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why do headphones distort and how to prevent it from occurring? - Page 2

post #16 of 25

Headphones can distort when driven too loudly by an underpowered amp. I think of this as analog clipping.

 

But more often it is that the headphones are accurately reproducing the sound of digital clipping from the iPod/soundcard. When you use treble boost or bass boost, it is telling the soundcard to increase the loudness of the bass/treble. For CD quality music, you have 16 bits to represent the sound digitally. Most modern music is made to sound louder by using up as much of those 16 bits as possible. So when something is digitally boosted with EQ, the parts of the music that are already maxed out at 16 bits have nothing higher to be boosted to. The result is clipping (a.k.a. distortion).

 

The solution is as Vitor Machado said. Don't use EQ to boost the treble, but use EQ to cut the bass and mids. Then turn up the volume. If your iPod or media player doesn't let you do this, you can just use the bass reducer setting instead. Same result as treble boost, except with no digital clipping.

 

Clipping can also occur during recording if the sound is too loud for the microphone. It can also happen during the mixing/mastering process, if the producers try too hard to make the music sound louder. We as the consumers can't really do anything about these types of clipping. Except maybe use headphones that are less detailed. The details of the music won't come through as well, but neither will the flaws.

post #17 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonb View Post

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.


it usually happens when i pass the 65% mark on my ipod classics volume.

post #18 of 25

Just to add to what jasonb said, in case the answer is "yes," then that's clipping. Any dynamic passage, whether it's a vocalist reaching for higher octaves or a sudden drumbeat or continuous bass barrage in a techno track, needs more current to keep the dynamic driver moving normally. The only other cause, time alignment issues, very generally happen only with multiple-driver channels on speakers (separate tweeter and midwoofer or mid+woofer). A good amp that can provide current will help a lot. Outright RMS power @ impedance rating will only get it louder; dynamic power is in your case more important (the only tiem this is said otherwise was when bootlef Alpine amplifiers are marked with "1000w peak power" which is total bull to begin with)

 

Otherwise, it has something to do with source material. Like they pointed out re: EQ, Media Monkey's EQ when using the USB digital output has a crackling sound though my cans during vocal passages or sudden loud electric guitar notes. Given the sound characteristics, this is more prominent on Grados and AKGs than on Sennheisers. Highly compressed music data are more prone to these, too, especially with headphones and more so with IEMs, sicne their detail levels vs speakers are enhanced by their proximity to our ears, and digtial artfacts are more easily fleshed out.

post #19 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ProtegeManiac View Post

Just to add to what jasonb said, in case the answer is "yes," then that's clipping. Any dynamic passage, whether it's a vocalist reaching for higher octaves or a sudden drumbeat or continuous bass barrage in a techno track, needs more current to keep the dynamic driver moving normally. The only other cause, time alignment issues, very generally happen only with multiple-driver channels on speakers (separate tweeter and midwoofer or mid+woofer). A good amp that can provide current will help a lot. Outright RMS power @ impedance rating will only get it louder; dynamic power is in your case more important (the only tiem this is said otherwise was when bootlef Alpine amplifiers are marked with "1000w peak power" which is total bull to begin with)

 

Otherwise, it has something to do with source material. Like they pointed out re: EQ, Media Monkey's EQ when using the USB digital output has a crackling sound though my cans during vocal passages or sudden loud electric guitar notes. Given the sound characteristics, this is more prominent on Grados and AKGs than on Sennheisers. Highly compressed music data are more prone to these, too, especially with headphones and more so with IEMs, sicne their detail levels vs speakers are enhanced by their proximity to our ears, and digtial artfacts are more easily fleshed out.


would a fiio e5 work for this clipping i am experiencing

post #20 of 25

 

For sure that will solve the lack of power from your source...

post #21 of 25

Quote:

Originally Posted by bcasey25raptor View Post




would a fiio e5 work for this clipping i am experiencing


the e5 isn't really all that powerful. what headphones are you using where you are experiencing this problem?

post #22 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonb View Post

Quote:

Originally Posted by bcasey25raptor View Post




would a fiio e5 work for this clipping i am experiencing


the e5 isn't really all that powerful. what headphones are you using where you are experiencing this problem?

my shure srh750dj headphones.
 

post #23 of 25

the e5 would probably help on those i suppose. my e5 didn't do a hell of a lot when added to my portable source, but mine is weaker than most to begin with. i can easily max it out on that source + the e5 even on a pair of XB500's. just so you understand what i mean, an amplifier can only amplify so much. if your source is very weak to begin with, then the amp can only amplify that weak signal so much. ipods are quite a bit louder than my current portable to begin with, so your results will probably vary from mine. a line out dock cable plus the e5 would probably be the best way to go.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bcasey25raptor View Post



my shure srh750dj headphones.
 

post #24 of 25


If it's sure that it's not in the source material; but then, that's a "maybe." It still doesn't have that much power. But what he heck, it's like, $20. Make sure you get an LOD so you get the signal from the dock port. It's not the perfect lineout source but better than through the headphone jack.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bcasey25raptor View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by ProtegeManiac View Post

Just to add to what jasonb said, in case the answer is "yes," then that's clipping. Any dynamic passage, whether it's a vocalist reaching for higher octaves or a sudden drumbeat or continuous bass barrage in a techno track, needs more current to keep the dynamic driver moving normally. The only other cause, time alignment issues, very generally happen only with multiple-driver channels on speakers (separate tweeter and midwoofer or mid+woofer). A good amp that can provide current will help a lot. Outright RMS power @ impedance rating will only get it louder; dynamic power is in your case more important (the only tiem this is said otherwise was when bootlef Alpine amplifiers are marked with "1000w peak power" which is total bull to begin with)

 

Otherwise, it has something to do with source material. Like they pointed out re: EQ, Media Monkey's EQ when using the USB digital output has a crackling sound though my cans during vocal passages or sudden loud electric guitar notes. Given the sound characteristics, this is more prominent on Grados and AKGs than on Sennheisers. Highly compressed music data are more prone to these, too, especially with headphones and more so with IEMs, sicne their detail levels vs speakers are enhanced by their proximity to our ears, and digtial artfacts are more easily fleshed out.


would a fiio e5 work for this clipping i am experiencing

post #25 of 25

Yes, using an amp will improve the headphones BUT lowering the preamp when using an EQ will bring a faster change without any money.

 

If you are using EQ to boost treble and whatnot, lower the preamp and then raise the volume. Itunes has the preamp setting right on the graphic equalizer. Generally, you don't want to be boosting any frequencies with EQ, but since you are, you may as well lower the gain.

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