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Noise floor levels with different headphones

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

I was wondering, my old macbook pro 13 noise floor level has increased ( I'm not really that surprised considering it's a 3years old laptop) I opened twice always careful enough to not mess up with anything.  
The noise floor level is way too noticeable using my tf10, with the w4r it is still audible but less annoying and got me thinking: does headphones' impedance and sensitivity impact on noise floor levels perception? What do you guys think? 


Edited by squallkiercosa - 1/18/14 at 8:48pm
post #2 of 17

Yes, the noise is a signal just like whatever desired signal you're trying to play, so lower impedance and higher sensitivity sets will reproduce that signal more loudly.

post #3 of 17

^^

Exactly.

 

The headphone is just converting the signal to sound. If its sensitive enough it can convert even low intensity signals into sound. In terms of dB SPL 3 dB difference isn't much, but its actually twice as loud.

post #4 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by proton007 View Post
 

^^

Exactly.

 

The headphone is just converting the signal to sound. If its sensitive enough it can convert even low intensity signals into sound. In terms of dB SPL 3 dB difference isn't much, but its actually twice as loud.

3dB is double the power, not double the volume, that would be closer to 10dB.

post #5 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by squallkiercosa View Post
 

I was wondering, my old macbook pro 13 noise floor level has increased ( I'm not really that surprised considering it's a 3years old laptop) I opened twice always careful enough to not mess up with anything.  
The noise floor level is way too noticeable using my tf10, with the w4r it is still audible but less annoying and got me thinking: does headphones' impedance and sensitivity impact on noise floor levels perception? What do you guys think? 

 

 what a phone with higher impedance and lower sensitivity does, is that for a given signal, it will make a lower sound. both music and noise are lower on this IEM. the trick is that when you will increase the volume on your laptop to get a proper listening sound, you actually only increase music volume. most noises will stay as loud whatever volume setting you use.

so when you increase your volume setting, you increase the difference between music and noise (most noises at least).

 

- the usual solution is to get a headphone with lower sensitivity and higher impedance (but then you need to be sure your laptop can actually drive that headphone).

 

- the other viable option is to get an amp as most amps will have a much lower noise floor than your laptop. that way your laptop will give higher voltage signal for the music with still the same low noise signal, making the difference between music and noise to become huge. and the amp just does the job of a volume knob to get you the desired volume.

 

the advantage of the second solution is that you can keep the IEM you like and you're sure it will be driven properly.

post #6 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by adupree View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by proton007 View Post
 

^^

Exactly.

 

The headphone is just converting the signal to sound. If its sensitive enough it can convert even low intensity signals into sound. In terms of dB SPL 3 dB difference isn't much, but its actually twice as loud.

3dB is double the power, not double the volume, that would be closer to 10dB.

yes and no ? ^_^

3db is double the power and double the percieved loudness.

won't 10db be 10 times the loudness (edit forgot the ? ^_^) ?

I'm all wrong and you're right. soz for talking before thinking.

post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 
I do have an amp/DAC combo at home but not for work. More than a solution I was looking for the theoretical explanation :-) to understand better the phenomenon
post #8 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by adupree View Post

3dB is double the power, not double the volume, that would be closer to 10dB.
In terms of dbSPL a 3db change is quite big.
Lp = 20 log10 (prms/pref)
Edited by proton007 - 1/19/14 at 4:46pm
post #9 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by proton007 View Post


In terms of dbSPL a 3db change is quite big.
Lp = 20 log10 (prms/pref)

3dB is typically the threshold of which most people can hear a change. Quoted from the Yamaha Sound Reinforcement Handbook "It turns out that a sound which is 3 dB higher than another is barely perceived to be louder; a sound which is 10 dB higher in level is perceived to be twice as loud." This is due to the fact that we hear logarithmically.

post #10 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by adupree View Post
 

3dB is typically the threshold of which most people can hear a change. Quoted from the Yamaha Sound Reinforcement Handbook "It turns out that a sound which is 3 dB higher than another is barely perceived to be louder; a sound which is 10 dB higher in level is perceived to be twice as loud." This is due to the fact that we hear logarithmically.

 

Yes, 10dB is perceived as twice as loud, but its 10 times in power.

post #11 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by proton007 View Post
 

 

Yes, 10dB is perceived as twice as loud, but its 10 times in power.

Therefore, 3dB is not double the volume. Nor that big of a SPL change.

post #12 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by adupree View Post
 

Therefore, 3dB is not double the volume. Nor that big of a SPL change.

 

SPL and dB is different. Thats why I put the formula there.

 

Considering the same Pref, the Prms changes quite a bit within lets say, 100db SPL and 103db SPL.

 

A 3db change causes about 1.4 times the change in sound pressure, a 6db change is almost x2.  The difference in headphones SPL/mw can be much higher than 6dB, meaning more than twice the pressure difference for the same amount of power supplied.


Edited by proton007 - 1/19/14 at 7:49pm
post #13 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by proton007 View Post
 

 

SPL and dB is different. Thats why I put the formula there.

 

Considering the same Pref, the Prms changes quite a bit within lets say, 100db SPL and 103db SPL.

 

A 3db change causes about 1.4 times the change in sound pressure, a 6db change is almost x2.  The difference in headphones SPL/mw can be much higher than 6dB, meaning more than twice the pressure difference for the same amount of power supplied.

Correct, but you stated the a 3dB increase is twice as loud. Which it is not.

post #14 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by adupree View Post
 

Correct, but you stated the a 3dB increase is twice as loud. Which it is not.

 

My mistake. Its only 1.4 times.

post #15 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by proton007 View Post
 

 

My mistake. Its only 1.4 times.

 Wouldn't it just be a 1.4x increase in the pressure? And not volume? The actual volume gain would only be 1.2?


Edited by adupree - 1/19/14 at 9:54pm
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