Is there any RX difference between ham headphones and music headphones?

Discussion in 'Microphones, Speakers & Audio Processing' started by KE0EYJ, Aug 9, 2017.

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  1. KE0EYJ

    KE0EYJ XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    What do you think?

    Is there any sound difference between headphones made for ham radio, and those made for music, or computer gaming? For example, I see frequency response specs for the ham headphones are more within the ham range, and not the typical 20hz-20khz you see on music headphones.

    For example, the Yamaha CM500 lists as 20hz-20khz.
    The Heil Pro Set is 100 Hz - 12.5 kHz |35 Hz - 12 kHz]

    Does this mean a music headset will not sound as good as a ham headset, on RX? Or is that rubbish? Or radio-dependent based on filtering?

  2. N2SUB

    N2SUB Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Intriguing question. Based on your example, we're talking about headsets, not headphones. The frequency response is what you are asking about, and I think that will depend on the individual. The frequency range on both examples is more than adequate for voice communications. But there are other things to consider:

    Type of microphone - a condenser mic will require phantom power, while a traditional mic will not.
    Microphone impedance - a computer mic will (typically) be a low impedance mic, while a true vocal mic will be high impedance.
    Isolation Level - Computer headsets can be all over the board, while a headset designed for communications should have a good amount of noise reduction or cancellation.
    Interface - Obviously a computer headset connects by using either bluetooth or the mic/headphone jacks. A communications headset will have a radio interface of some kind.

    I'm sure there are ways to adapt one to the other. Those are just my initial thoughts. I'm anxious to see what others have to say. :)
  3. G0GSR

    G0GSR Ham Member QRZ Page

    The radio filtering is the limit here. Its extremely easy to make headphones with a very wide frequency response so all but the cheapest will sound very similar for Amateur radio.
    I think that other factors are more important and only you can decide how you prioritise these.

    Some of the things to think about are:
    Comfort/size and weight (very important), Open or closed back?, Low/High impedance?

    I would always go for headphones that get good reviews for music or studio mastering, not DJ, computer or communications.
    I recently bought the Samson SR-850 headphones for radio use ( I don't use a head-set mic). They are good value, semi-open back, very comfortable, and sound good for both music and Amateur radio.
    Frank, g0gsr
    KW6LA, WA3VJB, K9ASE and 1 other person like this.
  4. VE3TMT

    VE3TMT XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Based on my own experience, I do not see the extra cost of a "Ham Brand" headset worth the money.

    I owned a Heil ProSet 6 Elite headset. The cups were very tight on the ear, even after the mod to adjust the headband, and got quite uncomfortable even after a few minutes of use. If you wear glasses, it compounds the issue.

    The one thing I can say about the Heil, the DX-7 cartridge really sounded good, and I mean good. Nice smooth articulate speech for rag chewing or DXing. I found nothing special about the RX audio they produced, and the "phase reversal" is easy to duplicate on other headphones. The Heil eventually fell apart.

    I now use a Koss SB-40 headset. It is a full over the ear gaming headset with a dynamic mic element, so no DC power is required. I've used it on an FT-1000, FT-2000, FT-950, TS-2000, FTDX-1200 and now an Icom 756PROIII. It has sounded great on all the radios. The mic produces good sounding audio, just make sure to cover the vents on the back of the element housing to get rid of the mushiness. The cups are very comfortable and do not cause fatigue, even after hours of use. The headset produces crystal clear RX audio and I never have to strain to hear anything.

    For $40 CAD it was the best money I've ever spent on a headset. The Heil is long gone, and the $120 USD I spent for them used I'll never get back. I was taken by the seller, but that's another story.
    KW6LA likes this.
  5. N4AAB

    N4AAB XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I use a Western Mountain dsp filter to filter out noise, and music headphones to listen with. I use the hand mic that came with my Alinco.
  6. KA9JLM

    KA9JLM Ham Member QRZ Page

    You should get the Digital headphones if you use digital modes. :D
    KE0DNZ and K9ASE like this.
  7. AA7EJ

    AA7EJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Amateur radio communication was / is about efficiency, not about High Fidelity.
    ( Contrary arguments will be ignored, wrong forum )

    CW signal is very efficient when generated and to detect it one need a simple beat audio frequency, say 800 Hz as an example. Why would you want to have headset / headphones / speaker or what ever your want to call it with frequency response 20 Hz to 20 kHz? All you need is response around 800 Hz.

    Same goes for SSB signal whose audio bandwidth is limited during generation.
    Such limited audio bandwidth range was selected because it carries enough information to be useful for basic communication.

    Now if you can tell if the revived signal passed through E180F pentode, as some claim, all bets are off.

    Buy that 20 Hz to 20 kHz HiFi hardware.

    73 Shirley
  8. KP4SX

    KP4SX Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    My favorite phones are an inexpensive pair like is used in language labs, etc. I had an expensive pair of hi-fi phones previously and although more comfortable to wear they seemed to amplify whatever got around my filter.
  9. K9STH

    K9STH Platinum Subscriber Volunteer Moderator Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    One thing about headphones is the frequency range that they cover. Frankly, especially with older equipment, "modern" headphones, with excellent low frequency response, result in hearing an annoying "hum" whereas headphones that do not have a so good low frequency response results in a much more comfortable situation.

    My main headphones were made by Western Electric and have a patent date of 1914! They do not reproduce frequencies below around 200 Hz and, as such, I do not hear any "hum" unless there is really something wrong with the unit. I do have much more "modern" headphones, including a pair that I bought a couple of months ago. Those work fine but, unfortunately, with some of my "boat anchor" equipment, I do hear a "hum" that is not present with my Western Electric headphones.

    Glen, K9STH
    KE0DNZ, AI3V and KA9JLM like this.
  10. KA9JLM

    KA9JLM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Do you ever get ear mold ? :oops:
    N7BKV likes this.

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