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The dangers of wiggling with headphones
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Modular Synth General Discussion Goto page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5  Next [all]
Author The dangers of wiggling with headphones
sygor
As I public service announcement, I thought I'd remind everyone of the dangers of wiggling with headphones. I was patching while monitoring through headphones just now and started hearing a strange, almost metallic white noise in one ear. I was confused and started trying to figure out where the noise came from, unplugging patch cables one at a time but it kept going. Finally I took my headphones off and realised it was my ear ringing! zombie

I always have my synth pretty quiet while using headphones but often end with really weird, altered hearing perception afterwards. I'm gonna stick to using speakers from now on, I'm sure my flatmate and neighbours will learn to love it! thumbs up
mousegarden
Don't do it ! No, not at all, in any way whatsoever, totally......no headphones !
It's just dangerous, the extreme frequencies of a modular are really bad news for your ears on headphones. I only use phones for checking and troubleshooting, even then, I have the volume barely turned up, just audible.
Seriously folks, value your ears, don't use phones unless you really have to, and even then, at a really low volume. I'm passionate about this simply because I abused my hearing when I was young, and know the damage that can be caused, I suffered from really bad tinnitus for a while, that's no joke, it can affect your whole life, luckily it's subsided over the years, but it really scared me to death.

woah
melodydad
Other danger include:

Not hearing the doorbell when expecting a delivery of That New Module (a regular occurence and an occupational hazard) hihi

I am sure that there are others . . . .
Themaybemachine
Headphones/ earbuds are one of the biggest causes of hearing loss. People don't perceive how loud they are blasting these noises into their ears. You don't feel the bass, so you put it louder and louder until your ears get tired and you put it even louder. The best advice I can give is to stop putting it louder. When you stop hearing clearly you (and your ears) need a break.

You should not mix/make music above 85-90dBA. ( alot of people don't have dB-meters, 90dBA is about the point you have to start raising your voice to understand eachother). I rarely go above 100dB and that's just for checking quick check (3-5min max) for the subbass/bass end of a mix or sound design.
When your mix sound great on normal level it will blast at loud level. If your mix sounds good at really loud level it will lose all it's energy at normal level.

Af few more tips:
Learn to mix/produce always on the same level.
Train your ears/keep your focus and you wont touch the volume knob as much.
When everything starts losing it's power/impact take a break.
Do not constantly listen to music when you are not making it.(expl: listening to headphones on the train/bus or while walking, this is a hard one for me)
Get professional ear-protection for going to live performances.
Avoid headphones if possible, and if you have to use them. Search for the point where they are the same level as you speakers at 85-90 dbA. Remember that knob position and try to never go higher.

That's standard sound engineering practices. The problem is listening straight to a modular it is such a dynamic source of sound, it can get really loud really quickly. Putting a limiter or compressor in between can help.

It's very important to be carefull, most hearing damage is permanent
Dead Banana
mousegarden
melodydad wrote:
Other danger include:

Not hearing the doorbell when expecting a delivery of That New Module (a regular occurence and an occupational hazard) hihi

I am sure that there are others . . . .


Yes, not hearing the phone ring when it's one of my numerous beautiful and glamourous girlfriends ringing.... lol
leeski
hihi hihi
stk
I pretty much avoid headphones whenever possible these days.
I spent two years making music on them almost exclusively due to household logistics, and I feel I am only now recovering (1.5 years later, and with a real studio again), although I know that permanent damage has likely been done.

Plus, it is almost impossible to get a really good mix on cans, although I do feel for those whose living arrangements require silent jamming, been there, it's a drag.
geremyf
WMD pro output limits the max headphone output to -10dBV. Sounds really nice too. It can be defeated with jumpers on the back of the module but I haven't even thought about it.
h4ndcrafted
This is your brain on modular, don't do it.
Srsly, I would never headphone on modular, it clearly wouldn't need safe.
r05c03
Not even through a mixing desk? If so, I may as well sell all my things. I have no monitors…only headphones.
jkjelec
Themaybemachine's advice is good; especially the part about having a limiter on the signal prior to or in the headphone amplifier. At least that way there will be no unpleasant surprises while patching or knob turning.
tIB
Im on headphones 99% of the time- buy a decent pair of headphones and keep the volume in check and all is well. Just because you can go loud doesnt mean you have to.
Robscorch
I've never had issues with headphones, but I don't crank it up whatsoever and I use a limiter when going modular. Also I like to mix at lower volumes, but not everyone has the ears for this, and mixing loud just leads to everything being louder than everything else.
dumbledog
I'm stuck using headphones, but through an audio interface and DAW so I can a) use a headphone calibration VST (Sonarworks), b) a freakin' limiter, and c) always be recordin', so that's that.
Villarceau
I have Beyerdynamic DT-770s with an inbuilt limiter. Feels safer and prevents anything harmful. It is not a panacea of course.
Swann
If you're concerned about rogue frequencies you can always run your signal through some gear or your DAW and apply some limiting as well as LPF and HPF filtering at 20-30Hz and at 20KHZ we don't hear much outside that anyways.

One of the most important tips that the producers with longevity don't always share is GIVE YOUR EARS A BREAK! This is critical in allowing the Hair cells in your Epithelium to recover. They get exhausted and can be damaged if not rested! A really good example of this is when you leave work at the end of a long noisy day and have the radio on. You get in the car in the morning and turn the key and BOOM! the damn radio is blaring! That type of resting benefit works just like sleep, if you have too much debt you get damage. So take micro breaks when you are working on music, it has both health and creative benefits!

Also, use earplugs when you have it all cranked. Losing 10-15db of high end for a rehearsal, someone else's show and such is not a big deal! Save your ears for the critical work.
catchin
I do it all of the time. Word of advice keep db low. If you're not hearing frequencies you want do NOT boost volume levels. Adjust accordingly with EQ or mixer track level, but keep the main low.

"The permissible time for safe listening decreases as sound levels increase...The daily recommended safe volume level of any sound is below 85 dB for a maximum duration of eight hours." - World Health Organization
peripatitis
Headphones are perfectly fine! Just use open-back ones so you can judge how loud is what you are listening to...
downpour
dumbledog wrote:
I'm stuck using headphones, but through an audio interface and DAW so I can a) use a headphone calibration VST (Sonarworks), b) a freakin' limiter, and c) always be recordin', so that's that.


This is my setup too. Are people taking raw modular signal straight into headphones?
StringEmil
This doesn't directly relate to modular, but for those who go to concerts/play in bands - get custom molded earplugs with replacable filters.
Seriously, it is probably the best purchase I have made.

Also on a side note: How are you guys liking the Sonarworks calibration? Are you using the headphone or monitor verions?
Feel free to PM me if it is too off topic for the thread thumbs up
Smais
downpour wrote:
dumbledog wrote:
I'm stuck using headphones, but through an audio interface and DAW so I can a) use a headphone calibration VST (Sonarworks), b) a freakin' limiter, and c) always be recordin', so that's that.


This is my setup too. Are people taking raw modular signal straight into headphones?


I often listen straight out of the modular into headphones (i use headphone 90% of the time). I use a Pittsburg Outs module though, which has a big voume knobs i tend to keep a hand on just in case. Only had a couple of loud scares so far but nothing too serious.
Blairio
I use a mix of monitors / headphones, depending on the time of day. If I don't want to wake the household at night then its 'phones time.

You lose a fair bit on phones though, in terms of stereo soundstage and accurately applying reverb and other effects.

Focusrite came up with a neat solution - the VRM box. This is a hardware interface and some software that models different types of monitors / listening environments and gives you a sense of what your music would sound like on speakers - even though you are listening on 'phones.

One last thought on 'phones - you can buy an accurate pair of 'phones for a lot less than an accurate pair of speakers, and 'phones aren't influenced by the acoustic of the room you are listening in. Just don't use them too loud!

edited - to fix lousy spelling ...
Smokey
Some great suggestions in this thread. I wish I would have known more about the damage headphones could cause earlier...

I didn't really notice the ringing in my ears until I moved out of the city to the quiet desert. I went crazy for a few months hearing things that weren't there. I'd go up into the attic at night just to check if there was a dripping or leak somewhere. It actually caused me to have a bit of a nervous breakdown... but then I realized that my new environment was so quiet that I could hear physiological functions of my body! I could actually hear the blood rushing in my ears.

Now, I gotta be very careful with headphones and volume levels or else I'll drive myself crazy again (crazier?).

Protect ya ears thumbs up
mousegarden
This whole issue about headphones, live music, is serious, people don't realise how easy it is to damage their ears, and sometimes, that "short burst" of accidental loud sound can be all that's needed to cause permanent damage.
Also, people who play in bands, or do FOH sound on a regiular basis have to wear some sort of ear protection, as you will end up with a serious hearing loss in no time at all if you don't. The trouble is, myself included, hearing protectors do tend to create a sort of isolation from your environment, and it's also difficult to judge subtle things like effects when live using ear protectors, that's why they are often shunned by most people unfortunately. But, I was at a pub the other night, and a metal band was playing, I can honestly say that if I was exposed to the type of levels they were playing at every night, I would have a serious hearing loss in no time at all. We had to leave the pub it was so loud, my ears were actually compressing and shutting down, it was awful. I meet people from this world that go on about the fact that they never use anything but 24/96 to record with, and they must have the best pre-amps etc, well, TBQH, an 8 bit 14/24 recording would be more than good enough for these people probably, given the state of their ears, they probably can't hear 5k.
In the 70's I used to sit inside bass bins at concerts, and loud was cool, the louder the better, it was the days of Deep Purple, Atomic Rooster, Hawkwind etc etc etc, I saw them all, the result is that now I have really bad tinnitus, it's like a whole world of abstract noise going on inside my head. When it first started I couldn't sleep, I couldn't concentrate on anything, it was terrible. It's gradually subsided over time, simply because I think you get used to it, but it's still there and the more stressed out I get the worse it gets. I had acupuncture for a while and changed my diet, and generally improved my health, and the tinnitus responded positively, since then it's been tolerable, but it's still there, and still bugs me in certain situations. Take care of your ears folks, they are the portal of all that we love, music, recording etc.
alternating.bit
Not all of us have a choice.

I live in a condo with thin walls; guy above me complains if I play any music, etc. So I LIVE with headphones on. I walk around the place with headphones plugged into a portable, I watch movies with headphones on, and I certainly compose, sorry, "wiggle" with headphones on.
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