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Strange Problem with Headphones' Stereo


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Especially addressed to people who might be familiar with AKG K240 'phones:

Fairly recently (a few weeks back, while working on music) I noticed that the sound from my headphones seemed a bit odd. I didn't try too hard at the time to put my finger on it since I was still in school at the time, but now that I'm off for the summer, I decided to look more into it.

Cursory experimentation in FL Studio reveals that the headphones don't properly play things in the "center" area of the stereo field. Panning hard to the left or right makes it play at full volume but equal left and right amounts - whether centered on one channel or all the way left and right on two respective channels - drastically mutes the sound. The closer to center the more muted.

Additionally, some reverb seems to be accentuated in whatever music/sound is playing, although this might just be the lack of a full mix playing that's making the existing reverb in the audio more noticeable.

Would anyone happen to know what my problem is here? My friend Google says it's not a very common issue. Time to get a new cord? New (*gulp*) headphones altogether? Anyway, some help would be much appreciated.

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From what you've described, it sounds like the "mid" is getting canceled out and the "side" remains. That would be why you're hearing more reverb too. Are you applying anything that would change the stereo imaging to your channels? example: Are you turning the 'stereoize' knob in FL Studio (don't use this one anyway). Maybe you could check if something is being canceled from your output by throwing a vectorscope (Wave Candy) on the 'Selected' channel?

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Oh, I didn't mean to say that this is only in FL. This is with any and all audio that goes through my 'phones, from any application. It's just that I can just use my earbuds for most of it but would love the use of my good headphones for music production.

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Test on another device besides your computer to make sure, but most likely it's the cord becoming loose (or broken, but probably just loose). The wires are tiny so they're not easy to solder back on, but someone who fixes electric stuff for a living can do it much cheaper than the brand's official service.

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No mid means either the left or the right audio channel is phase-inverted. I guess you could use the fruity phase inverter plugin on your master track to listen to your tracks properly.

Google suggests this might be a jack problem. Test it on some other audio devices, if there's still no mid, try replacing the jack (or the entire cord if your headphones have a detachable one).

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Have you tested the headphones on something besides the computer?
Test on another device besides your computer to make sure, but most likely it's the cord becoming loose (or broken, but probably just loose). The wires are tiny so they're not easy to solder back on, but someone who fixes electric stuff for a living can do it much cheaper than the brand's official service.
No mid means either the left or the right audio channel is phase-inverted. I guess you could use the fruity phase inverter plugin on your master track to listen to your tracks properly.

Google suggests this might be a jack problem. Test it on some other audio devices, if there's still no mid, try replacing the jack (or the entire cord if your headphones have a detachable one).

Yep, I had tried them on my mp3 player as well. Same result. I guess I should see about replacing the jack or cord. But general consensus seems to be "it's not the expensive part that sucks," so small mercies, I guess.

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Especially addressed to people who might be familiar with AKG K240 'phones:

Fairly recently (a few weeks back, while working on music) I noticed that the sound from my headphones seemed a bit odd. I didn't try too hard at the time to put my finger on it since I was still in school at the time, but now that I'm off for the summer, I decided to look more into it.

Cursory experimentation in FL Studio reveals that the headphones don't properly play things in the "center" area of the stereo field. Panning hard to the left or right makes it play at full volume but equal left and right amounts - whether centered on one channel or all the way left and right on two respective channels - drastically mutes the sound. The closer to center the more muted.

Additionally, some reverb seems to be accentuated in whatever music/sound is playing, although this might just be the lack of a full mix playing that's making the existing reverb in the audio more noticeable.

Would anyone happen to know what my problem is here? My friend Google says it's not a very common issue. Time to get a new cord? New (*gulp*) headphones altogether? Anyway, some help would be much appreciated.

Some weird phase cancelling cross-talk between the channels?

That's weird.

Have you tried pushing the plug in to make sure it's seated all the way into the phone jack?

Are you using an adapter?

If so, are you sure the adapter is TRS (Tip Ring and Sleeve, not just Tip Sleeve)?

You got me, man.

Though, if you replace them, unless you're really attached to the AKG sound, you might want to think about maybe these guys:

http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/SRH440/

They have a replaceable cable (for like 15 bucks).

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Yep, I had tried them on my mp3 player as well. Same result. I guess I should see about replacing the jack or cord. But general consensus seems to be "it's not the expensive part that sucks," so small mercies, I guess.

Yes, I'm 95% sure it's a signal and not a speaker issue. Because you are actually getting some kind of sound from both speakers, and they very rarely break partially. Also I've had the exact same issue you described (mid missing) and it's always been a bad cord/connection.

I just learnt that the AKG 240 has a replaceable cord. So you're in luck! Just get a new cable. Probably any mini-xlr will do, doesn't have to be an AKG one if they're expensive.

And if a new cord doesn't help, then it's probably the tiny wires inside the phones that have come loose. Then you've just bought a spare cord - worse investments have been made. :D And in this case take the phones to someone who can fix electronics, it'll be way cheaper than buying new phones.

Edited by Byproduct
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