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Are Grado's bowl pads...dangerous?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I really don't know how to describe this, but I think this can serve as a warning at least. When I use my old flat pads with my MSP, I can keep my headphone amp's level very low typically. However, when I switch over to the bowl pads, I have to raise the level much higher...and obviously because of the increased distance the bowl pads give the drivers from the ears. However...say I had already tuned in a perfect level with the flat pads...then switch over to the bowl pads and have to turn the volume up...wouldn't I be increasing the volume beyond what I had set to safe with the flat pads? The reason I'm suddenly suspect about how safe the bowl pads are in terms of volume is because everytime I've used my Grados with bowl pads, a slow sense of physical discomfort comes over my ears, even though the volume sounds relatively safe. And the only way to describe the feeling is that it's that feeling you get when you think you're listening too loud...a very slow sense of fatigue starts creeping over you. This makes me suspect the Grados are outputting way beyond what is safe, even if it SOUNDS safe...and that extra distance is what's fooling the ears.

Anyways, I don't know if that made any sense at all, but it is something I've been concerned and bothered about for a while now. Anybody know what's going on?
post #2 of 10

Try put cover only one ear with your MSPs and leave one ear uncovered. Get someone to talk to you and see if it sounds significantly louder than the sound you're hearing in your covered ear.

I've heard this is a good test. Be careful with your hearing!
post #3 of 10
I don't see how your theory holds up since you're ears are indeed placed farther away from the sound source. We are talking physical distance here. In other words if we apply this to being in the audience at a concert (flats = 1st row seating and bowls = 10th row seating), then those db's encountered by the persons in the 10th row should never be greater than those experienced at the 1st row location. The only exception I can think of would have to do with standing waves.
post #4 of 10
Wouldn't it be better if the earcups were farther?

I heard somewhere that it is harder to get hearing damage from speakers than headphones... so, farther the speaker, safer?
post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
flashbak, that's what I keep thinking too...that you'd HAVE to crank up the volume to maintain the same volume you'd get with the flat pads, and that the distance does literally bring down the volume. For my ear's sake I'm hoping that is what's happening. My dangerous volume sensories keep making me think otherwise though...
post #6 of 10
My advise at this stage would be to stop listening to your phones for a day or two. Give you ears a rest. Back off the volume for a little bit and see how things progress.
post #7 of 10

Hearing damage

Levels which are loud enough to cause damage, ARE LOUD ENOUGH TO CAUSE DAMAGE, whether through headphones OR speakers! Then why is it possible for headphones to be more "dangerous"? Simple. Two of the ways we judge volume are through room interaction, and distortion, both of which increase tremendously when using speakers at high levels, but which change little if any when headphones are listened-to loud. With headphones it's simply harder to accurately judge just how loud we're listening!
post #8 of 10
Distortion, yes.. With my Sony cans, I could really ear it at loud volume, and that meant "turn me down, or else...". With my Grados, sound stays clear at levels way higher than what I consider safe. So I have to be careful.

Here's what I do. After I raise the volume, I take the cans off, and listen. It's then easier to judge volume, holding the cans in front of you.

Be careful!
post #9 of 10
Have you tried using the Grado comfy pads (for SR60) with center cut out, as recommended by Headroom. Provides extra comfort/softness, and allows ear to be closer than current bowl pads (which are very rough feeling for extended use)
post #10 of 10
I heard somewhere that it is harder to get hearing damage from speakers than headphones... so, farther the speaker, safer?
It's not because of headphones themselves -- it's because people tend to listen to headphones louder.

My personal test for whether or not I'm listening too loudly -- when I put them on, I listen to my headphones and then try to imagine how loud my speaker-based system would have to be to create the same volume level at my ears. Usually I find that my headphones are too loud, because to get that same volume on speakers I would really be blasting the stereo.
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