Strangeness with ER-4Ps and deep bass spikes
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Nadim

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Okay, so I just got my new Ety's (and boy are they cool...it's like the music is playing directly in my brain!), and noticed a weird effect that I don't recall having seen anyone else mention (I'm not sure exactly how to search for threads on this one, either...).

So, I was listening to the 1812 Overture (Telarc 80041), and, upon the first cannon salvo I noticed a marked decrease in volume. They were turned down low (trying to do work as well...), so I backed up and listened again a little louder. Sure enough, with each cannon shot, I had the sensation in my ears not unlike that of going down about 5-6 feet on a scuba dive, pressurizing the air trapped behind the seal and causing sounds to decrease by 2 or 3 dB. The volume returned to normal over the course of 4-5 seconds, as the excess pressure cleared.

Anyway, I thought that was kind of odd, although considering how they work, I guess it's not that surprising. At least this means that I'm getting a good seal, I guess.

The question that springs to my mind is are there circumstances (say, a sharp, repetitive bass line) in which this might be dangerous to the ears? Keep in mind, I wasn't playing them particularly loud or anything, so we're not talking about recommended long-term dB exposure issues, but rather an effect unique (AFAIK) to the ear-sealing nature of the Ety's. I guess the 1812 track is an extreme case, as with any more regular beat you'd probably just achieve a pressure equilibrium after a few seconds.

Another question might be this is common, or just me, and under what other circumstances people see (or hear, rather) it. I found the pressurization effect somewhat disconcerting, but certainly not painful or anything. Are there some types of music that Ety users tend to avoid for these reasons?

Anyone care to comment on these ramblings?

-Nadim
 
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Tim D

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Supposedly that track has ridiculous dynamic range so even if you aren't listening to it loud during the quiet parts, it may still get loud during cannon blasts. And the ER4P's being true to the recording and never shying away from dynamics, can basically make the cannon sound like a cannon. Cannon's aren't particularly a good thing to hear in RL, so if your Ety's are delivering a particularly realistic portrayal of cannon's, that might not be a good thing. Or it could just be temporary loudness shifts caused by the loud cannon's, or that your ear perceives loudness by dynamics, so the psychoacoustics of hearing a very loud cannon followed by a quiet passage makes it seem like it is quieter than it originally was. This could be similar to how your eyes percieve intensity or brightness levels as the delta between the intensity of the foreground over the intensity of the background.

And cannon's produce much more than just simple bass spikes I would imagine...
 
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Nadim

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Tim D

You're absolutely right, the track does a very large dynamic range. Still, nothing (having heard the piece with cannons in RL) compared to the true dynamic range. I thought about the perceived loudness issue you suggested, but I definitely don't think that was it. Why? Because there's plenty of other instruments playing at the same time as the cannon fire, and there was a very significant (i.e. 1/2 the volume level or so) near-instantaneous drop in volume in those background instruments. Also, the effect was so strong that the cannon itself sounds much quieter relative to the same track on my speakers, or a similar deep base note from other tracks on the Ety's. I presume that this is due to the crack of the cannon's initial attack quickly pressurizing the ear before the bulk of the sound is heard.

It could well be that this effect is only apparent on very unusual tracks (like Telarc's 1812), but I thought I'd ask since I'm a noob with these phones.

-Nadim
 
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Tim D

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That was my point in regards to perception of loudness...the large dynamic shift upward from the initial crack of the cannon will make the background instruments seem less loud(even though they may actually be playing at the same volume).

As for why it sounds different from speakers...well the initial crack of the cannon's energy may be less intense and more dispersed in speakers compared to something coupled and sealed to your ear. Also you would also deal with room acoustics which would produce much greater reverberation and longer decay of a cannon in comparison.

Remember that if you are talking about large pressure effects...that basically boils down to high SPL's, which basically means the Ety's are reproducing a very high dynamic range. And the ear measures loudness by relativity (dynamics) rather than absolutes. These pressure sensations are nothing but SPL which is nothing but high volumes. You really can't be listening quietly to a piece that has strange pressure effects since these strange pressure effects are nothing but a direct correlation to SPL's.
 
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JaZZ

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Never heard such effects myself (well, I don't own the 1812 overture). But there are other possiblities than air pressure or psychoacoustic effects. Maybe the amp has reached its current delivery limit (= overmodulation) or the Ety's transducer's voice coil does such a great excursion during the cannon shot reproduction with its low frequencies (meaning large amplitudes) that it leaves the homogeneous magnetic field and therefore loses driving force. Just thoughts...

JaZZ
 
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