What causes scratchy sibilant distortion with balanced armature drivers?
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lawrecedent

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Hi all, not my first post but haven't introduced myself yet. I'm from the UK and like everyone here have fallen pretty hard for the headphone bug since joining so have taken to repairing and selling returned headphones to fund my "habit". I just wondered if anyone with a bit more know how about BA drivers could help me out?
I have a pair of Klipsch X7i iems which seem to work fine when plugged into my ipod touch. However, when I turn the volume up past half way they start to distort in a sratchy and sibilant way. I have a few pairs of these and they can handle the volume all the way up without any distortion so I know its not that the output is too loud. Normally its jack failure that I repair with this particular model but my gut instinct tells me that this is not the case here. Is it just a sign of defective drivers on their way out or a pair that have been overamped in the past? Any ideas?
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Happy listening!
 
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It can be distortion caused by impedance that is amplified at higher volumes, resonance that forms in the audio resonator, or even crossover distortion.  Crossover distortion occurs with multiple driver IEMs.
 
Especially with BA drivers the impedance depends upon frequency response.  As the frequency goes up so does the impedance which may explain why this IEM is distorting.  The amp may be clipping.  Does the audio clip if you try a different player like a CD player or dedicated headphone amp?
 
When you say you have multiple pairs of these do you mean Klipsch x7i in particular are just IEMs in general?
 
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lawrecedent

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Thanks for the reply, yes I have had and sold quite a few of the X7i's over the last year but this is the first pair I have found with this issue. Normally I would replace the jack if both ears are working intermittently but it just seems odd that both driver could have failed in the same way. Maybe they fell in water or something? I'll definitely try another player though.
Not sure I fully understood your comment about impedence increasing at higher volumes. There shouldn't be a crossover in these iems as they are single ba drivers. How would I correct this issue? Any ideas?
 
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lawrecedent

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Anyone? Is it worth attempting a jack replacement which is a massive ball ache with the iphone remote versions or would a defective jack not lead to this kind of issue? Would be incredibly greatful for any feedback
 
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It might just be a defective in-line mic and volume control.  See if playing wither different in-line volumes helps.
 
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