Putting the “custom” into beyerdynamic’s Custom Studio headphones

As usual it took me ages to find what I was looking for. This time I wanted a pair of closed on-/over-ear headphones with a neutral setup that would be suited for both music-listening and monitoring. After listening to various headphones by Sennheiser, Bose and Sony – that did not fully convince me – I took my chances by ordering a pair of beyerdynamic Custom Studio headphones. Closed over-ear headphones with velour ear cushions and a solid build quality that promised to deliver an overwhelming audio quality. Roughly a week after I placed my order I held them in my hands and couldn’t wait to plug them in.

A workday on the PC, a workday on mobile and a a couple of hours on my receiver later it was decided: I shall keep them. However, something’s been bugging me since day one. The headphones are (optically) customizable, and a variety of accessories can be acquired in order to personalize the headphones according to everybody’s personal gusto. Well, except mine. Out of the box they come with black covers that have just the model name and a sound wave printed on them in white. The decision that they’d have to go was a no-brainer.

And anyway, it was about time for a handwork-project – in contrast to my day to day job. I was looking for something unique. Something that would add personal value to my new headphones. Something that stood out from the black headband, the black ear pads and the black cable.

Lucky me, I was on holiday in Tuscany and while talking a walk through an olive grove I literally stumbled over what I didn’t know I was looking for. An old, dried up trunk of an olive tree. Wind and weather had left their marks on this chunk of wood, making it even more interesting.

So after scouting the basement for some tools I took the biggest saw i could find and got myself a piece of that trunk. I needed to fight off some ants that were quite possessive of the branch but then it was game time. First I rasped the cut surface so that I could sand it. This revealed potential cracks and the woods texture so it was easier to find the right place where to cut out the new covers. I slowly cut two thin slices both approximately 4-5 mm thick. In order to bring them into the right shape I took measure of the original covers by outlining them on a piece of paper. Then I sawed them roughly into form before I taped the cut out paper-forms onto the slices. Using a rasp, sandpaper and the original covers I worked them down to the correct form. After they fit (almost) perfectly into the frame that fixates them on the headphones I needed to bring the thickness down to about 3 mm.

Once that was done they were ready to go onto the bds where they looked absolutely great. But I wanted to darken them a bit and make the texture really pop out so I applied some olive oil (that also contained olives from that tree) onto the cleaned surface of the covers. After giving them some time to absorb I wiped off the excessive oil and they were ready to get back on to the headphones.

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