If you use headphones on the air, as either a short wave listener or radio amateur, you’ll appreciate the advantages of a comfortable set of headphones with a frequency response tailored to speech. The Kenwood HS-5 headphones have been around for many years and receive rave reviews on places such as eham. The HS-5s are still available brand new, but replacement pads for the earpieces are not.
The HS-5s have a mono 1/4 inch jack plug which suits most radios. They will handle around 200mW into their eight ohm impedance…so don’t overload them. The frequency response is 150Hz to 4KHz approx (-6dB points).
My rather ancient pair had started to feel a bit odd, and I found out that the foam pad on one earpiece had disintegrated and the other was compromised, to say the least. This is when I discovered replacement pads were no longer available. I bought an ‘opened – never used’ pair off eBay, which of course turned out to be a frequently opened and used many times pair; they were returned.
The ear pads can be removed by simply pressing your fingers around the rim, where the fabric is, and turning the pad carefully anti-clockwise until it clicks and can be removed. It will come as no surprise that replacement is the reverse of this procedure.
The earpiece foam consists of an outer tapered ring with a separate central piece with holes in it. I measured the overall diameter as 70mm and discovered several eBay sellers offering new foam pads for generic headphones, with such a diameter. They cost under £2 and could be pushed under the rim of the plastic ear piece ring, and next to the fabric cover. Whilst the originals had a hole right through, these didn’t and frankly, it didn’t seem to make any difference. There is a slider below showing the replacement items.
At the time of writing, Martin Lynch and Son stock the HS-5s for under £73 brand new.
For optimum comfort, you can bend the metal headband to fit your head shape, and adjust the earpieces for best fit. It is also possible to replace the mono jack plug with a stereo one and connect the wires accordingly; it may be necessary to rewire some pairs of HS-5s with stereo cable.