1

Why does my music appear to very slightly rise in pitch when I switch from computer speakers to computer headphones (cheap foam, mic boom integrated)?

Ideas:

  1. Might this be due to a pressure change on my eardrum as another poster noticed when he yawns?

  2. Maybe my headphones actually change the frequency of the output? I can't picture how that would work...

  3. Maybe I'm perceiving the doppler shift as I move the speaker toward my ear, and I'm distracted from the reverse shift by the mechanics of putting the earphones in place?

  • 1
    Re: 1. I once had an ear infection that had me hearing left & right at about ¼ tone apart, for a week. I wouldn't have believed it possible if I hadn't experienced it. – Tetsujin Aug 17 '17 at 18:04
  • It's a known thing, apparently: healthyhearing.com/report/51055-Understanding-diplacusis Very weird! Probably unrelated to this question, though. – Bruce Fields Aug 21 '17 at 17:21
2

Most likely you are either imagining the pitch change or you are unusually sensitive to pitch, which is a subjective interpretation that is also dependent on volume. So you might try turning down the volume when you switch to headphones.

You might also or instead hearing a change in frequency balance and interpreting it as a slight pitch change. All speaker and headphone systems have different frequencies they emphasize, so you will hear a difference any time you change your playback system.

0

Well, I used to mix with closed-cup headphones, and I did notice after extended wearing that all the pitches seem to have gone sharp, compared to when I checked the mix without them afterwards.

Makes sense since warmer air is less dense, I guess.

I switched to open-cup headphones last year, and the side-effect has lessened a lot. I can keep them on for over 30 min. at a time w/o pitch-shifts. I was surprised how quickly the air inside headphones heat up once you put 'em on, but what do I know!

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.