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Issue with monitoring on headphones

Discussion in 'Monitoring / Headphones' started by srs, Apr 4, 2006.

  1. srs

    srs Guest

    This is no doubt a function of my age, but I've begun to notice that I've lost a little hearing in my right ear. So, I'm running into trouble monitoring with headphones. I usually plug my phones directly into the deck that's getting the director's mix. I like to hear what he or she's going to hear on the CD that I will give them immediately after the performance. Now, the left is louder than the right, even though my meters show otherwise. Should I just get used to patching that director's mix out to a headphone amp, and adjust the l/r so that it sounds like it looks on the meters? I'm wondering if anyone else has or has had this problem. Hopefully I've explained this adequately. I'm old, but I'm not an old pro by any means--I've only been at this for a couple of years. I record choirs almost exclusively.

    Thanks for any advice.

  2. hughesmr

    hughesmr Guest

    Hi SRS,

    I sympathize with you. I recently developed some tinnitus in my left ear. It's a very soft high-pitched whine that is constant (not too bad), but there is a cricket-like buzz that gets triggered by external sounds across the mid-freq band. Piano tone and voice especially set it off. It's annoying but I guess I have to live with it ... and I'm only 42. I'm taking much greater care these days listening through cans and wearing ear protection in live situations.

    I guess if I were in your shoes, I would tend to prefer a simple stereo miking technique (ORTF, etc) that would likely by default provide good L/R balance on the fly over a multi-mic approach that would involve significant mixing and panning. Perhaps use a preamp that has precise channel gain matching (detented stops), too.

    Hang in there,
  3. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    SRS; I sympathize. You may want to get your hearing checked by a specialist ASAP, at least you'll know where you're at in terms of loss. (Then you could compensate with your monitoring system - at least for when YOU are listening through it.)

    I'd also suggest getting a colleague in that you can trust, and do some listening/testing with him/her as your reality check. You may find it's not that severe a problem, and even if it is, you may find a work-around.

    I have a little bit of 'hypersensitivity" to loud noise/sound moreso in my left ear than my right (a little tinitus, perhaps?) and I try to use it to my advantage. If my left ear is hurting from loud sound, it's already WAY too loud.

    I do occasional work with a colleague who's now in his late 60's/early 70's and he still does sound system installations and some quite remarkable stuff. A while back, I thought he was becoming rude and unresponsive to some idle conversation, only to find out that he's actually going deaf - and hiding it. We don't speak about it directly, but I know that he knows that I know that he's lost a considerable amount of hearing.

    When it's time for critical listening/testing on some of his installations, he literally 'hires" me to come in and act (discretely) as his ears. We present ourselves to the client/public as a team of colleauges, but anyone "in the know" would realize that he's doing the nuts and bolts of the system setup, while I am walking around and making suggestions for EQ and the like. (There have been actual times when he cannot hear some "ringing" of higher freqs, and again, I have learned to discretely show him what I'm talking about.)

    It's a damn shame this kind of thing has to happen at a time when most folks are able to really enjoy life - along with a little disposable income and grown kids. I'd tell anyone who wants to work in the music or sound business for the rest of their lives to take care of their hearing NOW, before any damage starts. It's insidious; exposure to loud sound is no joke, and once it's damaged, it does NOT come back.

    Be careful out there, people.
  4. mdemeyer

    mdemeyer Active Member


    Is the loss noticable in normal listening, or does it just seem to show up when you are using phones? Agree you should have your ears tested. Knowing the nature of the problem would be critical to proposing a solution.

  5. srs

    srs Guest

    It's just when I've got the phones on that I notice it. I did have my hearing evaluated about 10 years ago, and it was 20:20, or the hearing equivalent. I'm using Sennheiser HD280s. I'm not crazy about them, but they at least fit around my ear, unlike Sonys. I've thought about getting the Ultrasone 750s, but it's kind of an expensive experiment.
  6. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    I don't mean to be flip or rude, or belittle your situation, but I assume you HAVE already flipped the headphones, tried other devices, and even had a friend check them for you?

    No getting around it, you SHOULD get your hearing checked for references purpouses. We ALL should, actually.
  7. srs

    srs Guest

    No offense taken... Yes to all of your suggestions. I'm not desperately seeking a solution or anything, I'll adjust. And I'll of course get another hearing check. I didn't really make it clear in my initial post that I was concerned mostly about trusting level meters. BTW, my wanting a pair of Ultrasones is partly to stave off additional hearing loss, and partly "Gearus Acquirus."

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