Static in my new earphones

The place to sound off on all things related to audio, from sound cards to speakers.

Moderator: Captain Ned

Static in my new earphones

Postposted on Fri Jan 31, 2014 10:46 pm

Hi,

So, my old pair of earbuds, (15$ cheap sony ones) just broke and I went to buy a new pair, I decided to get a pair that's a bit more expensive (30$ Ha-Fx40 from JVC) hoping they could last longer. They work great, there is no static when I plug them in my ipod, but when I plug them in my computer, be it the backplug, the front one, the back one via and extension cord, I hear a constant static noise, whereas my old earbuds did not have this problem.

Obviously, since it goes straight in contact with my ears, I can't return them to the store because they can'T sell it back to customers.

My question is, is there anyway to fix this, or am I screwed? I do not wish to buy a dedicated soundcard in the hopes it fixes the problem, because I do not really care for sound quality.

Thank You.

P.S. I have a steelseries headset, and I can use it without problem, however, sometimes, since I wear glasses, putting my earbuds in to ease the pressure and the occasional pain around my ears helps.
chpoit
Gerbil In Training
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Apr 21, 2013 7:44 pm

Re: Static in my new earphones

Postposted on Sat Feb 01, 2014 10:47 am

The impedance of your new earphones might be so low that it emits the electrical noise of your computer.
You'd have to get a dedicated soundcard to get rid of most of the noise.
I like Windows 8.
Seriously.
chµck
Gerbil First Class
 
Posts: 155
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:14 pm

Re: Static in my new earphones

Postposted on Sat Feb 01, 2014 5:48 pm

chµck wrote:The impedance of your new earphones might be so low that it emits the electrical noise of your computer.
You'd have to get a dedicated soundcard to get rid of most of the noise.


Sorry, that's backward. Higher impedence==higher sensitivity to noise. And the difference between 16ohms and 32ohms isn't really going make a difference in that regard anyway. However it might be related to the difference in impedence.

To the OP, you didn't say which of the SteelSeries headsets you have, but it appears they all have 32 ohm drivers in them and something around 110db sensitity. The new JVCs are 16 ohm drivers and 101db sensitivity. From all the specs, the new earbuds should be less sensitive to any underlying noise in the system. However, it is possible that the system is detecting the lower impedence and turning on an amp or turning up the gain on an existing one. Lots of times there is a setting for what type of speakers are connected that controls the output levels or just a checkbox to enable the output amplifier. If you plug in the SteelSeries and set the volume at a comfortable level, then plug in the JVCs, are they way too loud? If you plug in both sets of headphone, one front, one back, do you hear static in the SteelSeries? (assuming your setup supports using both connectors at the same time).

--SS
SecretSquirrel
Gerbil Jedi
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 1686
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2002 7:00 pm
Location: The Colony, TX (Dallas suburb)

Re: Static in my new earphones

Postposted on Sat Feb 01, 2014 6:30 pm

Maybe the upper-end frequency response of the old ones was so poor that they simply didn't reproduce the noise. :P
"No I don't want the Ask toolbar! No I don't want Bing as my default search! No I don't want to make Chrome my default browser!"
"Good grief, man! WHAT are you trying to install on that poor computer?"
"Antivirus."
kvndoom
Minister of Gerbil Affairs
 
Posts: 2388
Joined: Sat Feb 28, 2004 11:47 pm
Location: Communistwealth of Virginia

Re: Static in my new earphones

Postposted on Sat Feb 01, 2014 8:57 pm

First off, make sure the Microphone In and Line In are muted on your computer. Aside from that, I would test the headphones with several other sources to see if the same problem occurs. Let us know what you find.
i5 2500k - P67 - GTX660 - 840 Pro 256GB - Xonar Essence STX - Senn HD595's
The Egg
Gerbil XP
 
Posts: 397
Joined: Sun Apr 06, 2008 4:46 pm

Re: Static in my new earphones

Postposted on Mon Feb 03, 2014 8:52 am

The Egg wrote:First off, make sure the Microphone In and Line In are muted on your computer. Aside from that, I would test the headphones with several other sources to see if the same problem occurs. Let us know what you find.

Good advice on the Mic and Line inputs. He's already tested them on his iPod.

If muting unused inputs doesn't fix it, there are two options (in order of preference):

1. Discrete or external soundcard. Your onboard has issues.

2. If the headphones are sensitive enough that you are needing to run the volume in Windows really, really low, you may be able to reduce the noise to acceptable levels by getting an inline volume control, and using that to attenuate the signal from the PC to the headphones to the point where the noise is not (or at least barely) perceptible. Then raise the volume in Windows until you get a reasonable listening level.
(this space intentionally left blank)
just brew it!
Administrator
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 37503
Joined: Tue Aug 20, 2002 10:51 pm
Location: Somewhere, having a beer

Re: Static in my new earphones

Postposted on Mon Feb 03, 2014 10:39 am

SecretSquirrel wrote:Sorry, that's backward. Higher impedence==higher sensitivity to noise. And the difference between 16ohms and 32ohms isn't really going make a difference in that regard anyway. However it might be related to the difference in impedence.

I think you're wrong here. Higher input impedance means more resistance to current, and electrical noise (static) is basically just a random current created by electrons. Therefore, lower input impedance means higher sensitivity to noise.

Perhaps you were talking about output impedance? The rule of thumb when choosing input and output impedances for your setup is to have the input impedance be several times (8-10) the output impedance. This is the rule of thumb because you get better electrical dampening. Cutting the input impedance (headphones) in half would obviously cut the ratio in half.

On the topic of sensitivity, that measurement explains how many audio dB's are generated from 1mW (electrical) power supplied, and is not necessarily indicative of how much static makes it though to the phones. If the static jumps with the earbuds, it is more likely that something else is going on, adding and/or amplifying the noise.

kvndoom wrote:Maybe the upper-end frequency response of the old ones was so poor that they simply didn't reproduce the noise. :P

I know this was meant to be silly, but static noise is usually defined as having equal power across all frequencies, so a different upper-end response would not really change the noise content at the headphones.
Being an adult doesn't mean you have to know what you're doing. It just means you have to look like you know what you're doing.
superjawes
Graphmaster Gerbil
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 1029
Joined: Thu May 28, 2009 9:49 am

Re: Static in my new earphones

Postposted on Mon Feb 03, 2014 11:04 am

You could get a inexpensive USB sound solution or a dedicated sound card like the OEM Soundblaster Z that goes for around 59$ or a full fledged Soundblaster Z for 100-119$. Or a 40-50$ Asus Zonar DG for 30$ or a DGX for $40. I think the only difference is the DGX is PCIE and the DG is old style PCI.
2600k HT on@4705mhz 8gb Cas9 1600 mem 2x EVGA GTX770 4gb Classified cards in SLI @1320 mhz core and 2003 mhz mem,mounted in CM HAF922 with a TX-850 PSU 2xHTPC's 2xi3 2120 3.3ghz dual core,1xasus LP HD6570 1xHIS hd7750@1150core1325mem,55"PanyVT30
vargis14
Graphmaster Gerbil
 
Posts: 1112
Joined: Fri Aug 20, 2010 6:03 pm
Location: philly suburbs

Re: Static in my new earphones

Postposted on Mon Feb 03, 2014 11:16 am

superjawes wrote:
SecretSquirrel wrote:Sorry, that's backward. Higher impedence==higher sensitivity to noise. And the difference between 16ohms and 32ohms isn't really going make a difference in that regard anyway. However it might be related to the difference in impedence.

I think you're wrong here. Higher input impedance means more resistance to current, and electrical noise (static) is basically just a random current created by electrons. Therefore, lower input impedance means higher sensitivity to noise.

Not necessarily. High impedance headphones typically require higher voltage but lower current to produce a given sound level. Disregarding differences in headphone efficiency, sound level roughly correlates with power input, which is voltage x current. High voltage and low current, *or* low voltage and high current can both give you the same amount of power delivered to the load.

If the noise is due to EMI-induced voltage spikes in the motherboard traces or case wiring then high impedance headphones could very well be more sensitive to it, not less.

superjawes wrote:I know this was meant to be silly, but static noise is usually defined as having equal power across all frequencies, so a different upper-end response would not really change the noise content at the headphones.

You're confusing EMI with the general concept of "white" noise. They're not the same thing. The noise induced by EMI from other components isn't going to be white noise, it is going to have sharp peaks and dips at various frequencies, related to the switching speeds of the various digital circuits and voltage regulators.
(this space intentionally left blank)
just brew it!
Administrator
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 37503
Joined: Tue Aug 20, 2002 10:51 pm
Location: Somewhere, having a beer

Re: Static in my new earphones

Postposted on Mon Feb 03, 2014 11:27 pm

I'll hold to my statement that superjawes is wrong and am quite willing to dig out the math and equations to prove it. However, in this case it doesn't matter and I have a mea culpa. When I was reading the specs I read the JVCs as 103dB sensitivity and the SteelSeries as 110dB. This they are, however the SteelSeries are 110dB@1V and the the JVCs are 103dB at 1mW. Doing the conversion on the SteelSeries, using the driver impedence you get 95dB@1mW. The SteelSeries have 50mm drivers in them. The JVCs are going to be close to 8mm.

So lets assume that the static on the JVCs is something like 40dB (quite office background noise but due to the sealed nature of the ear buds, quite audible). On the SteelSeries that works out around 25dB or something below a whisper at 1 meter or so. Even more, because of the SteelSeries open back drivers, you will get more outside sound leakage that will hide any low level signal noise.

To the OP, figure out how to turn off the amplifier on your sound card or get an inline volume control. I had to do the latter for a set of earbuds I use in the office. Nothing wrong with your headphones other than they are sensitive sealed earbuds.

--SS
SecretSquirrel
Gerbil Jedi
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 1686
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2002 7:00 pm
Location: The Colony, TX (Dallas suburb)

Re: Static in my new earphones

Postposted on Tue Feb 04, 2014 6:24 am

What we don't know is the impedance of the soundcard's headphone output; if the impedance of the two headphones are different then the source impedance will also have a large effect on the amount of power transferred. And, as I previously mentioned, the efficiency of the drivers also factors in.

That said, I agree with you that superjawes' reason for stating that you were incorrect is itself incorrect.
(this space intentionally left blank)
just brew it!
Administrator
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 37503
Joined: Tue Aug 20, 2002 10:51 pm
Location: Somewhere, having a beer

Re: Static in my new earphones

Postposted on Tue Feb 04, 2014 8:31 am

just brew it! wrote:Not necessarily. High impedance headphones typically require higher voltage but lower current to produce a given sound level. Disregarding differences in headphone efficiency, sound level roughly correlates with power input, which is voltage x current. High voltage and low current, *or* low voltage and high current can both give you the same amount of power delivered to the load.

Implying that the output changes the voltage level depending on the load. If the source is changing its output voltage to drive the headphones (therefore delivering the same power), I would agree, but given the same voltage input, you will draw less power with higher impedance headphones.

If the noise is due to EMI-induced voltage spikes in the motherboard traces or case wiring then high impedance headphones could very well be more sensitive to it, not less.

Again, given the same voltage, more power will be delivered to the lower impedance headphones because they have less resistance to the resulting current.

Now when I think about this more, using "impedance" the way we are is a little sloppy. Impedance includes resistance, which is the only component that directly affects real power. However, it also includes inductance and capacitance, which have different responses to different frequencies.

If the higher impedance headphones are more inductive, they would react more to quick voltage spikes, and I would agree that they would be more sensitive to this noise. However, the input impedance from the specifications does not give us this inductive factor. And even then, there are electrical ways to handle voltage spikes, and the physical materials will also play a role in dampening such spikes.

Really, in order to make statements about how these EMI voltage spikes would affect the headphones, I think we need the impulse response or a step response, which is not given in either of the measurements we have (impedance and sensitivity).

You're confusing EMI with the general concept of "white" noise. They're not the same thing. The noise induced by EMI from other components isn't going to be white noise, it is going to have sharp peaks and dips at various frequencies, related to the switching speeds of the various digital circuits and voltage regulators.

Point. The OP described the noise as "static" which I immediately replaced with "white noise."
Being an adult doesn't mean you have to know what you're doing. It just means you have to look like you know what you're doing.
superjawes
Graphmaster Gerbil
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 1029
Joined: Thu May 28, 2009 9:49 am

Re: Static in my new earphones

Postposted on Tue Feb 04, 2014 9:10 am

superjawes wrote:
just brew it! wrote:Not necessarily. High impedance headphones typically require higher voltage but lower current to produce a given sound level. Disregarding differences in headphone efficiency, sound level roughly correlates with power input, which is voltage x current. High voltage and low current, *or* low voltage and high current can both give you the same amount of power delivered to the load.

Implying that the output changes the voltage level depending on the load. If the source is changing its output voltage to drive the headphones (therefore delivering the same power), I would agree, but given the same voltage input, you will draw less power with higher impedance headphones.

Not if the source has significant impedance of its own. This in turn depends on the design of the output stage of the soundcard, and whether "headphone mode" (available on many soundcards, including recent Realtek onboard chips) is enabled.

superjawes wrote:
If the noise is due to EMI-induced voltage spikes in the motherboard traces or case wiring then high impedance headphones could very well be more sensitive to it, not less.

Again, given the same voltage, more power will be delivered to the lower impedance headphones because they have less resistance to the resulting current.

And again, if the source has non-zero impedance, low impedance 'phones will cause the voltage to drop.

Furthermore, if the noise is being induced in the wiring post-amplification, the source of induced EMI would tend to appear as a pretty high impedance from the load's perspective. You're talking capacitive coupling through what is effectively a very small value capacitor, at audio frequencies.

superjawes wrote:Now when I think about this more, using "impedance" the way we are is a little sloppy. Impedance includes resistance, which is the only component that directly affects real power. However, it also includes inductance and capacitance, which have different responses to different frequencies.

If the higher impedance headphones are more inductive, they would react more to quick voltage spikes, and I would agree that they would be more sensitive to this noise. However, the input impedance from the specifications does not give us this inductive factor. And even then, there are electrical ways to handle voltage spikes, and the physical materials will also play a role in dampening such spikes.

Higher impedance 'phones will generally have voice coils with more turns of finer wire than lower impedance 'phones. Yes, there will be both resistive and inductive components to this. But in general, more turns means more inductance.

superjawes wrote:Really, in order to make statements about how these EMI voltage spikes would affect the headphones, I think we need the impulse response or a step response, which is not given in either of the measurements we have (impedance and sensitivity).

We would also need to know the frequency content of the noise itself, whether the noise is being induced upstream or downstream of the analog amplification stage(s), etc. -- lots of variables here.

But the point we've been trying to make is that you can't just assume that "higher impedance" means "less susceptible to noise". In many cases, the exact opposite will be true, for reasons which have already been stated. If we assume equally efficient headphones, and noise that is being induced in the wiring after the final amplification stage, I would expect the noise to be more noticeable on the higher impedance 'phones.

superjawes wrote:
You're confusing EMI with the general concept of "white" noise. They're not the same thing. The noise induced by EMI from other components isn't going to be white noise, it is going to have sharp peaks and dips at various frequencies, related to the switching speeds of the various digital circuits and voltage regulators.

Point. The OP described the noise as "static" which I immediately replaced with "white noise."

And further clarification from the OP would be helpful here.
(this space intentionally left blank)
just brew it!
Administrator
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 37503
Joined: Tue Aug 20, 2002 10:51 pm
Location: Somewhere, having a beer

Re: Static in my new earphones

Postposted on Tue Feb 04, 2014 9:24 am

To the OP: in an attempt to cut through the confusion:

1. Have you tried muting the Line In and Mic inputs?

2. Where do you need to set the master volume slider in Windows to get a comfortable listening level with the new headphones?

3. Does the volume of the static increase and decrease with the volume setting?

If the answer to #1 is "no", try that first.

If the answer to #2 is "near the bottom" and the answer to #3 is "no", get an inline volume control, turn the volume in Windows up, and reduce the volume to a comfortable level at the inline control.

Aside from that, maybe the new headphones are just better at reproducing high frequencies, making the static more noticeable. If this is the case, your only sensible option is to upgrade your soundcard.
(this space intentionally left blank)
just brew it!
Administrator
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 37503
Joined: Tue Aug 20, 2002 10:51 pm
Location: Somewhere, having a beer

Re: Static in my new earphones

Postposted on Tue Feb 04, 2014 9:35 am

And the point I'm ending at is that you can't just assume that "higher impedance" means "more sensitive to noise." Both the resistance and inductance are going to react to ANY imput you give them.

And as you point out, the source impedance also plays a role, but that, too, is an unknown. Without knowing what it is, it is difficult to draw any direct conclusion between impedance and noise sensitivity.
Being an adult doesn't mean you have to know what you're doing. It just means you have to look like you know what you're doing.
superjawes
Graphmaster Gerbil
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 1029
Joined: Thu May 28, 2009 9:49 am


Return to Echo Vale

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 12 guests