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Topic: Searching for headphones with independant L/R volume controls (Read 335 times) previous topic - next topic

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  • r0k
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Searching for headphones with independant L/R volume controls
Hi everyone. I'm currently trying to find headphones with independent left and right volume control. Those would be used by my father who's audition isn't what it used to be (especially one ear) to watch the TV (without having everyone around also hear it ::) ).

To make matter worse, i'd like a wireless models as i don't fully trust him not getting his feet in a long cable connector and when i showed him pictures of the existing "stethoscopic" models he expressed lots of concerns about having headphones plugged inside his ears rather than around. When i searched around (amazon and web wide search) i found a number of headphones designed for people with audition troubles but they are all of the stethoscopic design which makes sense as they are supposed to be better for people also wearing vision glasses but doesn't really help me. I found references of an Amplicom model (AMPLICOMMS HS 1200) which would have been perfect but apparently is out of stock everywhere (might be possible to find a second hand one and hope it's still good but no new). Even looking at wired headphones, there isn't much choice. Apart from one Steinheiser model (Sennheiser HD 65 TV) i didn't found any that offered left/right volume controls.

Does anyone know of either a good model of wireless, non stethoscopic headphones with left/right controls or an alternative way of controlling l/r balance on headphones with a single volume control. I don't want to mess with the TV balance globally, that might help him but not my mother (and i don't even know whether or not their TV have such a setting). I thought about using that Sennheiser headphones with a bluetooth emitter and receiver to turn the wired headphones wireless but i'm not sure whether bluetooth is really good for TV headphones. I've read that aptX offers "low latency" but what exactly does that mean behind the commercial talks. Low latency might be perfectly fine to listen to music but still way too much for a movie.

I checked the connectors and the TV does have RCA connectors if it helps.

Thanks in advance for any help provided in either finding the correct headphones or an alternative system. :)

  • drumliner
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Re: Searching for headphones with independant L/R volume controls
Reply #1
Finding such headphones, especially ones that would also fit all other criteria (type, comfort, quality, price etc) at the same time is likely going to be quite hard. I think an easier solution and I'd say a better one too (since your father could choose the headphones he likes best without the volume control constraint) would be if you went with a balance control between the TV and headphones. A sort of a preamp (or postamp in this case ;) ) if you will, although a proper fully featured dedicated one would be overkill and I think a small, even passive balance control should be doable quite cheaply. That's IMO, but I'm sure there are users on this board that know much more about this stuff and who could also give you more specific pointers should you decide to go down this route.

  • DVDdoug
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Re: Searching for headphones with independant L/R volume controls
Reply #2
I'd don't know what's available in wireless headphones...

The easiest solution to the left/right problem (without building something) might be a small mixer.    With a stereo mixer, you could optionally mix the left & right (pan both inputs to center).   That might be better since your father's brain is used to hearing an imbalance.

Open-back headphones tend to work better with glasses because they don't rely on a seal for good sound, and many open headphones are on-ear (rather than over-the-ear) designs.    And, open headphones are "more social".

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. I've read that aptX offers "low latency" but what exactly does that mean behind the commercial talks. Low latency might be perfectly fine to listen to music but still way too much for a movie.
Low latency (delay) is good (with video).   Wired headphones have zero-latency* (as would any analog wireless transmission).    With music only, of course a few milliseconds of delay is OK, but with video you might start to see "lip sync weirdness" around 100mS or so.   But with hear-through headphones and speakers at the same time,  100mS is long enough to hear an echo and that would be a problem with or without video.



* Sound travels at about 1 foot per millisecond, so there is a small delay with speakers that you don't get with (wired) headphones!    

  • r0k
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Re: Searching for headphones with independant L/R volume controls
Reply #3
Thanks for the tips.

Yes, i've been considering adding parts somewhere to control the left/right volume as an alternative to finding the perfect headphones, however i wasn't sure what exactly i would need to use. I'm not against building something myself but if you can point me to some tutorials somewhere on how to do it it would help me as i've never messed with audio parts before. I tried a bunch of searches but didn't find anything, probably because english is a foreign language and i didn't use the right technical keywords. Does building something simply involves wiring a pair of potentiometers on RCA cables?

I'll keep the small mixers as an option thought i would prefer not adding more powered equipment than strictly necessary (especially equipment without a power button). I couldn't find passive controls with independent left/right volume knobs unfortunately. I considered using a pair of passive volume controls (such as this one) and connecting only one cable of the RCA pair to each volume controller, would it work?

With a stereo mixer, you could optionally mix the left & right (pan both inputs to center).   That might be better since your father's brain is used to hearing an imbalance.
Now you got me lost. How is panning the left/right sound different from changing the volume? Can you really "move" the sound around? Does it involve adding sound from the left channel to the right one (or the other way around)? Now that i think of it stereo might be an issue as he might miss the sounds that comes to his bad ear with headphones so i might have to turn the sound to mono.

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Low latency (delay) is good (with video).   Wired headphones have zero-latency* (as would any analog wireless transmission).    With music only, of course a few milliseconds of delay is OK, but with video you might start to see "lip sync weirdness" around 100mS or so.
Unfortunately no BT transmitter/receiver i've seen list the delay in ms but i'll keep those number in head if i go that route and try to see if reviews exist that tested the real delay. Thanks  :)
  • Last Edit: 03 November, 2017, 07:37:34 AM by r0k

Re: Searching for headphones with independant L/R volume controls
Reply #4
Intead of BT why not use a radio and a simple fm transmite like those that are sold to be used with phones? Or a system like those sold to tour guides if you don't mint beinbg mono?

Also is posible to make a independent passive volume control very cheap if you know how to solder, even some electronic technician in a small repair shop can made it for you cheap (it don't take more than 10 minutes).

  • DVDdoug
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Re: Searching for headphones with independant L/R volume controls
Reply #5
Quote
Now you got me lost. How is panning the left/right sound different from changing the volume? Can you really "move" the sound around? Does it involve adding sound from the left channel to the right one (or the other way around)? Now that i think of it stereo might be an issue as he might miss the sounds that comes to his bad ear with headphones so i might have to turn the sound to mono.
You know what a balance control or separate volume controls do...     A pan pot "moves" the sound between left & right.     If you want to keep stereo, you pan channel-1 fully-left and channel-2 fully right (or you can do the reverse).    If you pan both to the center, the left & right channels are mixed to mono and you get the same sound in both speakers/ears.


I remembered something...   For my mom, I just put a (wired) speaker on the table next to her chair.    From what I recall, there was no volume control but I did give her a switch so she could switch it off for conversation, or during commercials, etc.   (It was a single passive speaker so either it was wired to just one channel, or maybe the older TV was mono.)