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iPod or Headphones

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

Has anyone had the problem when using the Sony MDR-NC8 noise cancelling headphones on a iPod Shuffle? Basically when I turn up the volume the sound gets distorted for some reason. Other headphones work fine but just these NC8 have a problem.

post #2 of 17
Did you try with another source? like your laptop or an old receiver (you could try with a dvd or blu-ray) to see if it does happen the same?
post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 

Basically everything works on the NC8 but the iPod. But if I put other headphones on the iPod it works fine just the NC8. I have the NC7 and they work fine with the iPod but when I connect the NC8 it get distorted at higher volume. I did test the NC8 on other stuff too and it works fine like my notebook. Just the iPod doesn't work well at higher volume. Kinda strange.

post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 

I was just wondering how would I fix the problem so I can use the NC8 on the iPod. I do like the sound better on the NC8 since it gives more fuller sound and has lower bass but just when I use it on my iPod Shuffle it get distorted at higher volume. At lower to mid volume it works fine but just when I have it set to upper volume it distorts. I hope I don't have to buy a new MP3 player again though but if it was the iPod won't all headphones get distorted at higher volumes? Also it is really strange that the NC8 works on other devices like computers but just the iPod Shuffle. Every other headphones works fine on the iPod though.

post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 

Specs for the NC8 headphones





Product Specifications

Convenience Features

  • Noise Reduction : Total noise suppression - Approx: 10 dB (when power is on)1


  • Cord : 47 1/4 in (1.2 m) Single-Sided OFC Litz Cord


  • Driver Unit : 30 mm, Dynamic, closed, dome-type
  • Frequency Response : 30 - 20,000 Hz
  • Impedance : 17 ohms at 1 kHz (when power is on) 19 ohms at 1 kHz (when power is off)
  • Noise Level : ON/OFF switch on ear-cup
  • Sensitivity (db) : 95 dB/mW (when power is on) 98 dB/mW (when power is off)


  • Design : Supra-Aural, noise canceling
  • Headband : Yes
  • Magnet : Neodymium 
  • Plug : Gold-plated, L-shaped stereo mini plug
  • Type of Use : Noise canceling


  • Power Handling Capacity : 50 mW

Audio Features

  • Ear Cups : Yes

General Specifications

  • Power Source : DC 1.5 V, 1 x R03 (AAA) battery

Weights and Measurements

  • Weight (Approx.) : Headphones: 6.0 oz (170
post #6 of 17
Forget it bro. Nothing to do there
post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 

Well do you see a problem form the specs of the NC8 headphones?  I can say that when I use the NC8 on my notebook and have it very loud it doesn't distort at all but when I connect them to my iPod Shuffle it distorts when it's loud.

post #8 of 17
NC circuitry can be erratic: sensitivity and impedance may vary on certain frequencies. There's nothing you can do unless you wanna buy an amp for the ipod shuffle which defeat the small factor purpose... Do you really need NC?
post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 

Well I was planning to use these when I goto Japan on Sep 3 since it will be around 13 hour trip. I wanted to use my iPod Shuffle and listen to my music there also I will bring my notebook and I can play games on the plane. Just wondering but could it be because the Ohms is rated 17 when on and 19 when off? I don't think that can affect the sound can it? I assume all iPods will play any headphones fine right? Just maybe some you have to turn them up louder to hear the music. But I' am sure that the NC8 should be able to play on my iPod Shuffle.

post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 

I did call the highest level of product support from Sony and we can't really think of what's the real reason but we both did think that maybe it is because of the ohms is only 17 and that's why it distorts at higher volume but he said he will do some more research and maybe find a way to fix this problem but do you guys think that in general around 17 ohms headphones will not work well on iPods? Have you guys ever used a set of headphones that was rated around 17 ohms and used it on a iPod Nano or Shuffle, etc? Now I don't know if that is the real reason that I am getting distortion at higher volume but I think maybe that was the reason I might be wrong though. I am the one who told him that I think it was the ohms being low but he said it could be but he doesn't know but he said he will research more and call me back tomorrow.

post #11 of 17

I also noticed on my 80GB iPod classic that if I turn the volume up higher than about 70%, the noise floor increases slightly and the soundstage becomes smaller. I think there is some clipping in resolution at the expense of volume.

This may be something to do with the 'amplifier' inside the ipods not being good enough. 


It's safe to assume it gets worse with smaller devices with cheaper parts. frown.gif

post #12 of 17

Yeah the iPod amps will clip at higher volumes using lower impedance headphones. I used to have an iPod nano 2nd gen, and my 60 ohm Koss Porta Pros would audibly distort at the highest volume setting. With my current iPod touch 4th gen, the amp will clip on 16/16 volume using 38 ohm audio-technica ATH-M50s and 13/16 with 16 ohm MEElectronics S6 IEMs. I tested for clipping using a 1khz test tone. I was loaned a shuffle for a short time and never tested for clipping, but it did seem like the sound became more compressed at higher volumes using my ATH-M50s. If the amp in the shuffle is similar to what's in the touch, I would say don't turn the volume up past 12/16 to stay distortion-free.

post #13 of 17
Thread Starter 

I did find this on Yahoo answers but is this true?





"A 32ohm speaker by definition has a higher resistance than a 16ohm speaker therefore the 32ohm will draw a higher wattage from the device you are using. If you are using the headphones for listening to music or whatever through a computer or an AV receiver then get the 32ohm headphones. If you are using them for your ipod then get the 16ohm ones. If you use the 32ohm ones in an ipod then the batteries will drain much quicker (than if you had the 16ohm ones) in order to supply the output volume you decide to have coming through the headphones.

If you use them for both the the 16ohm ones will be fine. The resistance, or the wattage of a speaker doesnt mean quality sound. You should go for a decent headphone, ohm ratings dont define audio quality in a speaker or headphone."

post #14 of 17

Some of those statements are only half truths.


A headphone with double the resistance might also have higher sensitivity and therefore doesn't need huge amounts more power to run at adequate levels. 


Also all mp3 players should easily drive most headphones up to 32 ohms. Which again is only a half truth because some are VERY low sensitivity or power-hungry.

post #15 of 17
Thread Starter 

So I guess for my iPod Shuffle it's not better to use lower ohms to make the battery last longer? But eather way is it really true that iPods like the Shuffle won't work using my headphones since just because of 17 ohms? Or is there a way to make my headphones work for iPod Shuffle? Btw I' am talking about using headphones that have low ohms not the higher ohms like over 30 ohms. I saw you guys were talking more about connecting headphones that had high ohms connecting to iPod.

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