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Author Topic: Headphones: One type better than another for Utility/Number Station Monitoring?  (Read 4236 times)

Offline K5KNT

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I have been doing some research into headphones for my iPod, and it seems that the audiophiles think that you should choose headphones based on the type of music you listen to. For example, they say what might sound good for rock music may not sound good with classical.

Do you who use headphones have a set dedicated to this type of listening or can you recommend what you are using?  For this type of listening, would cheap computer gaming headphones work as well as more expensive music headphones?

Thanks,

Kent
K5KNT
Grand Forks, ND, USA

Offline taschenrechner

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I dunno about any of the actual specs and such, but I far prefer big, old, stereo headphones that cover your entire ear. It really helps to isolate environmental noises. At least for me, it does.

Offline Lex

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Several years ago Passport recommended the cheap Radio Shack Nova 34 headphones.  These are lightweight on-ear types with foam, like bargain basement Sennheisers.  Apparently the author found the lo-fi frequency response perfect for AM MW and shortwave listening.  I grabbed a set of Nova 34's from the outlet store almost 20 years ago.  He was right - they're just about perfect.  My better quality stereo headphones are too hissy and tiresome for long periods of shortwave radio listening, especially on sideband.

The Nova 34's are long gone - mine are barely held together with tape now - but any set of lo-fi headphones or earphones should do as well.
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Offline Rafman

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I have yet to find a better set of comms headphones that the Yaesu YH-55's I bought from Gilfer Shortwave [when they were still in business]

However, I have found a set of behind the head Plantronics that come very close for monitoring. While they do have a microphone, it can easily be swung out of the way. They are very lightweight & rather comfortable & they have a 3.5mm plug vs. a 1/4 mono on YH55s... Audio response seems almost perfect for SSB, etc too!

I will dig up the model number when I get back into my radio room.

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Offline BoomboxDX

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I use a set of Radio Shack lightweight stereo headphones I got in the early 1990's.  They have a pretty flat response, and an in-line volume control.  Don't know which model they are.  They seem to work the best.  They have adequate bass for enjoyable MW and SW listening, but enough mids and highs to allow for IDing stations when needed.

My other set is the Sony lightweight headphones that came with the Sony SRF-59.  They are also good sounding, but they have a more 'scooped' response (along with a bit more bass), and I've found them not as good for DXing.
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Offline curious george

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For shortwave radio listening/DXing, I recommend you get a pair of aviation type headphones, which are specifically designed to hear voice audio.  Why invest in high fidelity headphones, when all they're going to do is pass more static and static crashes to your ears?

I use Telex Airman 760's, as these are one of the cheaper aviation headphone options.  They're open air style, and are very lightweight and comfortable.  Frequency response is 100-3000 Hz, which is terrible for an iPod, but perfect for shortwave.  (The 760's are exactly the same as the 750's, without a microphone).  Even though they list for something like $99, I've bought two pairs on Ebay, once for $19.95, and another for $1.25.

http://www.telex.com/us/aviation/file?i=97126&lg=eng

Offline K5KNT

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Thanks for all the replies. I'll look into some of the suggestions.

Kent
K5KNT
Grand Forks, ND, USA

Offline BoomboxDX

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For shortwave radio listening/DXing, I recommend you get a pair of aviation type headphones, which are specifically designed to hear voice audio.  Why invest in high fidelity headphones, when all they're going to do is pass more static and static crashes to your ears?


My own answer to that would be summed up in two words: "Listener's fatigue".  Hearing nothing but crackly midrange for an hour or two can be fatiguing to the ears.  I tune the ham bands a lot, where there is only CW or SSB, and when I need to reduce the frequency response I just use the tone controls and narrow / wide filter on my radio.  
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The usual Realistic culprits on SW (and a Panasonic).

Offline Rafman

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I mentioned finding inexpensive Plantronics, well turns out they are on sale for $9.99 today. They are Plantronics 645s that seem very reasonable on voice comms if you can use behind the ear... I kind of like mine...

http://www.rakuten.com/prod/plantronics-audio-645-usb-behind-the-head-headset-bulk-packaging/242320422.html

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Offline bodr1

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When I was getting ready to tackle a morse code course on cd I used it as an excuse to buy another set of phones...
I ended up buying the Audio Technica ATH M35.. They are very reasonably priced studio monitors with a flat frequency response.
One of the best sets of phones I have. First off they were great for doing the code course and comfortable enough to wear for long
periods of time. When listening to music I was amazed at all the nuances I was able to hear that I was not picking up with a expensive
pair of Skullcandy phones. I ended up buying the ATH M50's and could not be happier.. I believe CNET has video reviews of Audio Technica's
headphones on their site.. :)

Online refmo

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I have tried using my Turtle Beach PX5 gaming headphones with my radio.  The headphones have various filtering/EQ settings that can be advantageous in video games (such as emphasizing the foot steps of someone sneaking up on you), but using them with the radio, most of the settings seem to emphasize noise.  A few settings help some, but I can usually get better results just using a graphic EQ or by tweaking the radio's built-in filters.  The headphones have flat settings too (X-FM sounds great through them).
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Offline RCCI

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Re: Headphones: Try the Telex Airman Aviation 760 - Wow!
« Reply #12 on: September 04, 2013, 0140 UTC »
The Telex Airman 760 Aviation Headphones /   Could this be a long-lost-hidden shortwave listening secret?  

  I don't normally get too worked up about shortwave products, as my strict budget holds the restraints. But I have to absolutely echo what curious_george said about these headphones and need to add my own thoughts. I found a farly new pair on Ebay about 4 weeks ago for $24.95 and bought them. Surprisingly, this model is not listed on EHAM. That's a shame.  ---- Over the years I have used Sennheiser, Koss, Sony, Radio Shack, Lafayette Radio, ear buds, alltogether about 10 different models---price ranging from $16.00 (ear buds(, to $175 (for the Sennheiser.) Other prices in-between. Some sounded fair, others, terrible. It seemed that we are always on the ever elusive search for the "perfect" headset. 

None, and I mean none come even remotely close to this Telex headset. They really cut down on the ambient background static and hiss. The static, while there, is reduced in harshness, and are a bit nulled out. SSB is very pronounced in clarity. With the other models I've used the voice sounds seemed distant, as though the OP was 10-15 feet away talking in a higher voice, (even with tone set down). With the tellex, the voice is so clear, it is as though the operator was sitting next to you, 2-3 feet away. It's kind of hard to explain. The voice sounds more natural and clear. I've actually heard a HAM OP breathing when talking--the other headphones missed it completely.

With the other headsets including Hi-Fidelity it's as though listening to a voice transmission only fills up 40% to 60% of your ear, whereas these give you 90 to 95%. I guess that's the best way to describe them.
I do still have all of my other headphones (except the Lafayette) , (pack rat that I am) and did side-by-side comparisons with all, jumping back and forth. Nothing touched it. No other even came close to the 760.

There was one crtique on this board regarding the frequency range. 100 - 3000 Hz range. The person stated that they did not want to listen to just "crackly" midrange for hours to possible ear fatigue. Sorry...these headphones are not like that one bit. Truly... hearing is believing.

When DXing for Pirates do you really need the higher frequencies? Remember the music your listening to is not as clear as if you were listening to an ITune pod or a CD player. This is especially true if the music is coming in on USB. Hi-Fidelity headphones are OK, but headphons for communications really do make a difference.

I've also picked up DX pirates on this set, that were barely discernable or could not even hear with a few of the other sets.

I've always been a bit fussy with earphones, and am sure you all have favorites. Prices for radio filters, more bells and whistles on various radio sets, sometimes keep us from moving past the "standard factory model"---However, a good pair of headphones to me, is really an extension of your radio set. The 760's  are light (3 ounces) open design, so sweaty / hot ears are not a problem.

If you ever have a chance to beg, borrow or steal  (even buy) one of these bad boys, I really don't think your going to regret it. They come along on Ebay rather frequently much more cheaply than the 89-99 dollar list price. If anyone else uses these phones, or buys a pair,  I'd love to hear your remarks here or in an email! ...Steve
« Last Edit: September 08, 2013, 0127 UTC by RCCI - Radio Comedy Club International »
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