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why do headphones distort and how to prevent it from occurring?

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 

my headphones no matter what pair i use distort. i hate distortion its one of the few things i cannot stand when headphones do it. it annoys the crap out of me. the only headphones i have heard that do not distort are the bose and beats headphones. my shure srh750dj distorts my music and i feel it shouldn't. all i want is distortionless headphones is that so hard to ask?

post #2 of 25

What source are you using?

 

I find quality headphones almost always distort if I use bass boost with them from a portable player.

Computer audio has all kinds of opportunities for distortion--you may want to fiddle with the various volume knobs.  If you are using the front volume port on a desktop, it's almost certainly your problem.

post #3 of 25

I also highly recommend looking to your source. I can pump all 3 of my current headphones to the point where my ears are destroyed without a hint of distortion. I use no EQing of source, I use replaygain on all my digital audio files, and I have the volume on the digital source set just under the point where it's possible to clip (my sound card drivers have a graph to let me know if I'm doing so).

 

I'm guessing something is pumped too high on your source. Try turning any sort of EQ, bass boost, or treble boost off. Then try turning the source volume to about 80% of it's maximum, and do all adjusting of volume from there via amp.

 

If you don't have an amp, start there.

post #4 of 25
Thread Starter 

thanks guys. my source is an ipod classic and a toshiba laptop with a conexant sound card. i already know my conexant sound card is rubbish. i usually use my ipod classic for music as it sounds better.

post #5 of 25

Are you using any EQ settings? The only reason you should be experiencing this is either:

 

-Bad music quality

-Levels are too loud

 

The normal iPod volume doesn't go so loud to where it distorts for me, so I can only assume you have the EQ on.

post #6 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by keanex View Post

Are you using any EQ settings? The only reason you should be experiencing this is either:

 

-Bad music quality

-Levels are too loud

 

The normal iPod volume doesn't go so loud to where it distorts for me, so I can only assume you have the EQ on.

to be honest it sounds less clean with the eq off. i tend to use the treble booster option as it overall improves the clarity of the music.
 

post #7 of 25

If you're gonna EQ make sure you adjust it by reducing the bands not increasing them (in a way that the higher band is on 0 and the others are negative). This should prevent clipping (at least caused by the EQ).

 

foobar's EQ does this automatically for you if you hit the "Auto-level" button.

post #8 of 25

Yeah, iPod classics actually boost the bands, but my iPod touch 4g does the method Vitor Machado described. 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vitor Machado View Post

If you're gonna EQ make sure you adjust it by reducing the bands not increasing them (in a way that the higher band is on 0 and the others are negative). This should prevent clipping (at least caused by the EQ).

 

foobar's EQ does this automatically for you if you hit the "Auto-level" button.

post #9 of 25

I know it's tricky, but can you describe in a bit more detail what the distortion sounds like?  A lot of things can cause unwanted noise, and it isn't always distortion (which comes from clipping in the amp)

 

If you have poorly encoded or recorded music, your Shures might be revealing something you can't hear on the other headphones.

post #10 of 25

FYI, treble-boosting EQ doesn't improve the clarity, it just makes it sound as if it's clearer. I've read this phenomenon being referred to as "fake details."

post #11 of 25

interesting answers.

 

really shocked to see that nobody mentioned that the source of distortion really is....... CLIPPING!!!

 

having too much power on hand is ALWAYS better than not enough. when you can't supply enough power to suit your needs you run into distortion. distortion occurs when you push the amplifier to far, or ask it to do to much. if you have more power than you'll ever need, then you'll never run into this problem. you'll be able to listen beyond the level that you should ever listen at and never hear an ounce of distortion. speakers are usually blown from having to little power on tap, not to much.

 

yes, EQ's can cause distortion as well, but it still simply means that something is clipping.

post #12 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by 12345142 View Post

FYI, treble-boosting EQ doesn't improve the clarity, it just makes it sound as if it's clearer. I've read this phenomenon being referred to as "fake details."



Beyers do it by default!

 

I kid, I kid!

post #13 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by joelpearce View Post

I know it's tricky, but can you describe in a bit more detail what the distortion sounds like?  A lot of things can cause unwanted noise, and it isn't always distortion (which comes from clipping in the amp)

 

If you have poorly encoded or recorded music, your Shures might be revealing something you can't hear on the other headphones.


its a high pitched squeaky noise when they play high pitched vocals. instead of it being clear i feel as though it is struggling to play it. should i get an amp.

post #14 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 12345142 View Post

FYI, treble-boosting EQ doesn't improve the clarity, it just makes it sound as if it's clearer. I've read this phenomenon being referred to as "fake details."



so the fact it adds fake details makes it sound better. so it isn't what the music sounds like but it creates an illusion of better sound. how does that work. i like the illusion of good sound i hear. flat just sounds rather flat. biggrin.gif

post #15 of 25

Quote:

Originally Posted by bcasey25raptor View Post




its a high pitched squeaky noise when they play high pitched vocals. instead of it being clear i feel as though it is struggling to play it. should i get an amp.


if this is only happening at a higher volume, then yes. if it's happening at all volumes, then an amp will not help.

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