Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Computer Audio › Headphone Fatigue? May have figured it out (I think)
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Headphone Fatigue? May have figured it out (I think)

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

The past 8 months I've really noticed some headphones fatigue like crazy.  Grado 80i being the worse. I tried the L-bowls and the regular and both did. I returned the Grados but kept the L-bowls because I didn't think I could return them and they fit perfectly on a lot of other headphones. I have a pair of sennheiser 31 that sounds pretty decent for making calls on skypes. When I tried the Grado pads on them they started to fatigue. None of this made any sense to me. About a year ago I bought a pair of ad700 drivers and transplanted them into a broken pair of 31's and they to began to fatigue. I've been trying to get into modding headphones so I've bought a bunch of cheap headphones to practice recabling, cutting up etc. One of these was a pair of Pioneer SE-MJ21-K. When I first recabled them they sounded slightly different but didn't fatigue. I then tried the L-bowls on them and they instantly began to fatigue. So while at work my mind was kind of wondering and then an idea hit me. On all the headphones that fatigue the driver is exposed with nothing between it and my ear. I decided to put a super thin piece of foam over the drivers of the pioneer and sure enough fatigue is completely gone. Anyone have any thoughts of this?

post #2 of 7

Treble-aggressive headphones cause fatigue, as overly (even one-noty) bassy headphones also do. Look for something that is better balanced. If you have the money and then get the HE-500, HD 600/650, K712 etc. While overly bright headphones can sound spectacular at first sooner or later they will tire you and in comparison to non-fake or overly elevated treble you'll notice how unnatural they are. 

post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 

I do agree with what you said, but not entirely sure you read what I wrote. The SAME headphones, with a set of pads with foam over drivers = no fatigue, same pad with foam removed = fatigue.  Another thing, anyone who has owned a pair of ad700 I doubt has ever said they were fatiguing. So for me to experience fatigue with them is eye opening.

 


Edited by Folex - 10/31/13 at 12:20pm
post #4 of 7

The foam covering the driver reduces treble to some extent. This is because high frequencies have very short wavelengths that are absorbed by soft materials, whereas longer wavelengths pass through unaffected.

 

Fatigue is usually caused by too much of a certain frequency, usually a higher frequency, so it's not just bright headphones that are fatiguing, it's headphones that don't have a smooth treble response, i.e. there are peaks in the treble. Grados are notorious for having a big peak in the lower treble which gives them their aggressive sound. Even a peak in the mids will fatigue your ears because that frequency is always louder than it should be.

 

To avoid fatigue, choose headphones that have a flat/smooth perceived frequency response with no big peaks or dips anywhere.

post #5 of 7
i wonder if it is also placebo, for example, sometimes i dont care about the audio quality and listen to music through my laptop onboard speaker which is definitely bad sound quality. if i dont think about it, its ok. but when i think about or ask myself if it sounds harsh, it always sounds harsh then. but sometimes it is very obvious like when i listen excessively without break to my beyerdynamic dt990, i cant deny the fatigue is not there
post #6 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by blueangel2323 View Post

The foam covering the driver reduces treble to some extent. This is because high frequencies have very short wavelengths that are absorbed by soft materials, whereas longer wavelengths pass through unaffected.

Fatigue is usually caused by too much of a certain frequency, usually a higher frequency, so it's not just bright headphones that are fatiguing, it's headphones that don't have a smooth treble response, i.e. there are peaks in the treble. Grados are notorious for having a big peak in the lower treble which gives them their aggressive sound. Even a peak in the mids will fatigue your ears because that frequency is always louder than it should be.

To avoid fatigue, choose headphones that have a flat/smooth perceived frequency response with no big peaks or dips anywhere.

Agreed.

The other solution is not to run the headphones as loud. I actually like Grados because of the forward mids and stronger highs, but I don't listen to them as loud as I would a darker headphone.
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 

The past couple of years I've really tried to rid myself of thinking certain ways (placebo). On this site there can be overwhelming consensus' on how a headphone sounds, feels etc.  The headphone fatigue idea had been based on the last 2 years experience. Prior to those years I mostly had Sennheisers and Audio technica, both headphones companies with the least fatigue. The biggest thing I've learned is to never make a judgement on a pair of headphones until at least 2 weeks later. The first couple of days most people are going to say " I LOVE THESE HEADPHONES" or "I HATE THESE!" But going back to the fatigue idea the pair of headphones I have you can put on either ear with it fitting perfectly. I would put the headphones down, and keep turning it over with my eyes closed and then put it on and listen to music. Every time within 10 seconds I could tell which driver had the foam over it. Given there is an expectation that one is going to cause fatigue, but it was overwhelming. My ear would start to really hurt and the sound was piercing.   Right now I am listening with Audio Technica ATH-TAD300's (Japanese Import) and the first couple of hours I like these considerably better then the Ad700s. Most likely on this site you won't find more then a handful of people who have used them, let alone like them better then the ad700's. 

 

Edit: On Grados no matter what I did they fatigued. I even went as far to listen to them @ volume 6/100 with the treble down 12db, made it slightly better but still hurt. 

 

Edit: Sennheisers stock have the best mix of sound/lack of fatigue. Audio technica has the absolute best lack of fatigue and I feel are like clay. You can mold them into whatever sound you want without fatigue. I got them currently set to +12db of bass and they sound 95% like my Denon 2000's minus 6oz of weight.


Edited by Folex - 10/31/13 at 6:16pm
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Computer Audio
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Computer Audio › Headphone Fatigue? May have figured it out (I think)