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How to Improve Audio Quality on Headphones

by on Jul.07, 2014, under General

Last Christmas, (as I’m a big PC gamer) I got a set of Skullcandy SLYR headphones. You can use the included USB cable with in-line volume control and microphone mute, or you can unplug the headset from the volume control unit and use it on your iPod and such; any device with a 3.5mm audio cable jack. I noticed that when I hooked up the headphones to my sound card (a Creative Sound Blaster Recon 3Di) the headphones sounded a lot better. However, the microphone doesn’t work that way. Despite it being a TMMS cable, it still wouldn’t work, even in the separate HEADSET port. It just gave me audio. So, I have to use the USB cable to use the microphone, until I get a TMMS splitter. This lead me to do some tests to see if in different conditions, could I make these headphones sound better with just raw power, no volume control with three funky presets in the way?

I have an Emerson stereo (you know, your record player, 5-disc-changer, double cassette tape decks, and AM/FM tuner). I mainly use it to listen to my vinyl collection; sometimes I hook up my iPad to the AUX port, but it’s a rare occurrence. I stuck the SLYR’s cable right into the 3.5mm port, and dropped the needle (not literally, that’d be really stupid!) onto a couple of albums to see how putting a little more power into the drivers would do. Usually, a DAC or external amplifier is what you need to get your headphones sounding the best they can; your computer or iPod’s headphone jacks can only put out so much power! I’m not exactly sure how much power this Emerson stereo put out, but I can tell you it made my headphones sound a lot better. Here are the songs I tried out on vinyl records:

  • Take It Easy by The Eagles on Their Greatest Hits
  • Take It To The Limit by The Eagles on Their Greatest Hits
  • Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey on ESC4P3
  • Summer of ’69 by Bryan Adams on Reckless

Overall, a little more power to your headphones can bring them to life and improve your audio quality! I’m going to consider purchasing a TMMS splitter and external DAC for my Skullcandy SLYR headphones. Some of these cheaper sets can roll with the big guys when you put them in the right conditions and give them enough power to work their magic.

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