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Total Airhead distorting ???

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I have a PJB-100 MP3 player plugged into my brand new Total Airhead. All MP3's are recorded at 256 to 320 bit levels. With my Sony MDR900's, it sounds pretty good... and LOUD!

Well, today my ETY4S's arrive in the mail. Praise God. I plug them in .... and they distort !!!! What's wrong with this picture? I think the S's are higher impedance than the P's, but I figured the Total Airhead could drive them just fine.

Desperate for help,
post #2 of 17
You'd have to push pretty high dangerous volumes to clip the TA with an ER4S, not that it isn't possible to do on TA's. And yes there are other portable amps out there...I don't think it'd be difficult to read the thread list and see.
post #3 of 17
Try replacing the battery. I used a TA to drive my etys for a while, and once they started distorting really bad. Well, turns out the battery was just dyin'. So maybe that's it?
post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 
just replaced batteries, no improvement.

plugged portable CD player into TA, with same distortion.

admittedly, I am driving these pretty hard, but I need LOUD for my rock'n roll. should not distort in my opinion.

I'm guessing the TA is the weak link here.
post #5 of 17
I can't imagine driving the etys to a level where they would distort. I think your ears would distort before you could get 'em up that loud :P

Anyway, ya, the TA has got to be the weak link, but uh, that's LOUD. Maybe your TA is defective or somethin', but mine would get them plenty loud. I could have seriously damaged my hearing before any distortion set in....
post #6 of 17
Well, we do have a Headroom forum now. You could go ask in there, get an answer straight from them.
post #7 of 17
I doubt the TA is the weak link (unless it is defective). It just amplifies what it gets fed in.

The PJB has no line-out, and its headphone-out is rated at 50mW (into 32 ohms). There is not much point in feeding this into the TA (which is rated like 25mW or so, and should operate on a clean line-level source), except maybe for the crossfeed.

Does your PCDP have a true line-out, and did you plug the TA into it?
post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 
yes the pcdp has a true line out which I plugged the TA into.
I'm gonna call Todd tomorrow for input.

interesting comment about 50mw output from PJB vs 25mw for TA. the TA actually helps boost the PJB quite a bit. Without the TA I can turn the PJB all the way up and, for me, it's not loud enough. When I plug the TA into it, the rig gets significantly louder.

thanks for all your comments/advice
post #9 of 17
Assuming none of your gear is defective...I'd have to say you are listening way too loud. The weak link can soon be your ears if true.

I remember the TA having basically three rotations of the thumb screw volume pot. At how many rotations do you do for distortion. I think 1 turn of the thumb screw pot was good enough for Ety4S.
post #10 of 17
If your TA is not defective, and you're driving a pair of Etys to the point of distortion, be prepared to experience significant and permanent hearing damage. They're the only ears you've got -- don't be stupid with them, especially if you enjoy listening to music.
post #11 of 17
My airhead distorts quite badly when the batteries are dying even at low levels, but surely my less sensitive, non isolating HD600s are harder to drive then the etys, and my regular airhead goes way too loud for my ears.

You really should turn the volume way down. Bombarding your ears with 110+ DB music, even with quality equipment will make you lose your high frequency hearing rather quickly.

I used to do that a few years ago, and while I don't think I suffered any permanent hearing loss, but I do have a rather annoying case of tinnitus or whatever it is, and I think my ears are rather sensitive - when a TV screen turns solid white, with the volume down fairly low I can hear a high pitched sound - the more white the louder the sound. Similarly I can hear other electronics as they are on - and I am talking about stuff that dosen't use fans. If you can't hear that stuff at all, you may have damaged your hearing (I don't know how well my hearing extends compared to "average", but I think I am a bit above the average.

My rule of thumb is - if you can hear that someone is talking to you then it isn't too loud, but you lose that reference point with etys.
post #12 of 17
The airhead's only 25mw/ch? I thought it was more, my cd player is 15mw/ch. btw it will drive my EX70's way louder than I should listen at.
post #13 of 17
I think a few of you ought to consider learning to lip-read, because you ARE going to permanently damage your ears. There's no point preaching, I suppose, I didn't listen to anyone until the night I got ****ed up, kept raising the volume to get LOUD (rock and roll!) and blew out my eardrums. Do that, and we can look forward to buying your used equipment here at Head-fi since once you do that, it may be about 10 years before you're ever able to put on a set of headphones again. Or enjoy loud music. Or go to the movies without getting an earache because theaters like to turn it up. The airhead has PLENTY of power. They have ample power to drive my HD600 to a more than reasonable level. What are your levels set at on your PCDP and your Airhead, johnnylexus?. You should never dial anything up past 3/4 of the way. If you're cranking it beyond that, YOUR the cause of the distortion.
post #14 of 17
Thread Starter 

If I had a brain I would be dangerous.

I just switched out the plastic tips and put on the foam tips on my ER4's. Now it sounds great. I was not getting the isolation from the plastic tips that I needed. Now the volume is plenty loud without turning it WAAAYY up.

I appreciate your encouragement to keep listening volumes reasonable. I'm 48 and my ears have gotten me this far, I don't need to thrash my eardrums and then lose out on all this glory of awesome fidelity.

Thanks for all your input.
post #15 of 17
Sorry JL, there are so many kids getting into headphones for the first time, I guess we all feel indebted to issue the madatory warning about volume. If you're 48, well, hell, enjoy. Obviously, you've heard it all!
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