How headphones make bass

December 6, 2021
 by Paul McGowan

11 comments on “How headphones make bass”

  1. I was listening to Cuba Nova by Marc Antoine this morning.
    The bass notes in that track, drove my 15 inch Tiphiny woofers below 10HZ.
    I wondered for a breef moment, “wow man!
    How is this track making my speakers do this?”
    I still don’t know the answer to this question!
    All I know is, I heard it!

  2. Shure has a cool method for creating superb bass in their IEMs; 10 welded ultra thin stainless steel plates with laser cut channels sandwiched together that form a 4 inch acoustic pathway and low pass filter with no electrical components needed. Pretty impressive indeed. The SE846’s were the gateway drug that got me into high end headphones. Two planar pairs, one closed back pair, one open back pair, a DAC and a headphone amp later..

    But now I’m done.
    Right Fatrat?
    Done… DONE!
    Riiiight.
    And I’m only gonna have ONE beer.
    Audiogeeks are WEAK!

    If you’re interested, (in order of my preference) Audeze LCD MX-4, Fostex TH900 MK2 Focal Clear MG which are all magnificent, but the Hifiman Arya beats them all out and IMO by a substantial margin. (Through an RME ADI2 FS DAC & Audio-GD Master 19 Headphone Amplifier) I had the LCD-X but got a steal-uva-deal to up to the MX-4. The MX-4 is significantly better but I can’t say $1800 better… But I can certainly see why the Audeze are a go-to for studio standard.
    I will recommend the RME if you’re a fanatical tweaker – you can have settings – a different setting for each headphone or music type and the Audio-GD is a 9 watt Class A beast. You can also heat your room with it.

    OK I’ll SAY I’m done but I really want to try a nice tube headphone amp…. Recommendations?
    I’ve been curious about a Liquid Platinum or a Bottlehead Crack… It’d be just as much fun to build as it would to use!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C9qmtRcUWM0

    1. Good afternoon pikpen!
      I can suggest two different tube headphone amps made by two different companies to you.
      If you want an all tube design, then you’ll want the Quick Silver Audio headphone amp.
      It uses a pare of 12AX7 tubes, and a pare of EL84 tubes.
      It cost about 1995USD.
      https://www.quicksilveraudio.com
      But on the other hand, if you want some extra bass, Black Ice Audio makes a pretty nice headphone amp.
      The headphone amp, uses a pare of 12AU7 tubes.
      According to Micle Allen, the CEO of that company, the headphone amp, cost 555USD.
      You can check it out on these two websites.
      https://www.jolida.com
      and also:
      https://www.underwoodhifi.com
      I hope this helps you find the kind of a headphone amp you’re looking for.
      My best regards!

      1. Thanks John, one of the best parts of this group is getting to hear other folk’s views and getting the benefit of their experience!
        I’ll check them out!

        1. Good morning pikpen!
          Truth be told, I’ve never had my hands on, or neverheard the two headphone amps I suggested to yu yesterday.
          But I do own a Schiit Valli 2 headphone amp.
          But the only thing that’s wrong with it in my opinion, is it only uses one 6922 tube.
          But that tube is in the cerket with the volume pot.
          The rest of that amp is all transistors.
          I’m a real serious tube nut.
          Complete tube cerkets sounds better to me then hybrids do.
          But also, I’m in to remastering old recordings.
          And so, if I want that tube sound without using the software method to get it in to my recordings, putting a headphone amp between my computer and audio source is the way to do it!
          This mite get crazy expensive for me, and I know that my wife will fround upon the idea of me picking up two different vacuum tube headphone amps at the same time.
          That is, in less I tell her that I have the money in my budget for them.
          And so, I’m looking to do that.

  3. Oh Headphones! The masters of my sonic domain. 🙂

    Weather it is orthodynamic, isometric, Fazor, Planar or even Ribbon drivers it is all gravy to me. Love headphone technology and I’m grateful to own some really terrific headphones and IEMS as well.

    My goal by the end next year is to purchase the Dan Clark Audio Stealth.
    It is a revolutionary close back headphone that is freakishly wide range sounding. 🙂

  4. “Just one last headphone, that will see me out” …
    Ha!
    …I said with my first Stax in the late 80s.
    But I really truly mean it this time (too) with the 007s.

  5. When I was young I remember the one ear phone place in your ear as I stayed up late listening to AM radio E.G. Marshalls CBS Mystery radio theater. How I loved listening to those scary stories.
    I always thought headphones were the most efficient gateway to great sound. Expensive amps preamps and especially speakers can drain the budget fast but headphones don’t cost much when you consider everything else. I remember I had a great pair of vintage Koss headphones I listened to that I really enjoyed. However, after about one hour of listening the pain in my ear bones was agonizing I had to remove them. I could never find a pair that didn’t hurt my ears. The foam ones had no bass. However a few years back I discovered V-Moda in ear phones that are great for bass but my ears now sweat and perhaps will ruin the drivers. A person just can’t win that is why we keep searching. I found a great vintage compromise years ago on a Sony Walkman and never found anything like them. They had “in ear drivers but they did not totally plug your ears so left air and still had pretty good bass. Again a compromise where you are left not totally satisfied.

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