Build an in-ear earphone to compete with Sennhesier IE80

Sennheiser IE80 (see review below) was a benchmark of in-ear earphones. However, the $250 price is also prohibiting. This project is trying to reproduce the style/quality of its sound in a very cost-effective way – Do It By yourself!

 

The materials: Shell, dynamic drivers and cable (find all at shop of Earphone DIY Labs)

See below of an over view of the IE 80 compatible shell kit. As you can see, it is very complex as the original IE80 is with a bass tuner structure, which adding 5 more tinny components.Build an in-ear earphone to compete with Sennheiser IE80Build an in-ear earphone to compete with Sennheiser IE80

Let’s understand more about every component in the kit.

Build an in-ear earphone to compete with Sennheiser IE80

Build an in-ear earphone to compete with Sennheiser IE80

Build an in-ear earphone to compete with Sennheiser IE80

Build an in-ear earphone to compete with Sennheiser IE80

Build an in-ear earphone to compete with Sennheiser IE80

Build an in-ear earphone to compete with Sennheiser IE80

Build an in-ear earphone to compete with Sennheiser IE80

Build an in-ear earphone to compete with Sennheiser IE80

Build an in-ear earphone to compete with Sennheiser IE80

Build an in-ear earphone to compete with Sennheiser IE80

The 2nd but the most important thing is the dynamic driver. The shell is designed for 10mm drivers and I have 2 options as below. I finally pick the later one after comparing their characters – the later one is with dual magnetic drivers and offers a brighter mid frequency – though it’s a hard choice as both performing very good.  

Build an in-ear earphone to compete with Sennheiser IE80

Sennheiser IE80 compatible drivers

Build an in-ear earphone to compete with Sennheiser IE80

10mm dynamic driver with dual magnetic drivers and organic diaphragm

The last one is the cable. Here I have 2 cables. The 2nd (blue and braided one) is more soft and greatly reduces the stethoscope effect and my favorite. 

Build an in-ear earphone to compete with Sennheiser IE80

Build an in-ear earphone to compete with Sennheiser IE80

Build an in-ear earphone to compete with Sennheiser IE80

Build an in-ear earphone to compete with Sennheiser IE80

Step 1: Assembling the kit

Once you get yourself familiar with the component, the 1st step is to solder the wire to the connectors, and assemble the front cavity, upper cover and tuners with brackets. the result is like below. I’ll share more detailed steps later…

Build an in-ear earphone to compete with Sennheiser IE80

Build an in-ear earphone to compete with Sennheiser IE80

Step 2: Install the dynamic driver

This is to glue and embed the dynamic driver to the driver bracket. The key and difficulty are to ensure 100% tightly sealed. ANY tiny gap between the driver and the driver bracket will cause “leakage” which greatly reduces the low-frequency output. I’ll post photos later explaining how to…

Step 3: Wire (solder) the dynamic driver with the connector

This is a simple but risky step. the soldering panel of 10mm driver is a tiny as a sesame seed, and the component is very sensitive to overheating. Do keep soldering <2s and manage the temperature <250 degree C. Photos will be uploaded later…

Build an in-ear earphone to compete with Sennheiser IE80

 

Build an in-ear earphone to compete with Sennheiser IE80

Step 4: assemble the back cover, screwing and connect cables

this is the final and easiest step. And you finally get a working earphone! Try it out with your cell phone and see if any obvious issue. 

 

Last step: debug and finalize 

Try everything and benchmark it with the reference phone you have at hand. the most common errors would be:

  1. Sound sounds wired. wrongly wired the cable. Dynamic drivers are with +/- polarities, and you must connect correctly with the 3.5mm jack
  2. Lack of bass or the bass tuner not working – Gaps left in assembling, between driver and driver bracket, between upper and under covers, joints… everywhere must be carefully sealed with glue (mostly recommend E800).

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