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Author Topic: Suggestoins on headphones for listening  (Read 847 times)

Offline Antennae

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Suggestoins on headphones for listening
« on: June 04, 2024, 1806 UTC »
Let me know if there is a better forum to post this question in.

I'm looking for headphones for listening to ham radio operators.  I read somewhere that fancy speakers that have a wide range like 20 Hz to 20 kHz aren't necessarily good for listening because you're only listening to the SSB range of 100 Hz to 2.5 Hz.  So the fancy speakers might pick up stuff you don't want to hear. 

Does anybody agree with this or have experience? 
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Offline BoomboxDX

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Re: Suggestoins on headphones for listening
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2024, 0425 UTC »
In my view use a good set of high fidelity headphones, and narrow the audio (if desired) using the controls on the radio or SDR. "Communications" style headphones that were popular in the 1960's and 70's (which accentuated a narrower band of frequencies) can be very midrangy and just give you listener's fatigue.
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Offline ThaDood

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Re: Suggestoins on headphones for listening? Depends, but...
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2024, 1617 UTC »
For me, I am using original AKG #K240 headphones, commonly used buy Baby Boomers in broadcasting time-line period. On a robust Kenwood transceivers, they really bring out great broadcast-quality audio that some AM'er have, as well as ESSB'ers. That's my personal favorite headphones. I also have the Sony studio-standard-like headphones, more prone to what Gen X DJ's used.  Anyway, more folks' picks of headphone ratings, here.  https://www.eham.net/reviews/view-category?id=9
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Offline BoomboxDX

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Re: Suggestoins on headphones for listening? Depends, but...
« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2024, 0100 UTC »
For me, I am using original AKG #K240 headphones, commonly used buy Baby Boomers in broadcasting time-line period. On a robust Kenwood transceivers, they really bring out great broadcast-quality audio that some AM'er have, as well as ESSB'ers. That's my personal favorite headphones. I also have the Sony studio-standard-like headphones, more prone to what Gen X DJ's used.  Anyway, more folks' picks of headphone ratings, here.  https://www.eham.net/reviews/view-category?id=9

Yeah, those Sonys are good headphones. Sony also has a $25 version that are just as good as the famous MDR-7506's.
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Offline Antennae

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Re: Suggestoins on headphones for listening
« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2024, 1450 UTC »
Thanks, thats what I was thinking. The receiver has filters and doesnt sent audio frequencies that are out of range.  I got a pair of fancy earphones and what I did notice is noise inherent in the receiver.  I dont hear it with other earphones but I hear it with these. 
I just discovered turning off the AGC and using the gain knob to barely hear whats above the noise floor.  It works best when I use ear protection over earbuds .  That way the refrigerator sound doesnt interfere.  But then my internal bodily sounds can interfere like breathing or clenching my teeth and my jaw. Its pretty fun to get all quiet and use my listening like that. 
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Offline RobRich

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Re: Suggestoins on headphones for listening
« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2024, 2302 UTC »
Kenwood HS-5 headphones are highly rated and designed specially for voice comms listening. They are mono audio, have an 150-4000Hz frequency response, and low 8-ohm impedance for easy driving. The design is time tested as they have been in production for decades now.

https://www.eham.net/reviews/view-product?id=1075

Do note the HS-5 is an open-air design, so that might be concern if you are seeking improved sound isolation.



I find Panasonic ErgoFit wired earphones at ~$10 to suffice for my typical shortwave listening, plus even everyday music sounds decent enough for casual listening IMHO. Also they come with three sizes of eartips, so you can better tweak fit and sound isolation.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B003EM8008

Admittedly I like my Etymotic ER3SE balanced armature IEMs (using foam eartips) as well, but somewhat delicate $150+ earphones are kind of ridiculous for shortwave listening IMHO. I am unlikely to ever take them with a portable radio to a beach, park, etc. Also they for designed for a perceptibly flat frequency response curve, which admittedly some people do not actually like for ear/headphone listening.

https://www.etymotic.com/product/er3se-earphones/



Regardless if ear/headphones or speakers, I sometimes use software audio DSPs like EasyEffects and StereoTool for additional equalization, pass filtering, noise filtering, etc.

There are also standalone filters designed specially for CW and voice comms listening. Some are basic, even analog solutions for as simple as additional pass filtering. More complex digital DSP solutions might include pass filtering, noise reduction, etc. I still have a couple of old Timewave DSP-9 digital filters that I often used for SSB listening with my Kenwood desktop receivers. bhi Ltd and West Mountain come to mind for more modern DSP offerings.
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Re: Suggestoins on headphones for listening
« Reply #6 on: June 06, 2024, 2355 UTC »
I have to disagree with:

Quote
the fancy speakers might pick up stuff you don't want to hear

The headphones will only reproduce the audio spectrum fed into them from the audio source. If the radio only has 2.3 kHz of bandwidth, that is all you are going to get.

Headphones tailored for radio communication may improve what you hear as the acoustic characteristics of the speaker and enclosure are designed to enhance that portion of the audio as opposed to ones that have a linear characteristic and designed for listening music.

I use Sennheiser HD 545 headphones.

Offline RobRich

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Re: Suggestoins on headphones for listening
« Reply #7 on: June 09, 2024, 0318 UTC »
Sadly we can also get an increased noise floor and hiss, including both well beyond the desired frequency ranges, from the audio stages of whatever connected devices. Cheap opamps, cheap caps with lose tolerances, etc. are far too common; sometimes even in pricey gear. Good headphones or speakers can bring more attention to such issues.

My previously-mentioned Etymotic ER3SE IEMs can occasionally point out audio source issues with connected devices. Thankfully I have an old first-gen FiiO E10K DAC/amp available at least for computer-based listening.

Speaking of actual headphones, I like my old Monoprice Stage Right reference headphones for shortwave listening. Closed-back design with moderate isolation. Decent mids (IMO) without a huge bass bump in the frequency curve. On the downside they are discontinued. Mine get plenty of use here. My pair is needing new pads right now.
« Last Edit: June 09, 2024, 0324 UTC by RobRich »
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Re: Suggestoins on headphones for listening
« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2024, 1628 UTC »
I use the Kenwood HS5's and have used the same pair for decades ... they came with 2 slightly different sets of pads, the fabric covered set perished a long time ago (they were my fav.) but the other set are still going strong.

The headphones are still available but replacement pads aren't (not in the UK, anyway) however if you google replacement HS5 pads there are lots of suggestions.

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