Updated May 20 - 08

JENA Labs is not going to be custom modifying any more older products as it is just not a situation were we have full control of all of the parameters of manufacture.
However independent of any and all uncontrollable situations of custom reworking of other peoples products, is the reality of the superior performance of our Ultra Wire.

We manufacture new products and with total control of the entire process we can be self assured of the total quality control that is best for our customers, and for our long standing reputation of supreme excellence.

The last modified product gets a review...
but first the product modified is presented

The Sony MDR-R10

One of the most legendary dynamic headphones ever produced is the Sony MDR-R10, also known simply as the R10. The overall ear-cup design and it's internal transducer are considered by many audiophiles to be the best personal listening system ever produced. As with all audio systems, the performance of any given component can only be as good as the quality of the signal it is given. While the original copper wire harness may be sufficient to please most owners, there are those who wish to explore the upper limits of the transducer and ear-cup system.

The last JENA Labs R10 upgrade.

The headphones ear-cups were totally disassembled from the headband frame. The pad system was removed, and the transducer was removed from the wood surround, allowing access to the solder tabs on the interior surface. Only then can the original harness be un-soldered and removed.  A new harness is constructed, installed, and the system reassembled with special tools and adhesives.  Our JENA Labs 22 G Ultra-Wire was used at the ear-cup, 2 strands for each polarity, a total of 4 braided strands at each cup. The new 22 G ear-cup wires were then brought together in a shielded splice where they are joined to an 8 strand braided Ultra Wire 18G cable that continues on to the connector system. 

 JENA Labs R10 harness offered a vast improvement over the original wire system.


Termination / Connector System
We offered a conventional Tip-RIng-Sleeve 1/4 inch 'phono' style plug from Neutric, or independent Left-Right isolated ground [ so called "Balanced"] termination. Independent termination was offered in three formats. The most common option was via XLR Male connector which has become the defacto standard for 'consumer'  balanced headphone outputs. Less common was connection via Female XLR, the standard for all professional balanced line level interfaces. More obscure would have been the option of termination with a separate pair of Tip-Sleeve 1/4 inch 'phono' style plugs. This system is often seen in vintage professional audio equipment such as Ampex and Studer stereo recording systems, and true dual-mono, separate Left-Right chassis consumer audio systems with 1/4 inch, single circuit, headphone jacks.

For all headphone harness upgrades, please contact our affiliate Ken at Audio Line Out to discuss your other headphone rewiring needs. Ken is a fully licensed JENA Labs Ultra-Wire OEM fabricator and modifier. Ken has a superb track record of customer service and exemplary craftsmanship, all at reasonable prices. ALO also manufactures or retails a complete line of headphone related products such as iPod docking stations, mini amplifiers, and miniature interconnects and adapters.



A Happy Ken Ball JENA Labs modified Sony MDR-R10 delights Ken Ball of AudioLineOut.
Review - ALO:

Fun with Modded Sony R10s - from http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f70/fun-modded-sony-r10s-274275/#post3499027

    I have enjoyed positive reviews* and posts on my headphone modification efforts in the past and continue to beautify and enhance Grados and AKG701s. While I have used various custom built multiple thin ga
Fun with Modded Sony R10suge silver wire headphone designs, the nature of a solid silver cable does not perform well mechanically and I have solely been using the (JenaLabs) Ultra Wire for not only my headphone mods but ipod and IC cables as well. I have looked far and wide to try and locate a better conductor for a headphone cable, sonics and durability in this application. The JenaLabs wire does wonders for mid range and bottom end resolution, extension of frequency, decay, and all the wile not sacrificing the detail of the upper end. I have auditioned several other vendors headphone cables and found them to all be weighted to one end of the spectrum or the other, never finding a correct balance between the two. Most were all way to bright and tinny, while the rest were bloated, muddy and truncated. Every stock headphone cable you see today on headphones are not meeting the full potential to the headphone, this is due to economics mostly as a headphone cable to meet the full potential is going to simply add too much cost to the bottom line of the product. Moreover the physical size of a cable suitable for meeting the full potential of the headphone will turn many mainstream consumers away. Oh yeah and the fact that the conductor needed to propel the headphone to its hidden inherent potential is pretty hard to find.

I am pretty lucky to have Jennifer and Michael of JenaLabs in my home town and have a partnership with them in that I do use the Ultra Wire from them and have the added bonus to pick Jennifer and Michaels brain on occasion, and get much needed advise as they have been in this business much longer than I have and both have EE backgrounds. I have been using the smaller 22G Ultra Wire (what ALO has been calling “Cryo Wire”). The impact of the AKG using this 22G Cryo wire simply transforms the AKG 701; it’s night and day IMO and others. I recently made a pair of these AKG701s with the Ultra Wire for my friend Vinnie Rossi (Red Wine Audio). Vinnie contacted me saying he needed a good headphone for a build he was working on. I told him I would be more than happy to make him one of my modded versions. And Vinnie replied saying, “really does it make that much of a difference?” I had sent one of his workers a stock pair of AGK701s and he was pretty happy with the stock one so I guess he was thinking a stock one would be fine. I proceeded to tell him the pluses of the mod I do with the 701s but it’s very hard to describe the dramatic transformation of the headphone with the cable, you just need to hear one. Ultimately I told him to just wait and hear for yourself. Sure enough he was thrilled when he got them, compared to the stock, no contest.

I started making more extreme variation of the Ultra Wire headphone cable recently by making a 8 wire flat braid using the 22G UW. The first pair I did this to was to a pair of HF-1’s I bartered off head-fi’er AglieOne, and thus nicknamed the 8-wire cable “The Agileone” headphone cable. This can instantly became my favorite headphone. Comparing HF-1s between the AgileOne cable and a standard 4 wire braid was like someone was increasing the “everything” knob. Wow I though I wish I could use the larger 18G UW for a headphone cable, that would take it to the next level. However I was pretty certain that cramming 2 heavy 18G wired into a headphone cup and soldering them to the delicate solder pads of a Grado or the pole in a AGK701 would equate to future failure. So I never attempted this. Then a while back I was browsing the JenaLabs website and saw photos of Jennifer’s recabled R10s. I knew she was working with these legendary headphones. I still think she is nuts for working with these phones. For those of you who are not familiar with the Sony R10, they are considered by many an audiophile as the world’s finest headphone, are no longer in production, and command a cool $4,500 - $7,000 for a used pair. I was talking to Jennifer about working with the R10s, I told her that working with R10s is a “pucker factor” of 10 and no thanks. I don’t care how much money your getting for modding a R10 its not enough! When I make a mistake (oh and I never make mistakes!) I have ample NEW parts for my builds. Not so with a headphone that is out of production. This is just a testament to her ability and skill at doing this. I have recabled a lot of headphones, the AKG is IMO the hardest headphone to recable and even with all the skill I have at doing this kind of work you will never find me recabling a R10, ever! Shes nuts I thought, then oh now I have to hear one!. Anyway while I was browsing the JenaLabs page I saw her recabled R10s and wow she used the 18G wire? I called Jennifer and asked, hey how did you do that? Not only that she used a 8 wire 18G weave for the cable. Turns out that the 18G wire is only up to the “Y” split in the headphone. From there on up it’s a multiple 22G UW braid using a clever splice and solder joint. That’s how she is able to use the larger more potent 18G wire while still maintaining the delicate touch of the 22G wires into the cup, brilliant. But doesn’t the splice and solder degrade the sound? I asked her. Turns out it does, but only very slightly and the use of the larger 18G wires far outweigh the degradation of this solder joint. Additionally the solder joint is done a special way to minimize signal loss and maximize structural integrity. Of course I ended up copying the entire cable, with help from Jennifer of course, thank you Jennifer. But don’t ask me to recable your R10s with it, no thanks.
Picture above: Includes two headphone sets sent to us by Scott Wasserman. ( The Stock ones and the repaired and upgraded ones, center of picture )

So the day came when I got my audition with the R10s just last week. Jennifer brought a stock R10 and her 18G UW version as well as a big treat, a recabled Ultrasone Edition 9 headphone ($1,500) retail, pucker factor 8. Jennifer brought over a Tascam DVRA1000HD, DSD recorder. Which also plays Cds but is designed for live 2 tracks, or mixdown mastering work to 2 channels in the DSD format, 64 times the sample rate of CDs, and with much greater dynamic range. So first up on the Tascam was a DSD master file recorded live by Jennifer at Kaul Auditorium at Reed College, the Portland Chamber Orchestra, Yaakov Berman: Conductor. A Mozart concerto for horns....
The PCO website Portland Chamber Orchestra - Ryymes & Rhythms. Also amazing was this recording and look mom no compression.

The stock R10s - Yeah there they are, so smooth liquid and airy. Detail was just pouring out like someone removed the cotton from some of my best headphones, beautiful. Then the recabled R10s, yeah its was stunning and like a totally different headphone all together. The most impact from a headphone cable I have ever heard and easy the best headphone I have ever experienced. The biggest thing I noticed was the sheer weight and girth of the sound, yet will no loss of detail on the delicate sonics. The light lace like finger of the music so airy and expansive. A beautiful tight as hell bottom end, stunning. My jaw was on the table and she was just laughing at me with a knowing nod. I took them off and said you have got to be kidding, did you do something to the track or do something with the CD player? Of course she is just pointing to the cable. Still not believing I had her switch the phones again, still amazed I grabbed my iMod – LE-Vcap dock – LISA3 amp and qued up a track on my system to A/B the 2 phones. Yep still there and still was the huge difference.

Yeah I wish I could afford one of these cans. Perhaps some day and if any of you have a R10 you want to un load, please email me.

Next up was the Edition9’s. (edition-headphones.com) By Ultrasone. With the classical music I was not very impressed with the Edition9’s. I mean yeah it was still an awesome headphone. The Ultrasone Edition9 is wonderfully built headphone, solid and comfortable with a super detailed sound that was nicely open for a closed headphone. I took the headphones off to let her know that the Edition 9s were not on the same page as the R10s that just mopped the floor with every headphone I have ever heard. Jennifer saying, “hold on these are for rock and roll” then cued up some thing with a bit more speed - The Nylons, album: 'Because'. I donned the Edition9s again and holy crap! I was floored at how expansive and powerful resolute and bass yummy the Edition 9s became with rock and roll. It was like someone stuck my head inside a giant metal ball that was one big driver with music all about. I took them off and exclaimed, I have to buy a pair of these! And can you recable them for me? Seriously I really want to save up for a pair of these guys.

So at the end of the day I was able to audition 3 R10s, one stock, one recabled with the UW to a balanced XLR with a 1/4 adaptor and one with the same UW cable to a 1/4 plug that was just glorious. The R10 is not my cup of tea size wise, me being a freak for anything portable and this is why I was so in love with the Edition9s. But for sheer sound quality, wow the recabled R10s was a real treat!

I know that there will be nay sayers who will read this and go on with negativity, yeah hes in the business and has his motives for saying this for profit, your wanting to help JenaLabs out, I want to sell snake oil, I am full of poopoo, etc..and what ever. But the fact is that the cable does make a huge difference, is it for everyone, hell no. Moreover I really do not want to do a lot of headphone work because its not really that profitable, and takes a great deal of time.

*See ToneAudio Edition 10 and 10
Tone Audio Online - Download Tone Magazine

Note: None of the R10s are the property of JenaLabs and they have none for sale.

Ken @ ALO


For the sake of reference to products modified by JENA Labs or JENA Technologies, It would be wise to read Our Return Policy.



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