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AC0CL
03-12-2006, 02:32 AM
Greetings all.
I've got a really old set of RadioShack REAListic headphones that I'm using with my IC-730 for strictly CW. I Would like a decent set of over ear headphones that are proven to be great for use on CW, and that can cover my entire ear. What have you guys found work the best? Koss, Heil?...

73s
Jesse

Added March 12th, 2006
I was kinda looking at some Koss ones...Does anybody have expierience with these?
J

WB2WIK
03-12-2006, 03:02 AM
"Fit and feel" are very important when it comes to headphones. Like buying shoes, it's impossible to get a good fit via mail order. I'd strongly recommend you visit retail shops to see what you like, in that regard.

HRO in Burbank has Heil headsets and headphones, as well as some from MFJ, Kenwood, et al. That might be a good place to start. Many high-end audio retailers (stereo shops) have Koss, Sennheiser and so forth.

I don't like anything with a "flat" cord and insist on a coiled cord for headphones; otherwise, the operating chair ends up rolling over the cord a lot, because it will be on the floor. If it's not on the floor, then it's in the way somewhere else. In all cases, not good.

Wireless is an option for any kind of headphones, since that apparatus can be separate from the phones themselves. The headphones that have built-in wireless transceivers (RCA, Sony, etc) are horrible for me, and I don't like any of them.

I use Sennheiser cans with coiled cords almost exclusively for stand alone 'phones, but do like the Heil boom mike headsets, which are headphone/microphone combinations. They sound very good and can be adjusted for the "right feel" for me. But I'd still recommend trying anything first.

WB2WIK/6

KC0W
03-12-2006, 03:29 AM
For years I used a cheap pair of Sony Walkman headphones. I always thought the sound was rather "bright," but I lived with it.

Three years ago, I purchased a pair of communications headphones & have not been happier since. They appear to have a pretty sharp roll off around 4k Hz. or so. This really makes quite the difference when you no longer have to hear all the highs that Walkman headphones reproduce. I also believe that without all that sizzle being heard, it is less fatiguing in the long run.


Tom kcw

KI4NGN
03-12-2006, 12:02 PM
I have a pair of $180 Sennheiser's that I love for music, but for communications I use JRC comm headphones ($70) and I love them. Very comfortable with an audio response tailored for communications use.

Mike, Raleigh, NC

WA2ZDY
03-12-2006, 12:24 PM
Van Halen, ELO, Albinoni, etc all sound fantastic in my AKGs; 40cw does not.

The Heil offerings, while wonderful cans, are nearly all hi-fi. There is nothing above 4000 Hz you need or want to hear while on the air. Anything above that is interference and causes fatigue, just as KCW said above.

For some reason AES sent me a catalog a few weeks ago and looking through it I saw all of one set of communication quality cans. The rest were all hi-fi.

As Steve said though, without trying them on there's no assurance they'll fit you comfortably. So I think that's a quandry. I don't currently have a set of communication quality cans except for a 1920's set of Baldwins. And comfortable they're NOT! I'm lucky the family doesn't mind the sound of morse echoing through the rooms, but . . . it's far from ideal.

Good luck and I hope you needn't choose between proper sound and comfort.

KI4NGN
03-12-2006, 01:01 PM
Try the JRC's. Universal sells them, and if you don't like them you can always return them. JRC is a company that, with the exception of an SWL receiver, manufactures nothing but top of the line maritime and aviation comm and navigation gear. I'd be very surprised is you were not very pleased with them for communications.

Mike

KC0W
03-12-2006, 01:46 PM
Quote[/b] (KI4NGN @ Mar. 12 2006,13:01)]Try the JRC's. Universal sells them, and if you don't like them you can always return them.
Sure you can, if you want to pay a 15% "restocking" fee.

I purchased a $1000 item from Universal Radio, didn't like it & sent it back. I received a check in the mail for $850 & was told the $150 was due to a "restocking" fee.

I WILL NEVER PURCHASE ANYTHING FROM UNIVERSAL RADIO AGAIN!!!!


Tom kcw

KI4NGN
03-12-2006, 03:24 PM
Well, I was just offering a way to try something that might not otherwise be available. $10.50 might not be all that bad to try something out if it is not wanted. Short of actually going to a store or having friends with various samples, how else is one supposed to try things? I suppose there are other mail-order stores that may not charge re-stocking fees, but this has never been an issue for me.

I have NOT returned my JRC headphones to Universal, so it was a non-issue.

Mike

WA9CWX
03-12-2006, 04:09 PM
I got the JRCs for free when I bought my JRC 545 from Universal 2 years ago. I was assured by a friend ( who does reviews for Passport ) that they were a joke, I could use them, but I really should throw them out.

However, he doesn't use CW, at all.

They are the BEST CW phones, the most comfortable and nicest sounding I have ever used.

I imagine they are unresponsive for wide range audio, as someone else stated, so, good!

I have only dealt with Universal a few times, but I know others who do a lot. No complaints that I know of.

As for returning things, I bought a brand new, full price Yaesu FT 990 in 1991, with the narrow CW filter, from AES. Where I have #bought more gear from than ANYWHERE, including , previously, my Drake B line, C line, 7 line, and FT 757, FT ONE, plus whatever high priced option each one had. PLUS what ever other myriad toys in between.

ONE WEEK AND A FEW HOURS LATER, I decide I wanted an FT 1000, with all kinds of options, all brand new of course.

They took my 990 in trade, MINUS several bucks, AND MINUS the total cost of the CW filter! (probably was $175.00 or so)
That radio cost me about $350.00 to play with for a week. I was pissed, but, when I want a radio I want it NOW, and they had me by the short hairs.

But.....

Restocking fees are just a way to reduce the hassels from unsure people buying before thinking, and all the work that goes into it.
I don't like it, but it IS a necessary evil if you run a small business.

WA9SVD
03-12-2006, 04:15 PM
It is a VERY subjective issue, and you have to decide what is best (balanced between fit and function) for you personally; there is no "one size fits all." It will depend upon your own ears, and what they hear (and don't hear!!!)
While communication grade headphones are usually suggested, you should try what you already have first.
SOME (and each model/manufacturer is different) Walk-man type headphones may be usable; particularly in a quiet environment, if there's no significant background noise, but that doesn't seem to be what you want. You WILL have to try all kinds of "cans' to find the best for you. When all is said and done,the best I have found for serious, concentrated listening (as a balance between comfortable fit and comfy listening for long periods of time) is my old Superex Stereo headphones, bought back in the early 70's. While classified as "HiFi," they fit well, over the ear, block out most of the outside noise (a real plus during operations such as Field Day, when operators are bunched up tighter than sardines in a can) and are just a "good fit," physically and acoustically to MY preference. For more casual operating, I have found a pair of Stanton "Walkman" type to be quite satisfactory. But only YOU can decide what is best for YOU. As suggested, "try before you buy." And start with whatever you already have at hand.

KI4NGN
03-12-2006, 04:33 PM
Nope, the JRC's are definitely not hi-fi. But agreeing with CWX, they're the best headphones I've ever come across for comfort and COMM fidelity. I've worn them for hours at a time, forgetting that they are even on my head, and their cushioning surrounds the ear, very effectively blocking out external noise.

I'm not sure why anyone would knock them unless they were expecting a hi-fi response range, which they most definitely do not provide. As CWX said...that's good!

Mike

K9STH
03-12-2006, 04:50 PM
Since I need high impedance (2,000 ohm) for most of my receivers I use a pair of Western Electric headphones with a patent date of 1918! These were made back when headphones were the "only" way of hearing things (there were speakers but they definitely were not of the best quality) and they are pretty comfortable to wear.

Since they were missing the cord when I got them I wired them for "stereo" so that I can use them with 2 different receivers (one receiver on one ear and the other receiver in the other ear) by throwing a switch. Or, I can use them on a single receiver. This makes for easy operation when working DX on 80 meter and 40 meter SSB late at night after my wife has gone to bed.

One thing to think about when using "high quality" headphones is the low frequency response. Frankly, you do NOT want low frequency response because there is often a 60 Hz "hum" that comes through when listening with headphones. With a speaker this hum is usually attenuated considerably and is rarely noticed. However, when using headphones this hum can be VERY annoying.

Glen, K9STH

W5ALT
03-12-2006, 09:33 PM
The best set of cans I ever had came off a US Army tank. They weren't the most comfortable, but they shut out all external noise and worked fantastic for CW and also for SWLing. (I'm not into HiFi.) However, the rubber part that fit around the ears deteriorated, so they are long gone.

I have here a set of Kenwood communications cans that I got with a radio I purchased and they work well. At home I have several sets, but normally I use a cheap set I got from MFJ. They aren't anything to look at, but they work well and fit comfortably.

The HiFi/Stereo phones I've tried just don't seem to do that well, as others have noted, even though they are comfortable. The only time I've had any real luck with those was when I put an audio DSP filter in line and got rid of the highs and lows before they got to the cans.

73,
Walt, W5ALT

WA9CWX
03-13-2006, 12:51 AM
I keep meaning to try it, but have not really tested it yet, has ANYONE here switched the polarity to change the phasing in the phones?

It is supposed to really enhance CW by producing the effect of the tones originatng inside your head.....

KC0W
03-13-2006, 01:05 AM
I have some Heil headphones that can do this. More than 90% of the time I never use this feature. I can best describe the effect as just being too strange sounding.


Tom kcw

NZ3M
03-13-2006, 02:26 AM
Quote[/b] (wa9cwx @ Mar. 11 2006,18:51)]It is supposed to really enhance CW by producing the effect of the tones originatng inside your head.....
I already have CW tones in my head, I don't need anymore! http://www.qrz.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif

I swear I can hear weak CW in the wind outside...sounds like a W8 calling me on 2m.


http://www.qrz.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/tounge.gif
Dave

WB2WIK
03-13-2006, 07:28 PM
Quote[/b] (wa9cwx @ Mar. 12 2006,17:51)]I keep meaning to try it, but have not really tested it yet, has ANYONE here switched the polarity to change the phasing in the phones?

It is supposed to really enhance CW by producing the effect of the tones originatng inside your head.....
I tried it, but the dits and dahs became reversed. http://www.qrz.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/tounge.gif

Then, I tried it another way and I had to stand on my head to copy the code. http://www.qrz.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif

I put 'em back the way they were.

K7JBQ
03-13-2006, 08:26 PM
Quote[/b] (wa9svd @ Mar. 12 2006,09:15)]When all is said and done,the best I have found for serious, concentrated #listening (as a balance between comfortable fit and #comfy listening for long periods of time) is #my old #Superex Stereo headphones, bought back in the early 70's. #While classified as "HiFi," they fit well, over the ear, #block out most of the outside noise #(a real plus during operations such as Field Day, when operators are bunched up tighter than sardines in a can) and are just a "good fit," physically and acoustically to MY preference. #
Ditto that. Picked up a pair for 10 bucks at the TRW Swap not quite a year ago and, except for the five or six times I've had to repair broken wires (35 year-old wire does tend to be a bit unforgiving), they've been excellent CW cans. Heavy, but comfortable, and excellent at blocking out external noise.

73,
Bill

K0CMH
03-13-2006, 10:45 PM
I think I am going to try a simple, cheap experiment.

My phones are "HiFi", but I am going to try to build one of the old, simple, "tone control" circuits and simply "roll off" everything above 4KHz. Just make in in-line, between the speaker jack and the pones. Hope it works.

KL7AJ
03-13-2006, 11:40 PM
Quote[/b] (w5alt @ Mar. 12 2006,14:33)]The best set of cans I ever had came off a US Army tank. They weren't the most comfortable, but they shut out all external noise and worked fantastic for CW and also for SWLing. (I'm not into HiFi.) However, the rubber part that fit around the ears deteriorated, so they are long gone.

I have here a set of Kenwood communications cans that I got with a radio I purchased and they work well. At home I have several sets, but normally I use a cheap set I got from MFJ. They aren't anything to look at, but they work well and fit comfortably.

The HiFi/Stereo phones I've tried just don't seem to do that well, as others have noted, even though they are comfortable. The only time I've had any real luck with those was when I put an audio DSP filter in line and got rid of the highs and lows before they got to the cans.

73,
Walt, W5ALT
I have on o' dem tank mics too, and I have to agree I keep going back to 'em. Ugly, smell bad, (Like burnt rubber) but they are the most intelligible cw phones ever built)

strange.

K7KBN
03-14-2006, 01:21 AM
If you can find a surplus Navy flight helmet with the built-in cans, you can easily remove them and install them in a more aesthetic setting. I put a pair in an old Akai stereo headset that I'd removed the "hi-fi" elements from. This worked beautifully, with just the audio curve I wanted. It disappeared in a move about 20 years ago, so now I have a Heil set. Just as good.

K3STX
03-14-2006, 02:14 PM
Why not get a Heil ProSet with a boom mic. I got the "old" model (not the plus) brand new from AES (I think) for $120. I know you like CW, but maybe someday you will like SSB and the boom mice is nice. I only operate SSB in contests (rarely), but maybe someday I will change. I just fold up the mic for everyday use. The phones are nice, I actually like the phase reversal switch. This is the first new set of phones purchased in 25 years, I plan on them lasting for another 25.

paul

AC0CL
03-14-2006, 09:06 PM
Quote[/b] (K3STX @ Mar. 14 2006,07:14)]Why not get a Heil ProSet with a boom mic. I got the "old" model (not the plus) brand new from AES (I think) for $120. I know you like CW, but maybe someday you will like SSB and the boom mice is nice. I only operate SSB in contests (rarely), but maybe someday I will change. I just fold up the mic for everyday use. The phones are nice, I actually like the phase reversal switch. This is the first new set of phones purchased in 25 years, I plan on them lasting for another 25.

paul
Thanks everybody for the advice, espescially those who suggested the Army cans(there's a pawnshop locally that specializes in just that kind o' gear). Yes I will get into SSB eventually and this last set from Heil sounds okay.

Also, to the man who hears CW in the wind, that happened to me too after operating 12hrs strait on FD. Even the refrigerator was sending, "G?G?G?CWG?G?CQ". It took me about a week to get rid of that.

Anyway, tnx all.

KA0GKT
03-15-2006, 01:51 AM
A pair of Trimm dynamic cans with the steel diaphragms removed. #Cut an aluminum diaphragm to fit and cut a rectangular opening in the center of the diaphragm. #Install an "A above Middle C" reed from an accordion in the slot. #You now have a very sharp CW filter in the headset.

(Yeah, it's a Smart-Alek answer, but it's a Smart-Alek answer which actually works) #http://www.qrz.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif

73 DE KAGKT/7

--Steve

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