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Evshrug's "If I knew then what I know now" discussion journal.

post #1 of 128
Thread Starter 
In the time I've spend surfing around Head-Fi and the 'net, I've run across some interesting opinions, tips, links, "If I knew then what I know now" and insight that I decided I just have to compile and share. Mainly I'll be exploring gaming and headphone setups, but I have a touch of ADHD and I'll probably jump around a bit wink.gif

This is how this thread/journal will work: about once or twice a week, I'll post a topic or mini-guide that I found interesting, and I'd like any visitors to add extra info, ask questions, and basically "feed" more perspective. I'll update this first post with links to each of my "topic" posts as I write them, so that over time we'll build a sort of index of topics so the curious can jump to what interests them. We may get into a few debates here, but please keep in mind I don't claim to be a leading authority, so my opinions may change.

Also, self-congratulatory 1,000th post. Only took 4 years XD

Guide and Discussion Topics
•What is virtual headphone surround?
•Music bit-rate comparison: where can you no longer appreciate returns?
How much sound leaks out from different headphones? A Demo
Forcasting the future "hot feature" of gaming (and a little college advice)

Reviews
Creative's Recon3D USB External Surround Processor Review
E12 Mont Blanc Portable Amp review
AKG K712 Pro - Live First Impressions


Future Topics
•iPod & iPad external DAC: How-to, and is it worth it?
•Steam and the future of DRM in gaming
•How to "Design" a music system
•Amp output impedance - expecting a debate on this one, please keep cool!
•"Crazy Comparison!" Amping round-up and comparison: FiiO E5, FiiO E12 Mont Blanc, Recon3D external Processor, Yamaha RX-V367 receiver (with Silent Cinema Headphone surround), Rock & Glass desktop tube hybrid.
•Tube amping: is it "for you?" and complation of tips for better quality.

Note: the links will take you to my "topic post" that should start discussion, but sometimes people add info a page or two after I start the topic. Rest assured, if I get enough new info that merits a summary, I'll make a "Part 2" post of the topic with a link in this "table of contents" type post.

Why am I posting this in the videogames thread? Well, a lot of the topics do have to do with gaming, but in general I just enjoy gaming and I feel comfortable here. Thank you for reading, I hope something has helped you!
smily_headphones1.gif

Edit Feb 3, 2013: Added a list of virtual surround processing techniques to the Headphone Surround post.
Edit Feb 9, 2013: Added sound speculation.
Edit Feb 12, 2013: Added Mont Blanc review.
Edit Nov 20, 2013: Added DTS Headphone X sample and review, plus an update to the Headphone Surround guide with info about the new consoles, and a few links. Also found a TrueAudio demo.
Edited by Evshrug - 11/20/13 at 12:04pm
post #2 of 128
Thread Starter 
What is Virtual Headphone Surround?

There are already some great guides about how to use this, check out Mad Lust Envy's headphone reviews for console gaming with a Mixamp and NamelessPFG's Computer Gaming guide for info on PC gaming with sound cards. But what is this tech anyway, and are all types the same?

In short: No.

Home Theater
Let's start with the kind everyone is most familiar with, a 5.1 home theater surround setup. This is most like the experience you get at a movie theater, with speakers in a ring around you and a subwoofer (sometimes more than one) somewhere too (sub bass tends to not be "directional," so that's why one is standard). For the purposes of this guide, 5.1, 7.1, and theater setups are functionally the same idea: set up a bunch of speakers around you, so that a driver can literally fire a sound from a particular direction. Pros of this method are that the effect is quite believable and naturally works well for anyone not deaf (my apologies to those deaf or partially deaf frown.gif ), it's therefore immersive and instinctive. The cons, as are already familiar to Head-Fi'ers, speakers get very expensive especially compared to the bang-for-buck of headphones, setup and placement is fussy and odd-shaped rooms can mess things up, you've got wires everywhere, and then there's the thing most people don't even realize: there's no accurate height cues. I'll get into that more later.

Headphones with multiple drivers
These headphones basically take the 5.1 surround concept and stuff it into headphones. Usually, there are a pair of drivers each for rear, front, and sometimes sides (7.1). The "Center" channel from a home-theater setup is usually played in equal strength in both of the "Front" drivers. Seems logical that this would work well, right? Well, the surround effect usually is ok (still 2D), but having so many drivers in the same earcup produces problems. I think the problems are mainly down to resonance, interference, and just the fact that none of these drivers are particularly designed to sound great because your purchase price is split between the cost of them all. Overall, this type of headphone surround is IMO a novelty, and I'd recommend passing.

Virtual Surround Processing
This DOES work, very well. Considering most humans are only equipped with two ears, two headphone drivers just off the surface of those two ears should, with the proper tuning, be able to sound like it's coming from any direction. But don't just take my word for it, here's an excerpt from Tom's Hardware doing a round-up of headphones expressly made for gaming surround:
Quote:
I’ve never expected much from virtual surround solutions that rely on a single speaker in each can to create positional audio. During game testing, though, I actually did hear things behind me, and instinctively turned to face them based on the perceived source. That was a big surprise that, for me, helped validate the legitimacy of virtual surround sound. In fact, I have to say that it didn’t really make a difference whether the headset included four drivers in each ear or just one. In both cases, I was able to discern where sounds were coming from more effectively.
Source: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/surround-sound-headset-benchmark,3125.html

There are a number of different processing algorithms that can simulate the effect a certain direction has on a noise. A sound is affected by direction in a similar way as as sound is affected by being behind a door:

There are several different processing methods, but I'd split them into two groups: one common in home theater receivers that mixes 5.1 or 7.1 channel audio into headphone surround, the other only found in PCs that has no channels and can simulate direction from any angle.

5.1/7.1 "Home Theater" Virtual Surround
•Dolby Headphone (used in Astro Mixamp, the original Turtle Beach DSS, Marantz receivers, and all Asus' gaming soundcards), the most common
•DTS Headphone X (an emerging method, this processing offers up to 11 directions... 7.1 plus 4 height channels above, as of Nov20th one Turtle Beach wireless headphone has been released with support built-in)
•Cirrus Logic headphone surround (Used in the Turtle Beach DSS2, I might have the name wrong for now)
•Razer Surround (software based, runs in the background on your PC)
•Proprietary Headphone Virtual Surround DSPs (including Yamaha's branded "Silent Cinema" and others from Sony, Pioneer, Denon, etc)

Headphone 3D surround
•TrueAudio (Used in select AMD graphics cards and the PS4)
•Direct3Dsurround (Microsoft's brief-lived surround algorithm for Windows XP)
•OpenAL (formerly open-source before taken over by Creative, this forms the core of the 3D surround in Creative's sound cards, OpenAL is an available option in select PC titles)
•SBX Pro Studio (Used in Creative's Z series soundcards) 720p Sample
•THX TruStudio Pro (Used in Creative's Recon3D series soundcards, recently added to the Titanium HD)
•CMSS-3D (Used in Creative's X-Fi series soundcards)
•Rapture3D
•MyEars (Downloaded from the MyEars website, Reviewed)

*Note: these algorithms CAN process full 3D surround IF IT'S AVAILABLE IN THE GAME, else you hear 2D surround or stereo.


3D vs 2D surround
Gaming consoles like PS3 and Xbox 360 only use 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound (because the mfrs expect that people would only use them with speakers, in a home-theater setup). My receiver from Yamaha has Silent Cinema processing built-in, most other brands have their own surround processing. Though the feature is usually buried away in the manual, usually you just have to plug in your headphone and activate any DSP to get it working. Dolby Headphone processing is used in a few receivers as well (Marantz, some discontinued Harman Kardon), and even some stand-alone processing units made for gaming like the Astro Mixamp and Turtle Beach's original DSS. Here is an example video with Dolby Headphone already processed and baked-in — use headphones and try it out!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mad Lust Envy View Post



NOTE: At 1:08, this is pretty much how Dolby headphone sounds on the Mixamp. The 5.1 DH: On section at 0:54 sounds like a weaker version, which honestly doesn't sound like the Mixamp's DH, but it still showcases positional cues. Now, if you didn't believe in DH before, you probably will now. Remember: At 1:08-2:00 is pretty much how the Mixamp sounds.

Dolby Headphone was designed for movies, though some PC soundcards like those from Asus feature it too. If you really want to get the most accurate directionality though, PC-designed 3D audio processing like CMSS-3D, THX TruStudio Pro, SBX Pro Studio, and Rapture3D all can dynamically apply direction cues to any sound, no matter which direction it comes from. Here is a sample of CMSS-3D (originally shown to me by Fegefeuer):


Not only does it work (I enjoy it all the time), but "virtual" headphone surround has the potential to be MORE accurate than any of the "home theater" methods, because there are no directional "channels" to funnel directional cues into. So, virtual surround cues can smoothly emulate sound coming from any angle, including from above and below! Sure, sometimes a movie might have 7.1 audio set up so that two speakers can be slightly higher than your main fronts, but almost no console game takes advantage of this. Mere 5.1 is usually adequate, but in terms of gaming and especially with console FPS like CoD, sometimes you'll think you're hearing someone behind a wall, but he's actually downstairs. Horror games also tend to have things skittering around all over the place, and flight-sims need no explanation.

So, I tend to think of the typical 5.1 surround setup as "2D surround," because the sound merely wraps around you in a circle, rather than a sphere. 90% of the time, 2D will still be impressive, but just... not... quite... realistic. Sadly, since consoles (so far) do not have the hardware and software to support 3D surround, and since the majority of gamers use consoles (and smartphones) these days, many games forget about 3D audio during the design phase and concentrate on a "home theater" (read: 5.1 channel audio) experience. [UPDATE! Next gen consoles PS4 and Xbox One have dedicated audio processing hardware, read on!] However, 3D surround IS still being used in some games on the PC platform... The most notable recent example I've heard about is OpenAL support in Borderlands 2. Watch out for Rakk!

Next-gen consoles update!
The new PS4 and Xbox One consoles have dedicated audio processing hardware, which brings the industry several new benefits! Across the board, this sets a new bar that new games can dedicate more resources to audio quality and processing (and with Blu-Ray being standard, audio won't need as much compression either).

The Xbox One is calling their hardware something like "Sphere" which I will expand upon as I learn more, so games will have dedicated hardware resources for audio, but the downsides of that console is it doesn't support Dolby surround through optical-out AND has a new proprietary connection for chat headsets, meaning previous-gen setups are unsupported. Since the One does support DTS-HD though, it's possible/likely that we will see new adapters with DTS Headphone X in the future. The "above" height channels are an improvement over previous 5.1/7.1 channel arrays, more 3D, but I still classify this as "Theater" surround as there is no "below" channels and, critically, this is still a system based on shunting sound through channels rather than mathematically angling the sound from any 3D direction.
DTS headphone X


I'm going to come out and say it... The PS4's audio capabilities have me really excited. Not only can the PS4 still bitstream Dolby out through optical so existing devices can still be used, but AMD's TrueAudio performs fully 3D audio positional calculations before being split into channels, and it can easily be incorporated by developers into new games because they can use existing plug-in tools like FMOD and Wwise seen in many games today... but obviously, I'd like to see it processed straight to a stereo headphone mix. The other big win is AMD got it into the PS4, not just their PC graphics cards (but those too), so developers know there will be a large base of users equipped with TrueAudio. They can really make their games stand out by leveraging TrueAudio, and I'm all for that!


Most important: does it work for your ears?

One last thing I've noticed: some people get the surround effect no matter what kind of processing is used, but others disagree on what sounds most believable, and still others can't intuitively feel the effect at all and prefer to stick with stereo. For me, THX TruStudio Pro works the most intuitively, with Dolby Headphone in second, Silent Cinema makes a round surround circle but relies on reverb which annoys me and doesn't pan well from behind-to-front, and CMSS-3D (from YouTube vids at least) only presents 3D imaging some of the time (though EAX and occlusion effects work very well). NamelessPFG, on the other hand, only has a full experience with CMSS-3D (on his very nice Stax headphones). And then Mad Lust Envy is a total champion of Dolby Headphone, and no other processing algorithm does rear cues well for him! Which of us is right? I don't think any of us, or more correctly, we're all right about which sounds best to our different ears.

So, dear reader, you owe it to yourself to take some time, listen to the samples posted above, and figure out where YOU'LL get the most mileage smily_headphones1.gif Please reply what you think. Also, I would GREATLY appreciate someone posting a how-to or link about how I could record a video, using my Recon3D USB sound card, with the TruStudio Pro processing baked in, so I can provide a good example of that. The one video on YouTube in Battlefield 3 was set up wrong... Both methods of surround processing used were fed only stereo audio to guess at a surround mix, and BF3 (sadly) has good quality sound recordings but poor positional cues.

Update: I purchased a Creative Sound Blaster Z to check out SBX ProStudio for myself, but I still don't know how to capture a sample for you guys :/ It's a factor of time restraints and how I choose to spend my limited time off work. I'll still review it though.
Edited by Evshrug - 2/6/14 at 10:06am
post #3 of 128

I kind of like where you're going with this thread, sort of an open blog that invites discussion.

 

I'm pretty sure everyone here knows my stance on the topic of virtual surround, especially you, but I'll re-iterate myself anyway: done right, it's like having an aural wallhack.

 

I just wish proper 3D implementations instead of virtualized 5.1/7.1 were in more widespread use. It was so common during the late 1990s when Aureal burst onto the scene from the ashes of Media Vision and made 3D sound a must for any gaming computer. You couldn't have a Half-Life discussion without people talking about how much better it sounded with A3D back then.

 

Now people tend to scoff at the thought of sound cards taking up space in gaming computers (us Head-Fi folk being the exception, obviously), and people seem to think that a virtual 5.1/7.1 speaker setup is "good enough", which it admittedly is most of the time, but why have "good" when you're perfectly capable of having better?

post #4 of 128
Thread Starter 
As I've told you before, there may be more potential in the near future with the overripe status of the current console generation. More people are coming back to PC gaming as it is simultaneously cheaper AND looks better. Major strides in convenience have come as well. I think that all it would take for 3D surround to take off (again) would be just someone hearing it. Conceptually, it sounds very appealing. And the more people like you and I buzz about it, and other people see the buzz, the more it will become in demand. Look at what Mad's done with his thread: people are reading it and almost instantly craving his new favorites, and people are going to great lengths just to get an immersive experience.

The Recon3D review will be an update on this issue, I want to write about that when I figure out how to record my own sample, put it side-by-side with CMSS-3D, Dolby Headphone (2), and Silent Cinema too if I can manage that. I really and truly feel different surround processing sounds works best for different people, and I'd like to make it easy for someone to test it. I have the links from you for CMSS-3D and from Mad for Dolby Headphone. I think the popular YouTube video comparing Dolby Headphone and CMSS-3D in Crysis 2 wasn't set up optimally: the description states that something was set for headphone mode, so the surround processors were trying to make surround from a stereo mix (at least for CMSS-3D). There aren't really any videos for THX TruStudio Pro, and Creative's own demo (though nice) for their new processing algorithm is an actual binaural recording instead of an actual test of in-game generated sound.

Dunno why Creative doesn't improve their marketing to attract new customers; those cell-phone speakers are going to financially back them into a small corner with too many existing competitors.
post #5 of 128

I too like what you are doing with this thread. 

 

 

About 4 months ago I decided that I need to upgrade my 3 year old Turtle Beach PX21’s.  I was switching from PS3 over to XBOX because I finally was so fed up with the PlayStation Network. I started out by swapping the PS3 controller sticks in an Xbox controller (works flawlessly BTW and very easy to do if you have a spare PS3 controller).

 

 

Anyway, I first started looking on Best Buy’s website and in store for deals on their “surround sound” headsets. I thought I wanted to go completely wireless, so I bought the Turtle Beach Tango’s.  At $249 it’s a very pricey headset but I felt I wasn’t getting the sound I thought I should.  Thus started my endeavor of scouring the ‘net for information on head’sets’.

 

Low and behold I stumbled across Mad’s headphone guide. After days upon days of devouring that information I decided I was going to return my Tango’s and order the Astro Mixamp. This really appealed to me because it offered the best surround sound experience for consoles (all I play is COD), and I can plug in any headphone to the mixamp. 

 

When I received the mixamp, I was utterly disappointed because I had the same problems as many people… the sounds just shutting off. I took to the ‘net again and found it was a power cord issue. Swapping out the power cord with a PS3 controller charger cord fixed the problem and I haven’t had any issues since.

 

My first headset I tried with the mixamp was the Razer Carcharias, simply because they were a semi-open headphone with an attached mic.  I chat with friends online every time I play so a mic was huge for me.  I really liked the soundstage the open headphones had but still felt like I could do better for the money, plus, my buddies were complaining about how I sounded on the mic.

 

Fast forward to now, I took back the Carcharias and ordered some Samson SR850 Headphones off amazon after reading several positive reviews (plus they were only $50), and also ordered the Labtec LVA 7330 boom mic off Ebay, which is perfect!  I could not be happier with my current set up. The audio from the Mixamp to the Samson’s is truly amazing for a $50 headphone and my Mic is crystal clear I’m told. So for $189 ($130 Mixamp, $50 SR850, $9 Mic) I have one of the best set ups out there and am loving it.

post #6 of 128
Thread Starter 
Excellent mgdunway!
So besides the poor quality USB cable (must be a batch with electrical shorts, but at least it was an easy to remedy flaw!), you have been happy with your Mixamp? I first used Yamaha's proprietary headphone surround processing... It "worked," but I didn't find it compelling over regular stereo, despite using Audio Technica AD700. Maybe it was because of the AD700 that stereo was fine biggrin.gif

I was still on head-fi though, which is a powerful source of upgradeitis temptation, and also I messed up the onboard sound on my Mac to silence, so I started looking at Mac-compatible sound cards. There aren't many, let me tell you wink.gif One choice, though was the Recon3D, which seemed perfect because it was cheap (this was before Astro ran out of Mixamp stock for the last 4 months of last year), it would work with Mac AND my Xbox AND the fledgling Windows side of my PC, and as a bonus offered a different surround processing algorithm than I'd seen anyone else review yet. If the bonus didn't work, I would've been pretty happy just sticking to Stereo. But, the surround DID work, and provided better depth and difference from Stereo than anything I'd heard yet... I remembered watching the Halo: Reach intro where the helicopters wooshed from behind to front, and thinking "FINALLY! Now I'm hearing it!"

That's why I want to make a sample video with the sound processing baked-in. Few people know about headphone surround, fewer still are willing to risk trying anything but the most popular option, and I've read peoples' posts about trying one sample and giving up on further research. Once I figure out a process to record video with the sound-effect baked-in, I'll probably end up making comparative samples with THX TruStudio Pro, CMSS-3D, and Dolby Headphone, even if I have to take advantage of Amazon's return policy to do it. Although, if Nameless & I get copies of the same game, we could probably work out a good test and I could just have him record the CMSS-3D sample for me wink.gif
post #7 of 128
Thread Starter 
Bit-rate Comparison, & Headphone Testing Tools

Many people, including myself, often point out that higher quality and better bit-rate music files are one of the most dramatic and obvious upgrades you can have for sound quality and immersion in your music. In fact, I say getting good quality files should be prioritized before spending a mint on nice headphones, source, or amps.

When I say that though, I assume some or most of your music collection is in 128 kbps MP3, perhaps converted from CD's, or perhaps... a torrent of rain and water just left them on your door front. But customers often see advertisements that "this compression is indistinguishable from CD policy!" or opposite efforts of golden ears audiophiles that swear by files larger than those on a Redbook CD or music from vinyl LP albums.

Settle those claims for yourself. I believe everyone has (and some songs have) a different point where diminishing returns reaches the point where improvements are beyond their hearing.

Here's a short, well set up blind test of two different compression bit-rates, I recommend you do it in a quiet environment:
http://mp3ornot.com/

How did that test go? Write in the comments if the results surprised you!

I also thought it would be good to share some audio tests that ought to help you evaluate the quality of the headphones you use:
http://www.audiocheck.net/soundtests_headphones.php

There are some other audio-related tests on that site you may like to revisit sometime. It's a cool little audio tool chest. One thing I ought to mention alongside these audio test: if you have a cold, that will temporarily affect your hearing for the worse. At the time of this writing (and partly why I have the time), I have a cold (almost better though!).

Lastly, though we all are interested in a little testing and (I guess) personal training, be careful not to lose sight of what the point of all this is: having fun with music! You can enjoy yourself even with low-quality stuff from non-legendary musicians. For fun, I'll finish this measurebating post with an episode of Devil May Cry, "Rock Queen." Warning: contains demon slaying action with lots of ketchupy blood. A little south from family friendly. Strawberry Sundaes!:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XQ43komj5CY&list=ELGzrGI6nZgJM
Edited by Evshrug - 2/3/13 at 1:52pm
post #8 of 128
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evshrug View Post


I also thought it would be good to share some audio tests that ought to help you evaluate the quality of the headphones you use:
http://www.audiocheck.net/soundtests_headphones.php
 

 

 

That sight has some nice stuff on it.

 

*bookmarked

post #9 of 128
Thread Starter 
Indeed it does, but bookmarking it and other useful stuff was kinda the point of this thread anyway. When my turn with the ODAC arrives, I'm going to use your technique to "find" the "line-out" volume level of all my stuff, and post about it here too. I have a feeling there might be more to it in some cases... but your idea was a good starting point for most cases anyway.

I mean to make this thread a resource, but not a "sound science" exclusive thread, nor as technical. There will be equipment & some form of gaming reviews, too. I'll probably reveal my ignorance sometimes, but by then I hope more people will be subscribed so I can ask questions & people will chime in answers. And one thing I learned while writing for Macworld: people love to correct an author's mistakes, LOL.
smily_headphones1.gif
post #10 of 128

I'm gonna come back and read here in a bit, but according to the tests, I hear well below 20hz. It sounds awesome. I cannot, however, hear above 19khz. I don't know if it's due to my soundcard though. The files and headphones are not the weak link. Soundblaster Live 24-bit is the card.

post #11 of 128
Thread Starter 
Yeah well... The only step up from your $500 headphones (which you got on sale) would be summit-fi headphones, so...
What do you use for amping again? At least, with your computer? Straight out of that soundcard-I-am-not-familiar-with?

Those are pretty stellar responses and hearing range though, I don't think I can hear 20 Hz or above somewhere around 17 kHz. Then again, I'm sick right now, and we'll see what we see when I combine my E12 with an ODAC wink.gif
post #12 of 128

Quote:

Originally Posted by Evshrug View Post

Yeah well... The only step up from your $500 headphones (which you got on sale) would be summit-fi headphones, so...
What do you use for amping again? At least, with your computer? Straight out of that soundcard-I-am-not-familiar-with?

Those are pretty stellar responses and hearing range though, I don't think I can hear 20 Hz or above somewhere around 17 kHz. Then again, I'm sick right now, and we'll see what we see when I combine my E12 with an ODAC wink.gif

 

Step up? These are perfection. Ha, I am a thrifty shopper! I've never heard of those headphones though. Yup, I plug the headphones directly into the Creative Soundblaster Live! 24-bit. I did the hearing test with my brother (age 14) and I (20). We hear exactly around when the guy says 19k. It's either a split second before or after he says it, so I don't think it's my hearing. I do have ringing in my ears though, which started round-about a year ago, which I need to get checked. I should also have my ears cleaned out. There are a lot of things that contribute to hearing, so, I'm not gonna say I've lost anything just yet. Well, I hear well before the guy says 20hz. It sounds awesome on these phones. Yeah, I'd like to know how you "perform" then, lol.

post #13 of 128
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoAmusing777 View Post

These are perfection. Ha, I am a thrifty shopper!

Well, I hear well before the guy says 20hz. It sounds awesome on these phones.

 

There's nothing thrifty about $400+ headphones.  :\

 

So, listening to 19khz tones '"sounds awesome"??  Do dog whistles also sound awesome?

 

blink.gif

post #14 of 128

I'm 22, and I can only hear just under 15 KHz on a flat EQ. That's a bit distressing, since I usually don't like loud noises and steer clear of most noisy environments.

 

My ears are also a bit unbalanced at certain points across the frequency spectrum. Kept thinking it was an issue with my headphones 'til I noticed the exact same imbalances across ALL of my headphones...

 

Ultimately, no matter how good my headphones of choice get, the ultimate bottleneck in the audio chain happens to be my own two ears.

post #15 of 128
Thread Starter 
SoAmusing77,
You might want to consider your next audio "purchase" to be a trip to an audiologist. I'm not sure how much that would cost, but assume like +$100. You only get one set of ears, and if they're pretty good now you ought to do your best to keep them that way!
Some say that ringing in your ears is a sign of a frequency dying out. I have no proof of that though.

Chicolom, Nameless,
I'm not exactly sure where my highs cut off tbh... 17kHz may be over exaggerating. I didn't purposefully abuse my hearing or hang out in noisy environments, but I noticed my first sign of hearing loss right around the time I started perusing Head-Fi. I had flown down to Florida for a big family reunion, and one of my cousins had this sound on her phone called "the most annoying sound in the world." I couldn't hear it at all... I demanded she play it again, I asked the three younger-than-I relatives present if they were fooling me or was something actually playing, played it again with the phone right next to my ear while I concentrated as hard as I could... Nada.

I reacted pretty strongly because that was the summer I'd thought I wouldn't be able to go back and finish college, but in retrospect the girls that could hear it WERE really annoyed by the sound. Maybe my loss is really somewhat of a gain? I sure do remember the annoying whine of a mosquito, and honestly I don't miss it wink.gif I was like 19 then, and I'm 26 now.
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