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Is clipping bad for HP's?

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 

Let's say I  EQ them JUST below clipping. Although on some tracks with very strong bass it goes beyond that to slight clipping (which doesn't sound so harsh to ears when they are vibrating and music is loud, lol). So the question is, apart from music distortion, can HP's be damaged by driving them that hard? I can't lower all frequencies instead of increasing them to archieve desired sound signature, as there are EQ independant tones and many different other sound tweaks as well,  so lovering EQ alone fcuks up overall sound, tried many times lowering everything, but couldn't archieve same result. 

 

PS. No amp, but i'am sure it's HP's, not DAC.


Edited by SmOgER - 2/2/13 at 12:12pm
post #2 of 32

Well, get an eq with a master volume slider (I don't no what it is called), and then turn it down a bit, preferably just as much as you eq the bass up.

 

I don't think distortion coming from the pc is bad for your 'phones. You should beware if the drivers distorts

post #3 of 32
Thread Starter 

Like I said, distoting are HP's, not DAC... DAC is far from normal full volume. Lowering  digital preamp substantially below 0 srews up sound as well and doesn't seem to help much for clipping either. 

 

EDIT: Seems I managed to tweak em just right with peak limit + replay gain (-4db). But still, question remains the same, does slight HP clipping damage the drivers? And if so, what damage are we talking about?


Edited by SmOgER - 2/2/13 at 12:55pm
post #4 of 32

Yes, I think clipping on a regular basis can damage headphones.  What happens is the clipping + distortion means the headphone drivers are no longer under control.  They may be exposed to any type of frequency, including DC in the worst case.  The entire reason you're experiencing the distortion is because the amp has lost control over the signal and thus, the headphone driver (yes, there's still an amplifier of sorts in the DAC, otherwise, you couldn't drive the headphones at all).

 

You don't even have to have DC.  Monotones at a particular frequency and volume level (such as test tones) can damage headphone drivers at certain levels.


Edited by tomb - 2/2/13 at 3:56pm
post #5 of 32
Thread Starter 

Ok, fair enough. biggrin.gif

Thanks for the answer.

post #6 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by tomb View Post

Yes, I think clipping on a regular basis can damage headphones.  What happens is the clipping + distortion means the headphone drivers are no longer under control.  They may be exposed to any type of frequency, including DC in the worst case.  The entire reason you're experiencing the distortion is because the amp has lost control over the signal and thus, the headphone driver (yes, there's still an amplifier of sorts in the DAC, otherwise, you couldn't drive the headphones at all).

 

You don't even have to have DC.  Monotones at a particular frequency and volume level (such as test tones) can damage headphone drivers at certain levels.

Yeah finally a answer that satisfied my OCD brain.

post #7 of 32
^^ Yea, but its technically incorrect.

Clipping: This means the amplifier cannot fully amplify the signal to drive the load. What happens here is that the waves basically get cut off at the top and the bottom. The poor headphone is still trying to faithfully reproduce that signal.


This generates harmonics and reduces dynamic range. If one drives the amp only a bit into clipping, the effect is virtually inaudible. But already, many more mv are being delivered to the driver. If you really overdrive the amp, it clips hard, and is now trying to reproduce square waves all the time. This means 3x the power is being delivered to the driver. This is not a peak once in a while, this is a constant peak.

What happens? First off, the drivers coils start to over heat. Thus, the glue will start to melt and finally the driver will die. Closed, small, inefficient headphones are worst at heat handling, because there is virtually no air movement to cool things down. High impedance, inefficient headphones also need to absorb more power. Also not a great thing.

Two other factors need to be considered as well. Loud music with limited dynamic range will stress drivers heat wise and content with a lot of bass under the headphones capabilities. This tranform into large cone movement and can also stress mechanical things, up to the little wires just breaking off.

If you overdrive a driver until its really buzzing or ratteling, it will probably die quite quickly in the form of real mechanical damage to where the cone is attached to the rest of the headphone.

That said, its pretty hard to kill a headphone because of the low current being used, but tweeters in loudspeakers for instance will be the fastest to die if you drive an amp into clipping.
Edited by ev13wt - 7/2/13 at 9:13am
post #8 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by ev13wt View Post

^^ Yea, but its technically totally incorrect.

Clipping: This means the amplifier cannot fully amplify the signal to drive the load. What happens here is that the waves basically get cut off at the top and the bottom.


This generates harmonics and reduces dynamic range. If one drives the amp only a bit into clipping, the effect is virtually inaudible. But already, many more mv are being delivered to the driver. If you really overdrive the amp, it clips hard, and is now trying to reproduce square waves all the time. This means 3x the power is being delivered to the driver. This is not a peak once in a while, this is a constant peak.

What happens? First off, the driveres coils start to over heat. Thus, the glue will start to melt and finally the driver will die. Closed, small, inefficient headphones are worst at heat handling, because there is virtually no air movement to cool things down. High impedance, inefficient headphones also need to absorb more power. Also not a great thing.

Two other factors need to be considered as well. Loud music with limited dynamic range will stress drivers heat wise and content with a lot of bass under the headphones capabilities. This tranform into large cone movement and can also stress mechanical things, up to the little wires just breaking off.

If you overdrive a driver until its really buzzing or ratteling, it will probably die quite quickly in the form of real mechanical damage to where the cone is attached to the rest of the headphone.

That said, its pretty hard to kill a headphone because of the low current being used, but tweeters in loudspeakers for instance will be the fastest to die if you drive an amp into clipping.

Thank you for making my life even better :D

One last question though when clipped does the headphone loose its original sound signature in any way ?

post #9 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrTechAgent View Post

Thank you for making my life even better biggrin.gif
One last question though when clipped does the headphone loose its original sound signature in any way ?

No. Unless you break something and it really sounds off. But you'd totally notice that. But usually one realizes its clipping and turns it down fast enough to not sustain permanent damage. You'd have to really do hard clipping for minutes on end to damage something.

Question is more: Why are you listening that loud? Stay safe man, for that crazy impact go buy a subwoofer. Subwooder + headphones will piss off the neighbors but it is REALLY fun. Not only do you hear the clean signal from the headphones, but you also get that punch in your gut feeling of real air movement.
post #10 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by ev13wt View Post


No. Unless you break something and it really sounds off. But you'd totally notice that. But usually one realizes its clipping and turns it down fast enough to not sustain permanent damage. You'd have to really do hard clipping for minutes on end to damage something.

Question is more: Why are you listening that loud? Stay safe man, for that crazy impact go buy a subwoofer. Subwooder + headphones will piss off the neighbors but it is REALLY fun. Not only do you hear the clean signal from the headphones, but you also get that punch in your gut feeling of real air movement.

Thanks.

Why do people think when they EQ they want more pronounced bass and stuff there are other things I am using the STX with my 650 and the STX is awful so have to do some corrections to get the sound right at least for my temp use for the optimum fidelity  :P 

Thanks anyways :D

post #11 of 32
The STX is great and very flat over the entire audio range. I think you just don't like your headphones sound signature.

For those headphones you really only need to boost the last two eq slider in the stx app to get to flat. Boost them by maybe 4 dB, probably less. That is "audiophile" sound. A different amp/dac will change the sound you are getting from the stx by about 5% tops.

If I may ask: What do your setting in the EQ look like? Screenshot? Can you describe why you don't like the sound of your setup?

I got the bass eq from your op. You said it distorts when the bass hits. I think you are listening way to loud, but its just a guess. On my 600 ohm beyers I have the stx set to 300-600 gain and max I listen to is about half, for extended listening about 2/5 ths.
Edited by ev13wt - 7/2/13 at 10:17am
post #12 of 32
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Edited by MrTechAgent - 2/28/14 at 8:23pm
post #13 of 32
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Edited by MrTechAgent - 2/28/14 at 8:25pm
post #14 of 32
What are the setting under the mixer button? Should be st 80 for both channels.
Under the main button, the settings should be 2Channels, PMC 48 KHz and all the checkmark boxes like dolby headphones DEselected.
In the windown sound setting, make sure to also set to 2 channel and 48KHz sampling rate.

To me it looks like you just aren't used to "audiophile" sound, aka "flat" sound sig. It's very common to make the mistake of the smiley face EQ as a beginner. Also, with those two slider for the bass set up crazy high like that, I WAS right about EQing the bass - wasn't I? smily_headphones1.gif

That headphone cannot handle the boost at 30Hz. It just can't. No wonder its distorting. I recommend the following: All EQ flat. If you REALLY feel the need, set the last 2 (8 and 16K) up by a tiny bit. Like 3dB max!

Then just listen to music. Sooner or later you will realize that it sounds MUCH better and you are hearing much more of the music. If you STILL hate the sound, sell those headphones asap. Get some Beyerdynamic 770s or 990s. I bet you will like the 770s (250 or 600Ohm version!) MUCH MUCH better.
post #15 of 32
I recreated your EQ setting on my ST. Sorry man, that is not Audiophile sound. It is your usual "fun" sound, also called V shape. It sounds like ass. smily_headphones1.gif BUT - on my Beyer MMX 300 (600Ohm) I can put the volume up to almost max and cannot hear ANY distortion even with those EQ settings. The MMX 300 is basically a 770 with a mic boom.

After listen to your EQ for about two tracks, I set it back to flat. Subjectively, now it sounds like ass. No bass, no highs. After listeneng to 2 minutes more in flat, I am happy again. My brain needed to adjust to the sound signature again.


I am wondering if there is something wrong with either your headphones or the card itself. How does the headphone sound out of a mp3 player? Without any EQ.

edit: Don't misunderstand me here, but get a hearing test done, to see if you have any hearing damage.
Edited by ev13wt - 7/2/13 at 10:43am
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