How to replace ear cushions on the Koss UR-20 headphone

In this tutorial I’ll be demonstrating how to replace the ear cushions on a pair of Koss headphones, specifically the Koss UR-20. For full size headphones, they’re pretty cheap, but for me they’ve been extremely reliable over the past 8 years or so that I’ve owned them. Their first point of failure, however, was the thin faux leather skin that covers the ear cushions and the speakers.

First things first, I’m going to need to buy the ear cushions themselves. You can buy them directly from Koss for $5. Visit koss.com, then search for the model number UR-20.

Now we’re ready to pull apart these headphones. The headphone itself is actually just two plastic cups held together by three screws. They’re hidden underneath the lip of the ear cushion, so I need to stretch them out a little to get access to them. Now I can take them out using a #1 Phillips head screwdriver. The ear cushion is wrapped around the part that’s not attached to the band, and once they’re separated, I can just pull it off. The two pieces are only attached by the speaker wires, so I need to be careful not to damage them as I work.

The replacement ear cushion doesn’t replace the padding that used to be on the speaker itself. When that faux leather skin flaked off of this part, it exposed this black foam underneath. It’s attached to a plastic ring that’s glued to the speaker, so I can just use a small flathead screwdriver to peel it off. You may need to pick off some of the foam in the center in order to get at it. Once I’ve got that off, I can clean it with an alcohol pad.

Since I don’t have a replacement part for the padding over the speaker, I need some kind of material to cover this exposed plastic. The question is what kind of material? Well, I found this really great tutorial by dleithinger on Instructables that shows you how to build ear cushions out of old socks. We don’t need such an elaborate build, but we can borrow this idea to cover the exposed speaker.

I’m going cut a sock in half lengthwise so that it lays flat. One side of the sock is smooth, but the other side is really textured – something I definitely don’t want touching my ear. So let’s consider this textured side as the back, the one that’ll be facing away from me. So I’m going to lay the sock on the speaker with the textured side up, so I can trace the shape I need to cut with a Sharpie marker.

When I go to cut it, I want to cut it slightly bigger than the shape I traced. Don’t go too small, because you can always cut off more later if you need to. Any excess that I have can just be tucked under the ear cushion, so it doesn’t need to be exact.

As far as attaching the sock, I definitely don’t want anything permanent like a glue. It needs to come off easily when it’s time to replace the sock, so I’m just going to use some scotch tape that’s been folded over on itself. You can probably use double sided tape too, but I didn’t have any on hand.

Now I’m ready to replace the ear cushions which is as simple as stretching them out over the speaker. If there’s any part of this process that’s going to a little annoying, it’s going to be stretching it so that the ear cushion doesn’t block the holes for the screws. This might take a bit of fiddling to get it right. Once I’ve got that squared away, I need to align the holes and replace the screws.

Now that it’s all one piece again, I can tuck in the sock under the ear cushions. If there’s too much to tuck in, I can just cut off any excess. You do want to be careful doing this so that you don’t accidentally cut the ear cushions.

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2 Trackbacks

  1. By Thoughtshots #8 | william chinda : blog on January 16, 2011 at 8:41 pm

    […] the band-aid on my finger (I stabbed myself with the screwdriver in the video) is kind of gross. Full post here. This entry was posted in Projects, Thoughtshots and tagged thoughtshots, tutorial, video. […]

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by William Chinda. William Chinda said: RT @thoughtshots: New on thoughtshots.com – How to replace ear cushions on a pair of Koss headphones http://t.co/DWiEygK […]

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