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  • Headphone Hiss

    So I bought a new set of headphones (Audio Technica ATH a700) to replace my old headset, and I have noticed some noticable hiss. In my troubleshooting I have tried hooking them up to two amps (it hisses in both cases with or without music playing), my iPod (it hisses when music is playing), and my laptop (it hisses when music is playing). I've tried searching the problem, but the general response seems to be to "use an amp" and I have already tried with two (one of decent quality). The hissing seems to get louder if I turn the volume up, but at mid to high volume it's not really noticeable, while at low volume it's rather obvious. Any tips?

  • #2
    Re: Headphone Hiss

    Do they have a "noise cancellation" feature? If so, that's could be what you're hearing. Badly implemented versions of it can be extremely pervasive when there isn't a lot of noise for the function to actually work against (noise cancellation is the one feature that I have never found to be worth using on headphones under $100, as frustrating as that is).

    Alternatively, if the headphone's cord has an inline volume control, you might have a bad connection there. The easiest way to test that is to move the volume switch across its full range and listen for discernibly loud and persistent audio effects (loud popping, static, the hissing changes in pitch or intensity, whatever you're listening to suffers quality loss, etc.)--try both with and without playing music (or whatever).

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    • #3
      Re: Headphone Hiss

      I'm with Flar, it's probably the active noise cancelling circuitry making the background hiss sound. They tend to overcompensate when there are no low frequency sounds in the ambient environment (hence why they work so well on airplane flights but generally weakish on your everyday commute).
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      • #4
        Re: Headphone Hiss

        No noise cancellation nor inline volume control. It's these http://www.audio-technica.com/cms/he...6d2/index.html

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        • #5
          Re: Headphone Hiss

          Those are good cans. If they are not defective (I don't think so), what you are hearing is the noise floor. Those cans have great (102db) sensitivity. You are getting noise floor from your sources. Blame cheap components in the iPod and Laptop, tbh. If you could test them on a more pristine source, maybe a high end CD player, (lol, who still has one of those :) ) you would be able to eliminate the cans as the source of the noise.
          Do or do not, there is no try....
          -- Yoda, Dagobah

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          • #6
            Re: Headphone Hiss

            Originally posted by gunjunkie View Post
            Those are good cans. If they are not defective (I don't think so), what you are hearing is the noise floor. Those cans have great (102db) sensitivity. You are getting noise floor from your sources. Blame cheap components in the iPod and Laptop, tbh. If you could test them on a more pristine source, maybe a high end CD player, (lol, who still has one of those :) ) you would be able to eliminate the cans as the source of the noise.
            Thanks :D. I've been trying to, but all my stereo equipment is a mishmash. The input and output components are all excellent, but I've succeeded in running them all through an amp of no great quality (a real waste, but I'm broke). I've tried on a different stereo (that one would think would be decent), but got the same result. Unfortunately I don't have an output source I can guarantee to be good. I have found that running it through the laptop and playing a track with no signal results in no hiss, if that's any help.

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            • #7
              Re: Headphone Hiss

              Try turning the headphone plug while it is in the socket.

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              • #8
                Re: Headphone Hiss

                There's a chance you just got a defective set. If you try another pair of headphones and they don't exhibit the same hiss in all your devices then you should return your headphones.
                "Looking for brahs to come fight crime with me" - Unload



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                • #9
                  Re: Headphone Hiss

                  Originally posted by VoodooIT View Post
                  There's a chance you just got a defective set. If you try another pair of headphones and they don't exhibit the same hiss in all your devices then you should return your headphones.
                  That's the hard thing, I can't actually guarantee that any of the individual components are good enough. What I think I'll do is take them down to BestBuy and just plug em in to the most expensive stereo I find. That, and call the company tomorrow to see what they say.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Headphone Hiss

                    price does not equal quality... a midrange yamaha or even lower end onkyo or denon will beat the high end sony. Klipsh or harman kardon will also have good preamps. Your absolute best option is to go to a guitar center or other music store. they will have sound mixers on display, and plugging in to a 80+ thousand dollar yamaha or allen & heath sound board will guarantee the source is not the problem. unmute a few empty channels and slowly crank the gain to full, then slide the fader past unity... if the hiss slowly grows as you move the fader, you are good... if you hear it as soon as you unmute a channel, you might have bad headphones. ask the rep if you can try out a pair of studio headphones (sennheiser, shure, yamaha, and even sony will all be in stock.... maybe even some bose - I have the $180 'on ears' and I love them... 70-80% passive noise reduction... and they have no noise on a clean source.) just make sure nothing is NC like the qc15's.
                    Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former. -Albert Einstein
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