I'm trying to get to the bottom of why some 'phones are making my ears hurt.
The short version is that within minutes of listening to Denon D2000s at moderate (and even fairly low) levels I develop a an ache in the middle ear/ear canal which is best described as a feeling of fullness at the ear drum similar to pressure equalisation issues that might occur during airplane take off and landing. I think it's fairly likely that this is some form of acoustic reflex response (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acoustic_reflex) - certainly presents like that and the discomfort can last for hours after listening.
Anyway this only happens with the D2000s and not with ATH-M50s or Senn. PX100s. This is also not my first attempt to upgrade my headphones. I have previously tried to move from the Senn. PX100s to the Senn HD-650s but suffered the same ear pain problem. I put this down to the clamping force of the HD-650s and ending up getting the M50s which have served me well for the last year. Because the Denons are very comfortable and have a very low clamping force I'm now looking for other explanations.
Looking at the specs the only thing that stands out are the stated frequency responses for these cans:
D2000 = 5 - 45,000 Hz
HD-650 = 10 - 39,500 Hz
ATH-M50 = 15 - 28,000 Hz
PX100 = 15 - 27,000 Hz
Could it be this extended freq responses of the D2000s/HD-650s that are getting me? I know this seems unlikely but I'm struggling to come up with other reasons.
Systems details: Mac> iTunes/Audirvana (sometimes Spotify premium) > Fiio E17 > cans.. (the D2000s have about 80 hours on them by now with no change to my response to them).
The Fiio specs state the freq responses of the E17 DAC to be 10 - 20,000 Hz so perhaps it isn't even possible to be getting 'meaningful/significant' signal beyond this range.
I really like D2000s and would love to make them work for me.
Does anyone have any thoughts or suggestions?
Is there any way to reliably filter out high and low frequencies so I test whether this might be a cause? (Apologies if this last question is an easy one).
Many thank in advance for any help or advice you can give.