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Vocals usually more on the right side than left?

Discussion in 'Music' started by forsberg, Jan 14, 2012.
  1. forsberg
    When I am listening to headphones, on most of the songs it sounds like the vocals is not at the dead center. It's almost as if the singer is at the right side a little bit.

    At first I thought it was my hearing, so I reversed the headphones - then it sounded like the vocals are a bit towards the left, so it's not me.

    The thing is, it's not my headphones/source either. I can use a headset at work plugged straight into the computer and it's the same thing.

    Anyone else experience this before?
  2. Mad Dude
    I noticed this too! Not only with headphones, but with speakers as well. I suspected there was something wrong with my hearing at first, but reversing the speakers / headphones resulted in shifting the balance to the left side.
    However, this only occurs in certain recordings. Strangely, quite a number of recordings seem to be "affected", and it's not only old ones from the early days of stereo. A lot of recordings from the 60's have a very hard channel separation, and usually the louder instruments (guitars, drums) appear to be on the right side.
    This is really weird. Luckily, crossfeed can be used to counteract it a bit - I listen with crossfeed enabled almost all the time.
  3. hodgjy
    While it's certainly possible that our ears aren't perfectly balanced, I did read that many sound engineers slightly skew the vocals to one side or the other.  This is to open up the midrange a little so it doesn't sound so crowded.  It's so all the sounds aren't fighting for space.
  4. Raunky
    For the longest time I thought I had worse hearing in my left ear because of this and the left speaker in my old headphones wasn't as loud. Really had me thinking that my hearing was going in one ear.
  5. drawingup
    You are not crazy, I could name a few songs of the top of my head that do this. I usually have 1 IEM in an ear when I work and sometimes I'll get only music on one side and other times there will be vocals, usually my songs only do it in the beging ,but yah I thought I was crazy at first or my IEM's were broken.
  6. sgrossklass
    If in doubt, I'd just do a mono downmix and see whether the effect is still there. It's not like cans or volume pots never had any imbalance.
    BTW, sometimes voices can also wander around somewhat, especially over IEMs. A bit of crossfeed tends to do away with that.
  7. x838nwy
    Guys, seriously. I can use my m-100, xba-40 or woodies through my ipod or iphone with or without clas+mk3b and many songs would sound the same (vocal comes from about my right eye).

    Can anyone confirm that this is 'normal'?

  8. streetdragon
    I had this happen to me with my own pair of HD558. Though not in excessive amounts of offset, but still noticeable enough for me to try and reposition my headphones.
  9. x838nwy
    My m-100 has, for all intents and purposes, been all over my head. Moving them rearwards (as in towards the rear of my head, not backwards) slightly seems to help *slightly* but a lot of vocals remain uncentered.

    Any recording pro's out there care to comment??
  10. streetdragon
    Sorry i forgot to mention that the effect of repositioning headphones only works for certain models which have angled drivers.
  11. Overkill Red
    I experience this every day as well, although for me bass and vocals seems to be more to the left.
    With my TG!334s as well as my Senn HD25s, with certain songs I feel that bass+vocals are slightly off center and to the left.
    =| This can get really annoying sometimes haha
  12. x838nwy
    A little update: it could be your amp/headphones.

    It's a pretty long holiday here in Thailand, so i did a little experiment and research.

    1.) My M-100 are the worst offenders. I noticed things were a little more centered when un-amped with my rx-3b. So i tested them straight from my iphone. Definitely tilted to the right. I borrowed my wife's Beats Studio (i know, i know) and everything was waaay more centered. But seriously, it was hard to tell where things are with these cans. Took them to the shop from where i got them, the dude listened to them for a minute or so... And i'll hear from them on Wednesday whether i'll get a replacement or they can repair them!!! :D

    2.) Now for the others (xba-40 and Woodies). I've noticed for a while that on the lowest volumes, my rx-3b is waaay louder on the right relative to the left. Didn't give it much thought - pots do that, i guess. But then i got to thinking that may be this is connected to things shifting to the right??? I read up on this a bit and concluded that there is a significant tolerance in two-channel potentiometers (even good ones) but maths says that it is much worse at low values and nearly negligible at higher values. So i tried setting my 3b on 'low gain' and turned the volume knob (nearly) all the way (needed to, low really means low with these guys). And yes, while the voice is a little to the right, it's a lot less now. Most actually seem centered as far as i can tell. And for some strange reason - and i might be imagining things here - this gets better (more centered) and the amp warms up.

    Now i guess guys with sensitive iems or ciems have it worse - i barely noticed the imbalance with those beats as the volume is turned up quite 'far'. But I digress...my point is that if you experience this, it's best to check your amp/cans also. Specially the amp thing (theThirty3rd, that'd be you with them 334's - yes, i'm jealous but that's beside the point.)

    I'll look further into this phenomenon/problem/time vampire and report more findings should i unearth any.

  13. KingStyles Contributor
    For me, the vocals are always just left of center. it totally bugs me.
  14. 1manband
    Glad to know I'm not crazy or going deaf then :) I thought I was the only one.
  15. Seekky
    same problem with me.
    but only occurs on some of the IEMs/Cans.

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