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Is modular hard on your ears?
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Eurorack Modules Goto page 1, 2, 3  Next [all]
Author Is modular hard on your ears?
bobdylan
Sorry if there's already a thread about this, but I'm curious about everyone's experiences are with ear fatigue, tinnitus, etc?

A little bit about me, I play guitar, drums, loud things, and also engineer music for myself and others in the studio so I know about careful listening levels, ear protection and so on. But even when I think I'm being careful with the overall volume, I find my ears hurting after spending an hour or so with my rack. I mostly monitor in headphones at the moment but found the same results whether it be that or on speakers.

Does anyone else experience this? Is it the pure analog waveforms that are being produced? I find that my mutable elements is a major producer of super high pitched frequencies. The brightness knob is almost always fully CCW to avoid this.

If anyone has advice on what this could be coming from or how to minimize it I would love to hear it! I'm only beginning my modular journey but I take my ears very seriously and will ditch this whole effort if it becomes a problem.
boom blip
turn the volume down? run it through a limiter? as long as it isn't too loud you should be fine.
JakoGreyshire
Lots of people with tinnitus and tired ears here....


https://www.muffwiggler.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=147224&sid=47d5009cb c4f22094dd9447ade64c5df

https://www.muffwiggler.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=190817&sid=42cce41ac 5991fe1c64f6a1ec0246c53

I have my own healed tinnitus testimony...
It involves a complete change in living... Most people can't or won't want to hear it. No pun intended.. Most people just think that you have to get used to it...Or turn the volume down... You obviously know to turn the volume down.


I'm still working up the nerve to drop my theory/evidence. I need to come with solid facts for the stout muffonians as smart as they be.

First off do you have any ideas about how to negate fatigue? What is the root cause of fatigue in the body?

I'm not suggesting anything yet, but this is a good documentary that I'm currently watching.. There is more to ear fatigue than what this video is about..

If you are a generally happy person then don't watch it.. No need to go down the rabbit hole..


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FttrOK1ec4Q

Shit, I just can't seem to keep my mouth shut as it were..
LoFi Junglist
JakoGreyshire wrote:
First off do you have any ideas about how to negate fatigue? What is the root cause of fatigue in the body?


Yeah am searching for this answer atm.

I've started programming drums a way a dont normally, lots of repetition, and I think im getting fatigued. I know I'm making awkward screw faces and thats normally the time to stop...

But then what?

Listening to some fresh tunes, a new playlist etc, doesn't really help. Am I meant to just sit outside and listen to shitty derivative bird chirps? ugh.
Dr. Sketch-n-Etch
How about using studio monitors instead of cans? That might help. Things are always less loud for me when my ears can breathe.
bemushroomed
volume is far from the only issue, it's also important to rest your ears. i got tinnitus after playing around with distortion (which i love messing around with) on very low volume.

I've always been very afraid of getting tinnitus so i have never listed to high volume in headphones, always as low as i can go.. it did not help since i did not rest my ears well enough.

Tinnitus absolutely sucks, i got it over 10 years ago, i have not gotten used to it, the volume of it changes, sometimes its quite low sometimes i can still hear it even if i'm watching a movie. It's not something you can just ignore really.

Headphones are awful for your ears, i only use them in very rare cases, i have some special brand which supposedly are better for your ears (ultrasone) you can listen to lower dB and still hear like it was played much louder.
alexbarbed
I find digital oscillators make my tinnitus worse, and my half baked theory is that the constancy of their tone triggers it. I often put a slight LFO on the pitch of digital oscillators and that seems to help. I don't have the same problem with analogue oscillators... maybe it's all in my mind.

I do know that I can't hear much above 11kHz, and the tone I hear is also around 11kHz, so I generally avoid too much energy in that area.
2disbetter
Dr. Sketch-n-Etch wrote:
How about using studio monitors instead of cans? That might help. Things are always less loud for me when my ears can breathe.


I totally agree with this as do the laws of physics. Just sucks that most of my family members don't appreciate the sounds. Headphones become my only alternative.

2d
hawkfuzz
I'm currently saving for monitors so you get more air movement due to fatigue from wearing headphones for hours, but generally that's how the body works.

Turn down the volume and even though it won't be as pleasurable you'll be able to listen longer.
blizzt
JakoGreyshire wrote:
Lots of people with tinnitus and tired ears here....


https://www.muffwiggler.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=147224&sid=47d5009cb c4f22094dd9447ade64c5df

https://www.muffwiggler.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=190817&sid=42cce41ac 5991fe1c64f6a1ec0246c53

I have my own healed tinnitus testimony...
It involves a complete change in living... Most people can't or won't want to hear it. No pun intended.. Most people just think that you have to get used to it...Or turn the volume down... You obviously know to turn the volume down.


I'm still working up the nerve to drop my theory/evidence. I need to come with solid facts for the stout muffonians as smart as they be.

First off do you have any ideas about how to negate fatigue? What is the root cause of fatigue in the body?

I'm not suggesting anything yet, but this is a good documentary that I'm currently watching.. There is more to ear fatigue than what this video is about..

If you are a generally happy person then don't watch it.. No need to go down the rabbit hole..


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FttrOK1ec4Q

Shit, I just can't seem to keep my mouth shut as it were..


I'm curious about how you healed your own tinnitus. You said it implies in a change of living. Can you elaborate?
Nightly Closures
I try to avoid headphones for everything except mixing and setting up at a show (I don’t want the audience to hear anything until I actually start). I feel for all you wiggles suffering with hearing problems. I had noticeable ringing in my ears for years from all the loud shows I’d been to. I’m not sure if it’s gone away or I just learned to live with it.
wavedepletion
The other day I was messing with an oscillator for a while, and when I took my headphones off, everything I heard sounded like it was being filtered through the sweeping pitch of the oscillator. Speech, music, noises from outside, etc. Kinda like seeing residual spots of light after looking at a bright light source and then looking away, except with sound. It lasted for about 10-15 minutes and then faded.

It must have triggered some frequency that messed with my brain. I don't recall this ever happening before. seriously, i just don't get it

So yeah, modulars can definitely generate sounds that are outside the boundaries of normal healthy listening. Filtering, EQ, mixing, volume, rest periods, etc are all parts of a workflow to keep errant or damaging frequencies away from ears and speakers.
Dr. Sketch-n-Etch
wavedepletion wrote:
The other day I was messing with an oscillator for a while, and when I took my headphones off, everything I heard sounded like it was being filtered through the sweeping pitch of the oscillator. Speech, music, noises from outside, etc. Kinda like seeing residual spots of light after looking at a bright light source and then looking away, except with sound. It lasted for about 10-15 minutes and then faded.

It must have triggered some frequency that messed with my brain. I don't recall this ever happening before. seriously, i just don't get it

So yeah, modulars can definitely generate sounds that are outside the boundaries of normal healthy listening. Filtering, EQ, mixing, volume, rest periods, etc are all parts of a workflow to keep errant or damaging frequencies away from ears and speakers.


You, my friend, are playing with fire. Keep that up, and you'll be having lots of sleepless nights.
Huba-Swift
I'm stuck always using headphones due to one of my family members having missophonia. Which for those that don't know basically makes people prone to absolutely hating certain sounds, and also causes them to constantly be listening for those sounds. Unfortunately, synths fall in this category, so I can't even get away with low volume. Fortunately, I don't find that headphones cause any ear fatigue in my case. Unfortunately, I'm starting to get a bald spot across my hair were the headphone band sits, and I'm only 17... Luckily, I'm almost always wearing headphones to cover it up with hihi
Paranormal Patroler
Misophonia. What else will the human mind come up with!
unexpectedbowtie
I think that modular can be more fatiguing on the ears if you are leaving an oscillator to sound a constant pitch whilst setting up sequencers/tuners etc. Aside from that, I haven't noticed it to be any more fatiguing than any other music composition/production.
JakoGreyshire
blizzt wrote:
JakoGreyshire wrote:
snip

I have my own healed tinnitus testimony...
It involves a complete change in living... Most people can't or won't want to hear it. No pun intended.. Most people just think that you have to get used to it...Or turn the volume down... snip


I'm curious about how you healed your own tinnitus. You said it implies in a change of living. Can you elaborate?


Yes. I can and will elaborate. I want to do it some justice though. I was thinking of the long or the short story.... In the end I've decided to lay it all out there. One can take it or leave it. I'm gathering some good info together with real world facts for backing it up. I have some free time on Monday so that is when I'll start my elaboration. It will be a long posting.

I'm not sure whether to start a new post or to post here. Then, without re-posting all the info, just make small posts linking to the info in all the other posts about Tinnitus and health. It is something worth knowing about... Like I said before I want all the wigglers to be happy and healthy so we can all keep wiggling.

Any thoughts from the moderators about where to post or if a new post would be better?

I'll give it some thought...

Jako
Dcramer
^yes please elaborate for us. thumbs up
Tropic Al
alexbarbed wrote:
I find digital oscillators make my tinnitus worse, and my half baked theory is that the constancy of their tone triggers it. I often put a slight LFO on the pitch of digital oscillators and that seems to help. I don't have the same problem with analogue oscillators... maybe it's all in my mind.

I do know that I can't hear much above 11kHz, and the tone I hear is also around 11kHz, so I generally avoid too much energy in that area.


For me digital modules like Elements and Rings can sound pretty bright and sharp a lot of time.
That's not to say that they can't be processed with a nice analog filter etc. to warm them up, but most of the sound from them generally goes in the direction of being sharp. I sold both because even putting them through analog filters I didn't really like that sound, couldn't put my finger on it exactly but just a feeling of being uncomfortable and endless tweaking to try and get them to sound right.
I do prefer the sound of analog over digital for most things though, I so wanted to buy a Morpheus but after spending several hours in 5G trying it out I opted for the Evolution instead.
I think that anything that is overly bright whilst at the same time being sharp is probably what is killing your ears.
Try routing your modular output through a tape recorder of some kind (making sure you are listening to the sound coming off tape) it will probably help smile
Bartimaeus
Set the volume as low as you can and take frequent breaks. The breaks will help your creativity too.
feedbackl00p
Paranormal Patroler wrote:
Misophonia. What else will the human mind come up with!


Misophonia sufferers have a brain abonormality, its not a condition of the mind, although it is modulated by anxiety.

http://www.ncl.ac.uk/press/news/2017/02/misophonia/
suboptimal
Using monitors I typically run into issues of creative fatigue long before my ears give in. But with headphones I can't go for more than 15 minutes. The frequency range of modular is extreme, not to mention the potential level spikes.

I have an infant in the house right now, so I'm forced to be quiet at night. I've learned to never use headphones, which means I don't turn on the modular. Sucks. It was like this with my first kid, too.
Funky40
harsh highs ?

ah look:
bobdylan wrote:
I find that my mutable elements is a major producer of super high pitched frequencies.

i found my modular to spit out VERY harsh highs !
for me the real problem are the sometimes supersharp attacks & (digital) High freqs.


i´d say ( i never donne), add a LP Filter at the end of the signal chain. a 6db probably........AND a Limiter ??
( i even think i asked once the same question and the 6db roll off was the answer i got ).

learn how to avoid those VERY attacky highs
karmadelic
I can't even imagine trying to listen to my modular on headphones. To me it's an organic instrument that needs air to breath, almost like an acoustic guitar.

I never listen too loud for too long, and take many breaks.
Breaks are the best remedy against fatigue and creative blocks.
Everything sounds fresh and different after a break, and new ideas come as natural.
starthief
I use headphones for nearly all my music creation. Perhaps it's the levels I keep everything at, or something about going through an audio interface and a DAW, but I just don't find it fatiguing.

Live shows are much, much more likely to get to me after an hour or so and make me want a break or to just go home even if I'm really into the music.

Also I find sustained sawtooth waves at some frequencies irritating if the high end isn't rolled off some -- a lot of filter demos bug the hell out of me. But it's different from ear fatigue, it's just an annoying sensation.
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