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Old 05-17-2010, 08:00 PM
Hirsch2k Hirsch2k is offline
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Default Listening Fatigue

Hi @all

First of all, excuse my bad english

So i got my Clip+ yesterday after I read the review here. And what can I say, I'm really impressed. At first I had doubts because the sound is often described as "fat" and I thought of an "consumer-sounding" tuning, but when I first plugged my Senn HD270 in, I immediately got the point

Now I experienced a weird listening fatigue that I never had before with that headphones. After about 20 minutes at medium volumes i feel a slight pain in both ears, as if you listen to very high frequencies very loudly. Anyone with the same problem?

Second, the low frequencies, although very present now are a little "muddy". Anyone had that experience too?

Thanks
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Old 05-18-2010, 05:22 AM
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henriquemaia henriquemaia is offline
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Isn't that a problem of the headphones? Have you tried "burning-in" them?
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Old 05-18-2010, 07:02 AM
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jupitreas jupitreas is offline
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Have you been using the stock Sansa OF equalizer? It has a tendency to muddy the sound up a bit.

As for the fatigue, I can confirm some fatigue when using the more 'reference' kind of IEMs. It might just be a perceived difference but the Clip+'s sound seems somewhat synthetic to me and grating in the long run. Amping the Clip+ solved this problem though since it added some dynamics.
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Old 05-18-2010, 09:33 AM
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Amping the Clip? What do you mean by that?
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Old 05-18-2010, 10:49 AM
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I meant using a separate headphone amp with the Clip+.
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Old 05-18-2010, 11:00 AM
musichound musichound is offline
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At a 64 Ohm Impedance, I also agree that a headphone amp is needed.
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Old 05-18-2010, 12:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hirsch2k View Post
Now I experienced a weird listening fatigue that I never had before with that headphones. After about 20 minutes at medium volumes i feel a slight pain in both ears, as if you listen to very high frequencies very loudly. Anyone with the same problem?
Quote:
Originally Posted by jupitreas View Post
Amping the Clip+ solved this problem though since it added some dynamics.
The Clip's internal amp auto-senses and auto-matches impedances, it probably shouldn't be necessary to amp these phones. I have more issues driving some lower impedance phones with it (like the Phonak PFE) than medium-high ones (like the RE0).

The "listening fatigue" could very likely be a psychological phenomenon. Since you got your fresh/new/exciting Clip yesterday, you might just have been listening more attentively than usual to the music. My ears are always getting fatigued after some time mixing and mastering, where utmost listening attention is required.

Quote:
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Isn't that a problem of the headphones? Have you tried "burning-in" them?
Henriquemaia, the following isn't meant as an insult towards your person, it's my general standard response/rant to the "burn in" myth.

This is very bad and potentially dangerous advice. NEVER "burn in" headphones with synthetic stress sounds like that silly site suggests. Those noises can damage the diaphragms of fresh, new phones beyond repair. I did a test with two pair of identical phones - one I listened normally to, the other one I exposed to pink noise. After about 50 hours the normally treated one sounded nice, and the pink noise one sounded noticeably worse and muddy, due to the unnatural stress/shock sounds.

I wonder what clown came up with the idea of using pink noise for "burning in" headphones (it sure must've been someone over at Head-Fi), but it is definitely the best way to damage your phones instead of making them "sound better". Gotta admire how those Internet myths spread, without any solid proof. There are no shortcuts, just listen to phones normally and enjoy them.
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Old 05-18-2010, 04:22 PM
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henriquemaia henriquemaia is offline
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No offense taken. Actually, I've only pointed out that because I read somewhere that this could be the "solution" to things like that. But, in reality, I'm more than a noob in things like these, mostly because:

1. I have no experience
2. I have no sensitivity to grasp the differences between methods and phones

So you did well in pointing it out, dfkt. I stand corrected.
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Old 05-18-2010, 05:14 PM
Hirsch2k Hirsch2k is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jupitreas View Post
Have you been using the stock Sansa OF equalizer? It has a tendency to muddy the sound up a bit.
Hm, i thought the EQ was off, I left it in middle position. Maybe the issue are my Headphones, which are in some heavy use since i bought them 6 years ago. I also have a pair of HD570, but they sound like some 200 dollar car-"hifi" set, which they sell here in Germany in some supermarkets quite often. Ok, maybe not quite as bad as this, but i don't like the sound.

So yesterday I ordered these after someone recommend them at head-fi because of their very good value. I plan to use them basically at home (I wanted to get some AKGs, but I can't afford them at the moment). So I will try them with my Clip+ too. So what is your opinion? Good Headphones given the cheap price?

@dfkt
The explanation for the listening fatigue was quite simple. At that day I worked about 12 hours, so my neck was really uptight already and the HD270 put about 6N of pressure on the surrounding of the ear (BTW, what's the right term for that in English? In German it's called "Anpressdruck"). So I will do the listening test again but this time at the weekend

Thanks for your replies.
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Old 05-19-2010, 05:55 AM
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Fröhliches Lauschen dann, ohne Anpressdruck.
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Old 05-19-2010, 07:50 AM
musichound musichound is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dfkt View Post
Fröhliches Lauschen dann, ohne Anpressdruck.
Errr, please keep in mind that the preferred language for ABI is English, and the use of other languages is discouraged.

Pfft, Newbies.
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Old 05-20-2010, 04:59 AM
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Somewhat on topic, somewhat off ...

When I get new headphones, earbuds, whatever, I do burn them in, but not with "noise." I turn the player on, set to "shuffle," and let it play unattended in another room until the battery runs out. And then maybe again. It breaks them in properly, more quickly, and only costs me a couple recharges.
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  #13  
Old 05-20-2010, 09:46 AM
Timar Timar is offline
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Listening fatigue is a very common phenomenon with headphones. The best way to avoid it is certainly to use crossfeed. With headphones you have the right stereo signal only reaching your right ear and vice versa - which is a very unnatural thing. In reality, you always have a signal reaching both of your ears, however attenuated and delayed for the contralateral one. Now this is exactly what a crossfeed does - it attenuates and delays a signal to simulate the natural listening experience. You can have a fine crossfeed on the Clip+ with rockbox. As I'm prone to listening fatigue myself, it was the main reason why I switched to rockbox. It really makes a difference - with crossfeed I can usually listen for several hours without experiencing any fatigue. For me it improves quality too, because of the added spatiality. Just try the rockbox crossfeed with the default parameters - and you'll probably don't ever want to listen without it anymore
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Old 05-20-2010, 10:53 AM
Mikerman Mikerman is offline
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Interesting as to crossfeed. When you apply crossfeed, do you consciously hear a difference, or is it a subconscious difference?

Last edited by Mikerman; 05-20-2010 at 06:36 PM.
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Old 05-20-2010, 11:07 AM
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I doubt this kind of listening fatigue has much to do with the issue the original poster described. But crossfeed sure is a nice enhancement for some tasks - I would however not use it for modern, well mixed/mastered music. It noticeably collapses the soundstage and Rockbox's implementation with default settings makes the music more "nasal", more veiled sounding than normal. I do love crossfeed for old 60ies/70ies albums though, the ones that have 100% hard-panned instruments, unbearable to listen to on headphones. Surround-downmixed video tracks work well with crossfeed as well, in my opinion. But it sure is not a miracle cure that should be applied to every audio material.
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Old 05-20-2010, 03:40 PM
Hirsch2k Hirsch2k is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dfkt View Post
I would however not use it for modern, well mixed/mastered music. It noticeably collapses the soundstage and Rockbox's implementation with default settings makes the music more "nasal", more veiled sounding than normal. I do love crossfeed for old 60ies/70ies albums though, the ones that have 100% hard-panned instruments, unbearable to listen to on headphones.
That is my experience too. Although the hard-panned Instruments of some 70ies albums do somehow sound like they are playing right in your ear if you use rockbox crossfeed. BTW, I rockboxed my clip yesterday, unfortunately it crashed with some kind of DMA error. I thought I bricked it, but after one night fortunately it restarted.

OK, now it's really getting a litte bit OT, but my HD668B arrived today. Although almost useless with modern Pop-Music, they sound phenomenal with classical music and guitar music. Listened to "An Evening with John Petrucci and Jordan Rudess" and there are things I never heard before i.e. the picking is very detailed now. Definitely a recommendation for the Clip+ and "demanding" music.
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  #17  
Old 05-20-2010, 04:34 PM
Timar Timar is offline
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I also have the HD668B and use them with the Clip+ (with a Fiio E5 in between). They are phenomenal headphones indeed. I'd go so far to say that they compete well with headphones five or six times as expensive. I always prefer analytical sounding headphones - it's easy to equalize an analytical sound signature to be more "fun", but not so to equalize a "fun" sounding headphone so be analytical.
Well, back to topic. I think the rockbox crossfeed is great if you don't go higher than the default 700hz and set the HF attenuation value all the way down to -24db. The "nasal" sound the rockbox' crossfeed can produce is due to HF comb filter effects caused by the frequency-linear time delay (Jan Meier's implementation avoids this problem by using a nonlinear approach). This effect can be minimalized, however, by maximizing the HF attenuation.
A properly set up crossfeed should be beneficial for almost any kind of music, especialy "well mixed/mastered" music. Music that is mixed in the studio - regardless of how well done - is mixed to be listened on a stereo. The channels are mixed by level, not by phase, because it is assumed that phase mixing will naturally take place in the listening room. This kind of mixing is a priori not suitable for headphones. You'll need a crossfeed for any kind of music except for "real" live recordings done with two single microphones (most live recordings are however mixed in the studio), or binaural recordings. A crossfeed should not be specifically tuned to compensate for old "fake stereo" records with one intrument only on one channel - this should be done by ordinary channel mixing (e.g. reducing stereo width) prior to the crossfeed.
The major disadvantage of rockbox crossfeed is that it doesn't compensate for the HF attenuation by giving the ispilateral signal the appropriate gain, like Maier and bs2b do. This can be easily compensated using the equalizer though. For the HD668B is even makes an improvement, because the crossfeed warms their sound up considerably. I think their sound signature ideally fits the rockbox crossfeed, no need to eq at all with that combo!

Last edited by Timar; 05-21-2010 at 05:12 AM.
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