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Old 10-16-2010, 10:15 AM
Chef Chef is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2010
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Default Listening Tricks and Advice

Visitors of this forum probably have varying audio reproduction equipment, but in the end we all just put the phones on our head and press the play button. Or is it?

Please list advice, from pseudo-psychological to legitimately worth learning about, here.

-When comparing two set-ups of equipment, bias will be given to the louder equipment (especially if it is very slightly louder). Perceptions of slightly louder music will include 'clarity' and 'night and day' differences.

-When listening to music, I believe that it is helpful to eliminate as many non-hearing related sensations as possible, in order to achieve total focus. To do this one should listen to music in the dark.

-Humans require a sound to be 10% louder in order to recognise an increase (the same goes with sight, and touch). Thus when testing equipment, aim for less than 10% difference in loudness. [this is based off vague memories of a psych course... please correct me if there are more concerning factors]

-Humans, for all sensations, will eventually cease to consciously perceive things as actively as when they first heard them. The brain decides that the environment is normal and does not bother making you think as hard about it. This is why some people continually turn up the volume to ear-splitting levels. There is a temptation to turn the volume up because that will reengage the brain to think 'the environment is different, this could be important.' It isn't a matter of hearing details you can't hear at lower volumes.

-Additionally, when one lowers the volume, a similar reaction is produced in the brain (see point above). Normally this is immediately perceived as bad, but this behavioural, not a necessary truth. If one listens at a low volume, one can force his or her brain to be active which can increase the enjoyment of music, as you are consciously trying to hear the details instead of letting them be slapped into your face (and as previously mentioned, you eventually get used to this slapping anyway).

-When it seems like your music just won't go loud enough, try listening to something outside of the music, such as footsteps or another person talking. Your mind will tell you it wants to hear those sounds, but can't, and suddenly the music will feel very loud again.

-Not directly related to listening, but don't be a dumbass and twist and bend your phone's wires around themselves or another device. This is pretty much always the cause of malfunction (ie OH NO ONE OF THE EARPHONES AS STOPPED WORKING... it isn't the earphones, it's the wire). I only mention this because way too many people complain about this, completely oblivious that it is all their fault.

-A good rule of thumb with earphones is that you SHOULD be able to hear the sounds of the bus and other passengers in addition to your music. Unless you have really good isolation, you are definitely damaging your hearing by drowning other sounds. If you listen to music at the same volume as the bus, you will both not disturb other passengers, and you will still be able to enjoy it.

-On a noisy environment such as a bus, select music that does not have quiet instruments or a lot of dynamics in general. Most rock will achieve this... If you want to listen to classical music, Piano solos are a better choice.



Okay... I'm starting to get into the blatantly obvious, so hopefully someone else has some interesting discoveries!
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