headphone help..."fatigue"

Discussion in 'Beginners, General Questions' started by Bhavesh P, Sep 21, 2003.

  1. Bhavesh P

    Bhavesh P Extra

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    Based on a reply I got once, what does it mean for a headphone to "fatigue" your head? Is it similar to heat/sweat around and inside your ears? If so, do all headphones do this? Which headphones do not?

    The clamp on my Philips set is broken, so I think I'll be looking around for some non-fatiging, isolating, quality sounding headphones. The reply to a post I got once specified Grado SR-40's (if I remember correctly) but I can't find a place to sample them. Who sells them (namely in Boston)?.
     
  2. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

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    There is both physical fatigue and listener fatigue. Physical is more just how comfortable the headphones are. Are they really heavy, do they fit your head, do they crush your ear, especially if you wear glasses they can crush your ear onto the frames--that will begin to hurt... all these kinds of things.

    Listener fatigue is more the sound and how pleasing it is. Overly bass-heavy, and overly bright headphones (speakers too) can be impressive at first, but after a while you get irritated by them, and you can really get headaches and just generally dont want to listen to them for long periods of time.

    So, the first is specific to what you find comfortable to wear. The secon, listener fatigue, is also very listener specific, just as people have very different tastes in speakers. For instance, i can't stand Klipsch speakers, yet a lot of people can't stand some of the sibilance in the highs that my paradigms have. It's all taste and what you like to hear. For this, if you plan on using a pair of headphones extensively and listening for long periods of time, you should spend some time with them, both listening for overall quality of sound, but also to test out whether they stay comfortable, and don't tire your ears. Hope that helps.
     
  3. Bhavesh P

    Bhavesh P Extra

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    That was well written, things are more clear now. Physical fatigue is what I suffer from presently, but it's more along the lines of the buildup of heat, which leads to sweat. From your response, and similar to any speaker purchase, I'll have to go audition each of the headphones with some of my own CD's and be the judge of which ones to buy.

    Thanks
     
  4. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    Bhavesh,

    Yes, Chris’ comments were indeed excellent. Here are a few other things you might want to consider as well.

    Regarding physical fatigue, the type I find most common in headphones is from excessive pressure. Eventually it just hurts to keep them on.

    You mentioned the build up of heat and sweat. This is not something you will easily escape if you insist on isolating ‘phones (i.e., the type that seal around the era and minimize exterior noise). You might try some non-isolating, so-called “open” ‘phones. They don’t have that heavy padded seal around the ear and you may find them much more comfortable for long-term listening.

    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     
  5. ChrisLazarko

    ChrisLazarko Supporting Actor

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    That is always a point well taken... I prefer my cheap $25 Sony headset that is pretty much open when i'm out for a walk compared to a more expensive $100 set that is completely sealed so I can have enjoyed listening at home... Of course it is always in the wearers opinion. It's like with anything else though, you have to try them all before you make your decision.
     
  6. Bhavesh P

    Bhavesh P Extra

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    Wayne, you brought up another important point that should also be apparent with any purchase: the application. I use them during the long hours of homework so I should consider open air headphpnes when I go test some out. On the other hand, surprisingly enough, my $20 philips headphones did not hurt my head from physical pressure. But the temporary lightweight RCA ones I'm using now, (it came with a portable mp3 player), squeeze the plastic against my head until it hurts. I'll look at some Sony open air ones too so that I can use them for both during homework and any quick trips.

    Thanks again
     
  7. SteveK

    SteveK Supporting Actor

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    I know that wireless headphones aren't very popular due to sound quality considerations, but I found some wireless headsets that seem (to my ears at least) every bit as good as wired ones. I recently purchased the Amphony 1000 wireless headphones and I am completely satisfied with them. Unlike most wireless phones which are in the 950 MhZ area, these transmit at 2.4 GhZ and transmit digitally at approx 3 Mb per second. Amphony claims that the transmitted sound is uncompressed and transmits the full audible frequency range. I've found them to be much less susceptible to interference than other wireless phones I've used, and I've been able to use them in all rooms of my house and even outside with minimal or no interference. They are closed headsets, so they isolate external noise quite well (as well as minimizing sound that "escapes" from the headsets into the room.

    All in all, I'm very pleased with them. I bought mine at etronics.com for around $110 if I remember correctly. Amphony also has an "audiophile" version (the 2000 series) for about double the price, but I'm not sure my ears could tell the difference, so I only have the 1000 phones. I've listened to them using various sources (CD, DVD, XM radio) and various types of music, and I'm completely satisfied with their performance.

    Again, I realize that wireless is not always the best option, but these may be worth considering.

    Steve K.
     
  8. Greg_R

    Greg_R Screenwriter

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  9. Ben.K

    Ben.K Auditioning

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    I have the ER-6s. They are excellent headphones, with just tons and tons of detail. Though I have not heard the ER-4 series, I hear that they are even more detailed. A good resource to look at when dealing with headphones is the forums over at head-fi dot org (sorry, I can't post a URL yet since I don't have 15 posts). I got my ER-6s in excellent condition on their For Sale/Trade Forums for ~90 dollars shipped. Grados are supposedly great bang for the buck (SR-60, SR-80) but a major complaint with them is the comfort. I would try on a pair of Grados before buying them. The higher end Sennheiser models (HD570, 580, 590, 600) are extremely comfortable, however they do require an amp to sound good which is another expense. A basic amp will cost anywhere from 50-200 dollars. The Etymotic ER-4S will need an amp but the ER-4P are designed for use without one. Many people like the Sony Eggo D66 which can be purchased from Audiogon.com for ~100 dollars including shipping. These are supposed to sound great without an amp, but keep in mind that they must be imported from Japan as they do not sell them in the US. What is your budget for headphones/amp? How much are you looking to spend? Is having a closed headphone important. Any of the Etymotic headphones will COMPLETELY isolate you, as in you won't hear the phone ringing, which can be a plus or a safety hazard depending on your use. Well good luck, and check out head-fi dot org for more detailed information.
     

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