[PlanetCCRMA] Noisy new Sennheiser headphones

Michael Tiemann tiemann@redhat.com
Thu Jun 22 18:31:02 2006

On Thu, 2006-06-22 at 18:19 -0700, Ron Pepper wrote:
> Just got a new pair of headphones, Sennheiser 280 Pro's, to be used
> while working on my computer. Unfortunately, I'm picking up what I
> think is system noise, that cheaper 'phones don't detect. My system
> is debian on a dell box. Amarok is my favorite player, but it's also
> the noisiest. The noise is a low level hiss/buzz and can be detected
> even when Amarok is totally muted. The noise intensifies when I move
> the mouse around and over links, hot-spots, menus etc. I posted to
> Amarok, and Xine, but they suggested the problem was in my system. I
> turned off unused channels in alsamixer, but that didn't help. Same
> noise for sessions in kde or icewm. The problem is not the headphones
> themselves, as there is no noise when used in OSX and iTunes. 

Please tell me how you run OSX and iTunes on a Dell box.  If you mean to
say "on a Mac running OSX everything's great, but on a Dell there's all
kinds of electrical noise" then you have a noisy system--a system that
does not isolate noise.  Further down that path, I, too, have a pair of
HD 280s, and in my experience, those phones require a fair bit of output
to reach a decent level.  If you mute everything in the Amarok world,
but also crank everything volume-wise, do you hear /nothing/ in your
cheaper phones?

> I'm willing to try a few things, if anyone has any suggestions, but I
> don't want to mess around with major surgery on my system. If there
> is no obvious/likely software solution, I want to exchange the
> headphones. In that case, can anyone suggest headphones that might
> work better. Obviously, I'll lose some of the quality that the 280's
> provide, but that would be better than the noise. Is there something
> in the specs of 'phones that I should be looking for? Also, frankly I
> don't like the closed circum-aural 280's as much as I thought I
> would. They're a bit hot and tight. Is there a lighter open-ear
> headphone that still might be reasonable quality that might work
> better for me?

The studio standard for open-ear headphones is the AKG K240 headphones.
I also have those, but I prefer the 280s for high-noise environments
(like when I travel on an airplane).