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Sennheiser PXC450's, intermittent "crackle" in right ear. Any suggestions?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

Not quite sure what to make of this ... yet I'm at my witts end here.  Seeking if anyone has suggestions.

 

 

 

Basically I got these (brand new) a matter of days ago, and they sound absolutely beautiful (best sound that I've ever heard from a pair of ANC headphones), with one exception.  I hear a "crackling" or "shifting" sound in the right earpiece intermittently.  It's somewhat almost like sound that you'd expect from the padding being deformed, rubbing against hair, etc.  Except I know that it's not as I hear the sound even whenever not moving my head.  (sounds like a "zzzzzzzzzzzzzzt")

 

Now the weirdness begins.

 

 

--If I use the noise canceling function on the headphones and have them connected to nothing ... no-problem.  No crackle in the right ear.

 

--If I connect the headphones to my SoundBlaster ZXR, crackle in the right ear even playing "no audio".  Other headphones of mine such as my Sennheiser PC350's and Sony MDR's DO NOT pick up any weird sounds like I'm hearing.  My desktop speaker system is also not picking up this crackle.

 

 

 

Ok ... so it's the machine in some way causing it, I'd thought.  Nope, it gets weirder.

 

Connecting the headphones to just an extension cord, free-hanging, not plugged into "anything" results in crackling in the right earpiece.  Remove the extension, crackling goes away.  Connect the headphones straight into machine, no extension, crackling occurs again.

 

 

Any suggestions?  I've already tried fixing an Iron Ferrite Core right on the cable before the connection to the headphones.

 

Are my headphones defective, or is something like RF getting picked up in the extension somehow and in my computer's hardware?  **Note that it's always ONLY the right speaker, and never the left**

 

 

Trying to figure out if there's anything else I should try, or if I should RMA the headset.

 

 

Any advise is appreciated, even if it's just a confirmation that you think they're defective.

Thanks!

 

 

 

EDIT:

 

To add a bit more here.  I've not been able to reproduce / trigger the crackling by playing any frequency or volume.  I don't notice any increase or decrease in the distortion / sound regardless what I'm playing.  It seems entirely intermittent.

 

I've also tried using a different cable to the headphones, and removing their detachable cord.  It doesn't seem that it's the headphone's cable or connector ... unless it's the jack on the headphones itself.


Edited by A2Razor - 6/25/13 at 7:52pm
post #2 of 5

Sounds defective to me. 

I would get it exchanged where you bought it, and bring your extension cable if they require a demonstration of this phenomenon (which is likely a problem in the headphones ANC electronics by the sound of it).

post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by GREQ View Post

Sounds defective to me. 

I would get it exchanged where you bought it, and bring your extension cable if they require a demonstration of this phenomenon (which is likely a problem in the headphones ANC electronics by the sound of it).

 

Unfortunately whenever I brought the headphones into the store, they were unable to reproduce the sounds and dismissed it as a false claim.  Support dept mentioned that a long cord can both act as an antenna and path for ground (transfering more energy in to the air with greater length) though.

 

 

 

The problem definitely looks like it has something to do with power / ground.  For example in more testing ... If I use a cellphone to drive the headphones, then the clicks go away as long as the phone is not connected to an AC power source, and as long as I don't use the extension (keep the cable short).  It also seems that the headphones work fine as long as I don't use the noise canceling, even if the phone is powered by AC, and even if I use the extension..  Interesting indeed.

 

I'm starting to think that this is more an issue of a power source on the headphones being used for amplification (when on) that's not in tune with ground of the output.

 

 

 

In reading around, it sounds like a ground loop isolator is exactly what I need to clear this up.  Hope I'm on the right train of thought....  Does the brand or type of these devices matter in terms of quality, and will use of a ground loop isolator significantly hurt my audio quality at all?

 

 

 

If anyone has a suggestion for a ground loop isolator, it looks like I'm in the market for one.

post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 

Bought an XGL135 Ground Loop Isolator in an attempt to stop the noises.  --Did not work.

 

I'm finding that any bit of ESD that I let off causes the audio to crackle though...  Anyone heard of something like this?

 

 

 

Longer the cable length the more noise let off during the discharge.  My shirt rubbing against the chair makes a ton of popping noises in the right ear if I intentionally and consciously try to do it.

 

 

Is there anything that I can do that'd put a clean break in the cable / fully disconnect it, like an optical isolator?  (cost does not matter at this point, I'm willing to spend up to 200$ to solve the problem)  Or anything that I can do to modify the headphones to insulate them / prevent ESD transfer from my head into the speakers?

 

Another attempt to return them at the store was rejected in talking to the manager, who again claimed that they could not reproduce the problem.  I'm getting very convinced that even if I manage to return the headphones and get them replaced, the same ordeal is going to happen with the next pair and it's going to be 350$'s down the drain.

post #5 of 5
Sound like a ground pad lift somewhere inside it maybe. RMA it.
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