[PlanetCCRMA] Noisy new Sennheiser headphones

Steve Harris S.W.Harris@ecs.soton.ac.uk
Fri Jun 23 00:56:01 2006

On Thu, Jun 22, 2006 at 09:30:50 -0400, Michael Tiemann wrote:
> 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?

That could be an impedance thing, my knowledge of electronic stuff is a
bit vague, but the impedance level of expensive headphones and cheap
ones is often radically different.

If youre having to turn up the amplifier higher to hear the same level in
the better headphones then the ampifier may be making the noise much

Some headphones, such as Bose QC2's have switchable impedance, but they're
not ideal for use in a studio, and the frequency response is all over
the place.

Have you tried a headphone amplifier between the soundcard and headphones?
It might take some strain off the soundcard's amplifier.

- Steve