really good clean, Put all the parts in bags and boxed them up for work to be done later on.
A few years later I decided it was time to have a go at re cabling them.
I had the soldering down well enough to trust myself opening these cans once again to perform surgery without killing them entirely.
I played with some ideas in my head about which wire to use, Did I want them balanced or single ended? and so on.
I decided on a Detachable cable so I would be able to run pretty much anything I wanted.
I fitted & glued in some MMCX connectors which became the bane of my life for several days. Eventually the connection gave out so I went back to the drawing board.
OK I thought… Pigtails. I can run the cable out of the cups so far and have the connectors a few inches outside of the cups.
I sourced some Sennheiser HD800 Connectors and got to work. They worked well, However, Being the fussy person I am ( I swear I’m a bit OCD about these things ) I didn’t like possible strain being put on the connections on the drivers themselves.
This is where Brandon comes in.
I had worked with Brandon before some time ago on a pair of custom build Senn-Grado’s and he had made me an amazing cable along with a one-off balanced to single ended adaptor jack. We’ll talk about this more in another blog.
But suffice to say Brandon’s cable making skills are far superior to mine.
And being Mr Perfectionist, I wanted the SA5K’s to have a cable that really complimented them in both sound and looks.
After a lot of late night talks ( Bran’s the other side of the pond to me so the time difference is rather large ) We decided on a hard wired cable terminated in a 4 pole XLR with a Pigtail to single ended jack.
By now I had just picked up a pair of HE400’s and had re terminated it’s already decent cable with a 4 pole XLR as I plan on getting a balanced amp with that connectivity. So it made sense to have all of my cans using the same connectors with the ability to make pigtails with various connectors for use with almost any amp.
Yesterday The finished Peterek cable arrived and I got to work.
I didn’t take internal shots as frankly it was a pain in the posterior job and the photos would have been hard to look at lol.
Again I am very impressed with Brandon’s workmanship! He is fast becoming a cable maker on par with other more widely known brands that I also use.
Packaging is simple but very well done .
The cable it’self is subtle and with the chosen y-splitter suites the SA5K’s perfectly!
They’re still fresh out of the box so they’re not properly burned in yet ( We won’t get into that today ok lol ) But Along with the new ear pads I managed to source from amazon ( Inexpensive – £3 for the pair. ) The sound has improved.
They already sounded amazing in their poor beat up state I found them in, But now the low end is tighter and more pronounced, Highs have been reigned in just a touch but still very crisp and clear.
The MDR SA5000 are well renowned for being a very unforgiving pair of headphones.
They are analytical to the point that any sub par recording falls flat.
Every little detail is emphasized in a clinical way that any imperfections or artefacts are named and shamed for all to hear!
Thank you Brandon for working with and helping me out yet again my friend! I understand being a dad, and having an audiophile in your ear about every tiny detail of the job must be a pain! You sir are a star!

Published by The Audiophile Cafe

40 something audiophile, writer, disabled carer, bookworm, gamer, parent, uncle... I love listening to great music on great gear.

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