Even if I can afford them, I'd punch myself in the face before buying real audiophile headphones. But I'm far from being an audio nerd, unlike the folks who inhabit online audiophile forums talking about sound equipment like it's a religious experience. Audio enthusiasts who can't fork out the thousand-dollar price tags for high-grade pairs of cans now have a cheaper option: the Thunderpants.
Made by Gary Butcher (online handle Smeggy), the headphones aren't built from scratch. Instead, they're modified versions of the Fostex T50RP, a $75 headphone that's evolved into a favorite among the web's legion of audiophile modders.
The Thunderpants audiophile headphones use the T50RP's stock drivers, fitted with custom wood cups and a selection of earpads (you can get the stock Fostex pads that come with the T50RP or a few other options at an extra price). You can get it pre-assembled and finished, with prices depending on what kinds of wood were used for the cups (starts at $550).
For those who enjoy their soldering (and sandpapering and "screwdrivering") duties, you can opt for either a pre-finished kit or a basic one. Both will include all the parts (except the Fostex T50RP) and assembly instructions needed to build your own, with the main difference being the cups, which come pre-finished on the former and bare on the latter. Pricing for the Thunderpants DIY Kit starts at $200 for the bare version and $300 for the pre-finished. This can go up depending on the type of wood you request.