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How can I reduce noise from a source?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

My dilemma is that I have a U.S. Galaxy S III, and I don't know if this is a defect or not, but it produces a lot of background noise at low volume (the only volume level where it's even remotely comfortable to listen to, the GS3 is a really loud source!). The problem isn't always present - I tend to notice the noise only in quiet passages, and I notice distortion with some passages of songs that are "sharp" (e.g. piano notes with space between them, I'm not sure how to describe it - the first ten seconds or so of Kimi ga Hikari ni Kaete Iku is an example). This only happens at the lowest two or three volume levels; unfortunately anything beyond that is too loud for my ears (the only reason I can even hear the noise is that my house is dead silent most of the time).

 

The noise is bothersome when present, so I've tried to look for a solution. What I've found so far by scouring these forums and others is:

  1. An inline volume control (like Shure's) so that I can turn up the volume on my source (eliminating the noise) and then bring it back down for my IEMs. However, I hear this leads to poor sound quality because of the added impedance - but from what I hear this varies based on what IEMs I use? (I have the Samsung IEMs but I was considering the RE-ZERO or VSonic GR06, if it does matter.)
  2. A headphone amp (like the Fiio E6) that would serve the same purpose as before, but with (hopefully) better quality. My concern with this solution is that, as the E6 is an *amplifier*, that it won't have precise enough volume control. To put it better, I'm wondering how many of its 64 volume levels are quieter than the source and how many are louder.
  3. Just get a Sansa Clip+ and stop trying to work around my phone.

 

Does anyone have any recommendations/dealt with similar problems before? Thanks a lot to anyone who can help!

 

This is similar to http://www.head-fi.org/t/649672/how-do-i-deal-with-the-horrible-volume-control-in-android#post_9162120, but I didn't want to hijack his thread - the solution there works fine for more precise volume controls, but not for counteracting the fact that my GS3 is quite noisy.

 

EDIT: I considered a USB DAC, but as I am using CyanogenMod it won't work for me (only the stock GS3 firmware, which disgusts me, supports DACs).


Edited by lidavidm - 2/16/13 at 6:40pm
post #2 of 6

The amp sounds like the best way to go if you want to keep your phone as your source. There is also a program available that would possibly allow you to bypass the DAC in your phone so you can use an external one. There are amp/DAC combos as well to consider :). Good luck.

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/595071/android-phones-and-usb-dacs
 


Edited by lee730 - 2/16/13 at 9:52pm
post #3 of 6

Why not just buy a small cheap DAP like the Clip instead? No audible noise and it won't take up any more space than a DAC, it should cost a lot less money, and you can take the player places you don't want to risk the phone?

post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lee730 View Post

The amp sounds like the best way to go if you want to keep your phone as your source. There is also a program available that would possibly allow you to bypass the DAC in your phone so you can use an external one. There are amp/DAC combos as well to consider smily_headphones1.gif. Good luck.

http://www.head-fi.org/t/595071/android-phones-and-usb-dacs

 

Thanks for the link - unfortunately CyanogenMod doesn't support USB DACs, but that thread links to the possibility of it working... I'll keep researching that.
Quote:
Originally Posted by scuttle View Post

Why not just buy a small cheap DAP like the Clip instead? No audible noise and it won't take up any more space than a DAC, it should cost a lot less money, and you can take the player places you don't want to risk the phone?

Yes - I've been considering the Clip. I simply like the interface of my phone better. But that is the option I will most likely be taking.
post #5 of 6

It'll increase distortion a bit, but you can get passive voltage dividers that basically drop 10 or 20dB from the phone's volume so that you can listen on higher volume settings.

 

Alternatively, you could get higher impedance headphones.  The S3 is good, but not great with lower impedance IEMs (which I suppose you are probably using).  Higher impedance will decrease volume some and not work the amp so hard.

post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by saratoga View Post

It'll increase distortion a bit, but you can get passive voltage dividers that basically drop 10 or 20dB from the phone's volume so that you can listen on higher volume settings.

Alternatively, you could get higher impedance headphones.  The S3 is good, but not great with lower impedance IEMs (which I suppose you are probably using).  Higher impedance will decrease volume some and not work the amp so hard.

Yeah, I looked for higher impedance headphones but in terms of IEMs I can't find anything in my budget. The Brainwavz M1 have 32 ohms, would that be enough?

Also, could you point me to an example of such a divider? I looked on Google but what comes up doesn't seem to be related to audio...

Thanks for your suggestions!
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