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Can High Frequency Sounds break headphones?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I own a pair of Grado Sr80i, and I connected it to my pre-amp which is also connected to my condenser microphone. I was testing out some settings on my pre-amp and maxed out the volume on it to test if the microphone was working. When I got to close too my condenser microphone this HUGE blast of really high frequency sound that went screaming into my headphones. It was REALLY loud!  my natural reaction caused me to quickly remove my cans as fast as I could! Thank goodness i didn't go deaf, I removed my phones and plugged them into my Ipod, everything seems okay.. but maybe its just my imagination? Do you think this would have cause any permanent damage to the cans or just help in the burning in processes? 


Edited by MrAwesome - 8/8/12 at 6:14pm
post #2 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrAwesome View Post

I own a pair of Grado Sr80i, and I connected it to my pre-amp which is also connected to my condenser microphone. I was testing out some settings on my pre-amp and maxed out the volume on it to test if the microphone was working. When I got to close too my condenser microphone this HUGE blast of really high frequency sound that went screaming into my headphones. It was REALLY loud!  my natural reaction caused me to quickly remove my cans as fast as I could! Thank goodness i didn't go deaf, I removed my phones and plugged them into my Ipod, everything seems okay.. but maybe its just my imagination? Do you think this would have cause any permanent damage to the cans or just help in the burning in processes? 

 

The biggest vulnerabilities are "HUGE blast" and "REALLY loud". Too much power in and you're cooked.

 

If they sound okay, they survived. Too loud for you doesn't always mean too loud for the HP and vice versa.

post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 

what does cooked headphones sound like? lol

post #4 of 8

A cooked headphone can sound grainy and distorted, or will be unable to achieve any volume. Typical damage can be a tear in the diaphragm or burnt/melted voice coil. 

post #5 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrAwesome View Post

what does cooked headphones sound like? lol

 

If it's overcooked, it sounds dry and crunchy.

post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 

I'm not going to put my Headphones on for a day or two, because I want to give me ears and headphones alittle break from that really bad audio feedback ( I'm guessing since the Grado's are open backed, when I was too close to my condenser microphone it picked up the sound and created a endless feedback loop causing that really high pitched sound)   

 

So basically what your telling me is that my HP should be fine? unless it was physically hurt mishandling it, the headphones can deal with loud and high pitch feedbacks, and still work good?  I guess my new question is 

 

can momentarily overpowering headphones cause damage to the drivers for specific frequency responses without noticeably affecting all of them? And if they still sound alright do you think I can assume they didn't get damaged? I was useing a  ISA One pre-amp 


Edited by MrAwesome - 8/8/12 at 8:36pm
post #7 of 8

Very loud sounds can damage the drivers.

post #8 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrAwesome View Post

I'm not going to put my Headphones on for a day or two, because I want to give me ears and headphones alittle break from that really bad audio feedback ( I'm guessing since the Grado's are open backed, when I was too close to my condenser microphone it picked up the sound and created a endless feedback loop causing that really high pitched sound)   

I'd say your ears need more time to rest than the drivers do. They'll cool down pretty quickly.
Quote:
So basically what your telling me is that my HP should be fine? unless it was physically hurt mishandling it, the headphones can deal with loud and high pitch feedbacks, and still work good?

Yes and no. Yes it sounds like your cans here are fine, but in general extremely large input signals are a bad idea. Most headphones, however, can sink a lot more power than your ears can tolerate (Grado as an example rates most all of their headphones right around 100 dB/mW, so 1-2 mW of input power is enough to split your head open, but they can take a few orders of magnitude greater input power before they are actually damaged).
Quote:
 I guess my new question is 

can momentarily overpowering headphones cause damage to the drivers for specific frequency responses without noticeably affecting all of them? And if they still sound alright do you think I can assume they didn't get damaged? I was useing a 
 ISA One pre-amp 

Yes and no. It has to do with excursion and heat - if the input is large enough, it can destroy them instantaneously, but we're talking VERY large inputs. The longer they're made to run with a (relatively) smaller large input, it can rack up to damage if you get into over-excursion (tears in the diaphragm and the like) and cooking the voice coil off (if it can't cool it will eventually fuse). I think you're probably alright here, but I don't want to give an "open range" kind of message - you can kill your gear doing this kind of thing.

Regarding frequency - in a music signal, LF makes up most of your power requirements, but if you're feeding a big sine wave (or whatever) into your cans, power requirements can be high no matter what. So feeding some HF signal in at insane amplitude will kill them too. Since they're single driver, anything that damages the driver will damage it across the board. With speakers this is different (usually you'll blow tweeters up before the woofers go, and usually you'll destroy the surround or cone on a woofer before you destroy the motor, so it's possible to damage the speaker's ability to run full range, without killing it entirely (this assumes the crossover doesn't give out or that there's no sacrificial fuses/relays/etc inside of the thing)).
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