From the DIY drawer: Novero Tour/Sennheiser PX-100 hybrid mod
Over Christmas, I came across a sale where the Novero Tour Bluetooth headphones were being sold for £19, down from an alleged MSRP of £70. I thought the design was interesting, so I decided to give them a go, and they popped up just before the weekend. I immediately had an issue with the comfort of the headphones, something that I had half suspected. I’m fairly picky when it comes to headphones, and the nontraditional vertically mounted earbud design of the Tour wasn’t received too well by my ears.
What I did notice, was that the design of the Tour is almost identical to that of the Sennheiser PX-100. The two headphones share the same headband design, a small headband that’s both collapsible and adjustable. I’ve had a pair of PX-100s for years, since long before the new II and even newer IIi (iDevice compatible) versions came out. They’ve fared well, though the plug has needed replacing a few times. At one point, the cable was too short to keep replacing the plug without replacing the entire cable, so I cut off the cable to where it would be perfect to use with my Jabra Clipper. Still, half a wire is still not wireless, so I wanted to try to see if I could take the PX-100- with the sound and design I love – and somehow merge it with the Novero Tour.
I was a bit hesitant to do this, as failure would mean I just scrapped two working pairs of headphones. Still, the thought of a wireless pair of PX-100 was worth the risk. I cut off the earbud-like speakers from the Tour using a Dremel, and then cut off the ends of the PX-100 at the point where they’re supposed to interconnect when folded. The PX-100 cups/speakers are mounted using a ball joint system that have the ball piece mounted to the speaker and the hole for it in the band. This means you basically need to use a solid part of the original PX-100 headband in order to keep the ball joint system. That’s not ideal, but the self-adjusting system the ball joint provides is pretty crucial.
Before gluing anything together, I soldered the wires going to the now-removed buds to the wires for the PX-100 speakers, which luckily have cables for each speaker. Then what I essentially did with the “parts” was to use hot glue (my very best friend) to glue the piece from the PX-100 headband to the Novero Tours, covering where I cut off the original buds. I decided to mount this extra piece on the side of the headband, as to not make it tighter by putting it towards the skull. Because the Tour is such a compact pair of Bluetooth headphones to begin with, the resulting contraption is ironically more compact than something made from scratch to have this design.
The result of this mod still amazes me. I can count on one hand the number of mods I’ve done that have worked this perfectly, and the resulting pair of headphones are the best Bluetooth headphones I’ve ever had. I’ve had multiple pairs of Bluetooth headphones, including some that are as close to this mod as you can get out of the box, but they’ve all been garbage in comparison. Comfort-wise, the hybrid pair is perfect, being very similar to the original PX-100. Sound quality is like the PX-100, which isn’t a given as you can get quite a bit of quality loss with cheap Bluetooth gear. That only goes to show that the Tour are actually good headphones on their own, as there are quality parts hiding behind the Andreas-incompatible design. I’ve been using the finished mod for the last few days, and I couldn’t be more pleased with the result.
I’m currently waiting for a shipment of Sugru to cover the shiny black hot glue some more easily shape-able matte Sugru, to make it look a bit less DIY. Somehow, my stock of Sugru is always empty by the time I really need it.