I think I know what the headphone gain does, or am I crazy

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I think I know what the headphone gain does, or am I crazy

Postby kanliot » 2019-01-15 20:54

I'm looking at the two sliders on the left. I thought I knew what they do.


Image

I was getting a tinny sound using headphones when the headphone slider was at 100%. So I lowered the headphone slider and now it sounds fine.

I think if you set the headphones to 100% it overdrives the speakers or something. Someone can explain this?


Code: Select all
In sound card application settings (Realtek HD Audio Manager):

Speakers and headphones settings:
    If your Realtek Audio solution has a dedicated headphone amplifier, it’s recommended that the soundcard output impedance(ohm) should be set lower than the headphones impedance.
Last edited by kanliot on 2019-01-15 21:08, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: I think I know what the headphone gain does, or am I cr

Postby Head_on_a_Stick » 2019-01-15 20:59

kanliot wrote:I think if you set the headphones to 100% it overdrives the speakers or something. Someone can explain this?

Your headphones probably have a lower than average input impedance and so are more easily over-driven.

Headphone impedance varies widely so it is tricky to normalise.
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Re: I think I know what the headphone gain does, or am I cr

Postby kevinthefixer » 2019-01-20 20:05

Gain controls have nothing to do with impedance, which is intrinsic to the hardware. Impedance should match between the card and headphones, or in some cases the headphones (or speakers) can be higher. If not, you will get distortion, especially at high gain (volume). Unfortunately audio equipment manufacturers no longer find it necessary to publish impedance specs so experimentation may well be necessary.
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Re: I think I know what the headphone gain does, or am I cr

Postby Head_on_a_Stick » 2019-01-20 20:17

kevinthefixer wrote:Gain controls have nothing to do with impedance

But if the headphone is of low impedance then they will be over-driven by a lower gain setting than headphones with a higher impedance, no?

The sensitivity of the headphones is the main determining factor but this is directly related to input impedance.
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Re: I think I know what the headphone gain does, or am I cr

Postby kevinthefixer » 2019-01-20 21:55

Head_on_a_Stick wrote:But if the headphone is of low impedance then they will be over-driven by a lower gain setting than headphones with a higher impedance, no?

The sensitivity of the headphones is the main determining factor but this is directly related to input impedance.

Quite true. My point is that the OP was complaining of "tinny" sound, indicating distortion of one sort or another, and this can be caused by impedance mismatch without overdriving the headphones. It may well be present but not easily noticeable at lower gain settings. So it may not be possible to make those 'phones sound good with that card without a matching transformer, and that would be hard to locate without the impedance specs of both devices.
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Re: I think I know what the headphone gain does, or am I cr

Postby bw123 » 2019-01-20 23:45

You're all crazy, gain and volume are two different things, and changing impedance won't improve those settings.
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Re: I think I know what the headphone gain does, or am I cr

Postby kevinthefixer » 2019-01-21 00:07

bw123 wrote:You're all crazy, gain and volume are two different things, and changing impedance won't improve those settings.

1) of course we're all crazy. We spend time here, right?
2) yes, gain and volume are two different things. Volume changes with gain proportionally.
3) I missed the spot where somebody said changing impedance would improve gain or volume settings.
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