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Possibly stupid headphone question.

Discussion in 'Sound City' started by Orionaut, Sep 4, 2018.

  1. Orionaut


    Joined: Aug 2, 2012

    Posts: 5,733

    How do USB headphones actually work?

    The sound is actually very good! (Just got some today, never experienced before)

    It all comes out of a four wire USB socket! :confused:

    So, These headphones basically must have their own data processor, D>A amplifier and whatever!

    All all powered out of a USB line!

    I have to say, I am stunned!

  2. NoobCannon


    Joined: Jun 13, 2011

    Posts: 3,745

  3. Orionaut


    Joined: Aug 2, 2012

    Posts: 5,733

    Yeah, OK, Its late! :p
  4. Raymond Lin

    Capo Crimine

    Joined: Oct 20, 2002

    Posts: 61,281

    Location: Wish i was in New York

    What about wireless headphones?

  5. Hades


    Joined: Oct 19, 2002

    Posts: 21,246

    Location: Surrey and London

    How about wireless noise cancelling headphones...

  6. Werewolf


    Joined: Oct 17, 2002

    Posts: 27,075

    Location: Panting like a fiend

    I've got a pair of them in the garage, great for lawnmowing even if they are getting on a bit and look a tad industrial...

    Basically they've got a mini usb soundcard in them, depending on the quality of the unit it can do some funky things (5.1 surround for example), I think my brother got a planktronics set about 15 years ago which was ok, but tended to overheat and crash if you used it for a long time whilst gaming & voice comms.
  7. jakedude182


    Joined: Aug 16, 2008

    Posts: 242

    Location: uk

    yeah the speakers must receive analog, so a chip would lie in them or on the cable joints. Must take a little additional power for the chip i guess (i actually don't have any idea) but am thinking : power into the chip - power used to run chip = signal output to the driver. Compared with using direct cable to the soundcard
  8. neilw


    Joined: Feb 14, 2007

    Posts: 529

    My Desktop speakers (Audioengine a2+), run from USB, they have a DAC in them. They sound much better plugged in like this rather than using the 3.5mm socket as it bypasses all the computers sound processing. It might work better with a quality sound card, but I don't have one of those

    The headphones will be doing the same thing
  9. stockhausen


    Joined: Jul 30, 2006

    Posts: 8,879

    Sounds VERY odd?

    I suspect that the DAC in the USB line is "modifying" the sound rather than that the output is nearer to the original sound . . . . -or- it is time to invest in a new Motherboard or a decent sound card ;)
  10. Haze

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Jan 10, 2007

    Posts: 2,498

    OP is truly special
  11. neilw


    Joined: Feb 14, 2007

    Posts: 529

    Maybe I'm no expert :)

    https://audioengineusa.com/shop/poweredspeakers/a2-plus-powered-speakers/ Have a look here if your intrested
  12. aardvark


    Joined: Jan 2, 2005

    Posts: 7,592

    Location: leeds

    remember there are no stupid questions, only stupid people :)
  13. stockhausen


    Joined: Jul 30, 2006

    Posts: 8,879

    I am no expert either but am genuinely interested in sound reproduction. Leaving aside the general racket at a gig and focusing on opera and classical music there is a distinct difference between live and reproduced music - even with a decent audio system playing at high levels.

    I believe that some years ago, a manufacturer of high quality speakers organised an event where they invited professional musicians and journalists to a hall in which they positioned a chamber music ensemble, a high quality tape recorder, amplifier and their speakers on the stage behind an opaque but acoustically transparent curtain. The (experienced and highly qualified) audience expressed no statistically significant preference for either source - sadly they didn't include a PC playing through Audioengine A2s or a ghetto blaster in the test ;)

    I have Googled and can't find any reference to this but I do believe that it happened.
  14. EsaT


    Joined: Jun 6, 2008

    Posts: 4,764

    Location: Finland

    Built in USB soundcard could also have some kind frequency response compensation curve to improve frequency reponse of speakers to more flatter.
    But more likely would be that modifying to make them sound different from neutral to claim some better sound.

    Anyway used DAC is PCM2704, which is very basic DAC.
    In fact's it's below average Realtek chips!