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Question About Sound Output

Last response: in Components
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January 25, 2012 7:23:48 PM

So I bought headphones on amazon that were rated as being amazing, etc. (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000CMS0XU/ref=oh_o01_...)

Problem is I got them and they are so quiet. I mean, just regular audio level. Even with everything maxed out on my volumes, even my volume on VLC is at 200%. Its no louder than the cheapy headphones I had before.

One of the reviewers said they had it cranked up to109db in testing. In no way can these reach that high of volume. At least not on my PC.

So my question is, would getting a sound card make a difference? I'm currently just using the motherboard's built in sound card.

More about : question sound output

January 25, 2012 7:56:56 PM

109db would be like 10 times louder than a running lawn mower. If you beleived that you sure are gullable... LoL.
Headphones typically cant make your system any louder because they dont have an amp built in. There are some that do though.

Would a soundcard help? - Probably not. I think you need to find out if your system is abnormally low on volume. Compare your headphones on your system to that of a friends system or a pc at the library. Realize open air headphone will appear quieter or louder depending on the background noise level. If your system does seem to have lower sound levels than other systems then you may have a weak amp on your current soundcard or it may be a software setting. A soundcard would fix the hardware issue naturally.
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January 25, 2012 8:52:07 PM

Here is an inexpensive headphone booster amp (http://www.amazon.com/FiiO-E5-Headphone-Amplifier/dp/B0...). There are many Google headphone amp and you will see. Remember it will only make it louder not better. Also what MB are you using and what on board sound system does it use. You may be missing an adjustment you can make. The review said "reached 109db before distorting" not that they play at that level. Now about those HP. They have a 32 ohm impedance and were designed for Hi-Fi audiophile use. Those type of audio systems drive their HP outlets with headphone amplifier circuits. If you are going to use these and want louder levels get an amp.
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January 25, 2012 9:04:32 PM

Odd, impedance isn't THAT high; regular soundcards should be able to drive 32 Ohms without issue. That being said, without an amp, theres no reason for the headset to be any louder...
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January 25, 2012 9:25:21 PM

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...

that's the motherboard I have.

And yeah, I mean, Ive listened to headphones in the past on a friends PC that had potential to make a person go deaf accidentally if u werent careful and it was just random cheapy headphones.

It just kind of blows my mind that these headphones I just bought have such a limit on the volume especially when so expensive (and after so many good reviews). I just expected them to be loud and crazy but they are just normal volume. I cannot nearly reach the point where it's truly loud. I remember a PC I had ages ago that would allow the same old cheapy headphones I once had to be so loud I could here it multiple rooms away. so yeah, im beginning to think it has something to deal with my PC. I have a 1000watt PSU but maybe the MB has some sort of restriction...
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January 25, 2012 11:05:21 PM

Most drivers limit the volume to a fixed level to avoid hearing loss lawsuits. You'll find the same thing with things like mp3 players. My creative really kicked with alternate firmware.
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January 25, 2012 11:05:39 PM

So... does anyone know whats goin on? How do I get my headphones LOUD? ty
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January 26, 2012 12:34:33 AM

Hey "popatim". That's awesome! So what did you mean by "My creative"? Is this a program? Also what is the alternate firmware you use? Any reco's?
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January 26, 2012 1:20:16 AM

Still have normal audio levels. Whats the secret to high volume on headphones? Already have expensive headphones!
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January 26, 2012 3:13:32 AM

There is no trick. What you call chepo are HP made to be powered by the pc. The ones you bought were made to be powered by a high end audio system. Your pc does not have an audio amp. If you want more volume buy a HP booster amp or return the HP and get ones that require less power to run them. Your new HP cost more than your MB lol.
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January 26, 2012 3:52:10 AM

Yeah it's kinda ironic my HP cost more than my MB but still I thought it didn't mater.

So I need more power output it seems. Well back in the day I had a audio system consisting off an external amp like you would use for a TV but connected to my PC instead. It sadly seems thats the only way to go still till this day. =/ Was hoping you could just have a simple PC and not need a bunch of extra units. =(
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January 26, 2012 4:25:18 AM

Well I was really hoping there would be some sort of driver/program upgrade that would fix this. But it seems that the only way to make my expensive headphones rock is with a very expensive (thousand dollar++) computer. =(
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January 26, 2012 5:09:51 AM

ROFLMAO. So get this, I just threw my (new) headphones on a cheap ass mp3 player from several years ago that's beaten up and very old and they are at least three times as loud as on my PC at max volume. SO WHAT GIVES? =(

So obviously it has nothing to deal with technology. Just seems my PC is being gay and holding back my potential for these headphones! not just that but it even sounds WAY CLEARER on the piece of crap old mp3 player from ages ago. WHAT THE HECK?!?!
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January 26, 2012 5:20:53 AM

also- all drivers are up to date completely. well, i ordered a generic Asus sound card-- maybe that will fix the issue.

If not-- any other ideas?
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January 26, 2012 6:21:48 AM

You do not understand. The new HP are designed to work with audio devices like cd, mp3, tape (remember c assets) and similar devices. The sound chip does not have much in the way of an audio amp. A separate sound card may help. BTW if your speakers allow you to plug the HP into them try those jacks. I have amplified pc speakers that let me connect my headset to them. The headset then can use the amplification provided by the speakers.
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January 26, 2012 11:20:53 AM

Quote:
ROFLMAO. So get this, I just threw my (new) headphones on a cheap ass mp3 player from several years ago that's beaten up and very old and they are at least three times as loud as on my PC at max volume. SO WHAT GIVES? =(


Impedance.

There are two ways to get the same output volume [via the Power Law and Ohms Law]:

1: High current, low voltage, low impedance
2: Low current, high voltage, high impedance

Assuming the output voltage and current is the same, impedance becomes the determing factor on the output power [volume] that you get. Obviously, a 32Ohm headset will often have a lower maximum volume then a 2Ohm headset.

MP3 players and standard PC audio outputs have very low voltage outputs, to converse power. They compensate for this by having a higher current draw. As such, most cheap headphones have very low imedances [16Ohms or less], so large amounts of voltage is not needed to get high power out of them.

Your HPs headphones have a rating of 32Ohms. While not high impedance by any stretch [my new headset is rated at 250Ohms], this will result in a somewhat lower volume, especially on devices like MP3 players with VERY low voltage draw. An amp could help in this situation to a certian degree.
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January 26, 2012 1:21:01 PM

As far as I can tell it is 32 not 320 ohms but maybe I am in error. In any case you make a very good explanation of the science behind the issue. In short these HP will not play at the levels john wants if powered only by the MB because of the electrical design and matching of the two.
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January 26, 2012 2:43:58 PM

32 Ohms isn't THAT much, but again, getting a higher impedance headphone is more likely to slightly lower volume then anything. Should still be able to get it loud enough without an amp though...
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January 26, 2012 3:12:49 PM

Maybe he needs to turn up the volume in the games he plays. I have a "cheepo" headset at 32ohms and it is way to loud at other than very low settings. Let's check a few things. In your audio mixer what are the sliders set to? Are you sure a mute is not selected? Do the speakers play loud?
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January 27, 2012 12:16:03 AM

32 Ohms is still considered low impedance for headphones fwiw.

My Creative MP3 players stock firmware limited themax volume to protect my ears. I found alternative firmware which removed the restriction and allowed the unit to go to its true full volume. LOL - I was just looking for where I put that beast so I can take it to the gym with me instead of my phone.

I'm wondering how you have your sound setup? is it in stereo, 2.1, 5.1, 7.1... ? Drop it down to stereo speaker mode so that your headphone will be more than just background audio. If that doesnt work, set it to headphones and see what that does.
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January 29, 2012 6:00:46 AM

So it appears I have some weak-ass headphones, haha. Anyway, you all got some recommendation for me for ones more powerful? I need extreme output, cus when I'm in the element (gaming or otherwise) I need the music to be so loud my ears bleed. The louder the music the more it motivates me. I've yet to find headphones that were ever capable of being too loud. (sadly). Is it even possible? Or are there sound restrictions on cords or something?
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January 29, 2012 6:05:30 AM

Also one other note on the headphone recommendation:

I listen to alot of 90s and 80s rock (from Korn to Radiohead to The Smiths to Alice Cooper to Journey and Deftones n' Tool). Hope that gives you an idea of the wide range cus otherwise it'd take me all night to name every band. Anyway, just seeking some phones that cover these well.

Oh and also I listen to trance when in certain moods, so bass potential is absolutely vital. If I had any single complaint to give about the Audio Technica's that I bought (the ones I gave you all a link to), it would def be the bass (even over my complaint of the max volume potential!). When I listen to trance or the like on these, the bass is so weak it annoys me beyond all. So yeah bass is def important! Just as important as max volume (ohms?).
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January 29, 2012 5:07:10 PM

I suggest you purchase a small decent quality audio amplifier. Feed it the audio output from the PC and use it to power the HP and PC speakers. Here is my recommendation (http://www.crutchfield.com/p_772N22/Audioengine-N22.htm.... If you want Hi Fidelity by Hi Fidelity. With this item you can use the high quality HP you already own and up grade to high end PC speakers if you ever want to. Lastly you may find the bass is much improved when you use the HP's with an amplifier capable of reproducing the bass.
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February 2, 2012 10:25:50 PM

Just wanted to give an update: After adding in a generic 50$ Asus soundcard, the max volume improved by about 25%. So at this point, I am okay with the way things are.

Maybe in the future when I have an extra 200$ laying around I'll try out the amplifier DogSnake recommended. But for now, I will be satisfied with the the current setup.

Also, I do not recommend these headphones for anyone who likes rap or trance (there's barely any bass, even with the new sound card). They work great for rock though.
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