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Thread: Wireless headphones? A question for techies.

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    Senior Member RogerWaters's Avatar
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    Default Wireless headphones? A question for techies.

    With Apple's frustrating move to all things wireless, I am contemplating wireless headphones as I need to update my failing old Iphone 5.

    Not that phones are my primary method of listening to classical music, but still, I'm wondering if anyone has experience with wireless and whether it noticeably reduces audio quality.

    I ask this as (bluetooth) wireless needs to compress the data that reaches the headphones, to get enough across a non-wired information channel to produce music on the other side. So, if you already compress your music to MP3 (or similar) lossy audio formats, you will have an extra dimension of compression applied.

    Thanks in advance.
    Last edited by RogerWaters; Sep-07-2021 at 01:01.

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    Senior Member HenryPenfold's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RogerWaters View Post
    With Apple's frustrating move to all things wireless, I am contemplating wireless headphones as I need to update my failing old Iphone 5.

    Not that phones are my primary method of listening to classical music, but still, I'm wondering if anyone has experience with wireless and whether it noticeably reduces audio quality.

    I ask this as wireless needs to compress the data that reaches the headphones, to get enough across a non-wired information channel to produce sound on the other side. So, if you already compress your music to MP3 (or similar) lossy audio formats, you will have an extra dimension of compression applied.

    Thanks in advance.
    I'm probably not being helpful, but wireless technology is not up to it yet, and you should consider a wired workaround.

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    Senior Member RogerWaters's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HenryPenfold View Post
    I'm probably not being helpful, but wireless technology is not up to it yet, and you should consider a wired workaround.
    You personally notice a difference, or you are saying this based on some a priori aversion to wireless?

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    Senior Member HenryPenfold's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RogerWaters View Post
    You personally notice a difference, or you are saying this based on some a priori aversion to wireless?
    Have had about 5 pairs of wireless, including RHA, Sony and Panasonic and they were all second rate in terms of sound quality and ultimately failed operationally too.

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    Unless cellphone manufacturers revert back to manufacturing phones with headphone outputs which seems highly unlikely. Listening to music over a cellphone(even with wired headphones) is already an inherent audio compromise because you are relying on the quality of the audio coming from the cellphone. I still have an iPhone5 and therefore wired. I find the quality to be acceptable. Years ago I tried Bluetooth but it was still early and it was lousy. We simply may not have a choice going forward with cellphones are going to be Bluetooth. What might change is advances in Bluetooth technology. Couple of months ago there was a lot of talk about Apple,Amazon music etc going to lossless audio but Bluetooth cannot support lossless. There was just some info about a Bluetooth codec that will work with lower bit rate lossless or CD quality on Android but I don’t believe any phones today have it. YouTube site “John Darko” has good video about the new Bluetooth codec and the challenges of listening to lossless music via cellphones. To recap,imho we may not have any choice in the future but to work with Bluetooth on cellphones. Beyond that,we are actually seeing some standard room speakers using Bluetooth (NO speaker wires) so there seems to be a definite technical trend.

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    Last pair of wireless headphones I heard didn't pick up the music too well but I heard the neighbor's phone conversations perfectly.

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    Senior Member Malx's Avatar
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    I have no experience of wireless headphones but have heard little positive comment about them.
    If you are going to use another iphone you can get, as I have, a lightning to headphone jack adaptor see my pic below it enables me to use wired headphones.


    apple headphone adapter.jpg
    Last edited by Malx; Sep-07-2021 at 17:57.

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    Senior Member Vasks's Avatar
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    Bought a pair of wireless back around 2004. They sucked.
    "Music in any generation is not what the public thinks of it but what the musicians make of it"....Virgil Thomson

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    Senior Member Simon Moon's Avatar
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    Definitely a noticeable difference. Wireless is, to me, a pretty obvious audio compromise.

    My friend and I compared a pair of Grado SR225, switching them between using them wired, then with a BlueTooth adaptor. Pretty much evert audible parameter was inferior when wireless.

    Shouldn't this thread be on the HiFi subforum?
    Last edited by Simon Moon; Sep-07-2021 at 18:23.
    And if there were a god, I think it very unlikely that he would have such an uneasy vanity as to be offended by those who doubt His existence - Russell

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    Senior Member Forster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RogerWaters View Post
    Not that phones are my primary method of listening to classical music, but still, I'm wondering if anyone has experience with wireless and whether it noticeably reduces audio quality.
    My experience is with Sony WF-1000XM3. They aren't perfect, but if you can get foam pads to fit your ears properly, they do reduce noise significantly (though they don't eliminate it). If you don't get the noise-cancelling to work, you'll find the sound thin and bass-less.

    The down side is they are a trifle too snug as they are in-ear, and I can't wear them for long periods; yes, a Mahler symphony, but not an opera.

    Do they "reduce" quality? Well, that depends on the quality you're used to from your corded headphones or hi-fi system. If you've never listened to classical music over whatever passes for state of the art headphones, you might find these acceptable. I do. I use them with my Android phone. I don't have state of the art ears.

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    Senior Member SanAntone's Avatar
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    I believe that wireless ear buds are mainly for phone conversations, not long periods of listening to music. Aside from audio quality, the harmful exposure from Bluetooth radiation is a concern.

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    Senior Member jegreenwood's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Simon Moon View Post
    Definitely a noticeable difference. Wireless is, to me, a pretty obvious audio compromise.

    My friend and I compared a pair of Grado SR225, switching them between using them wired, then with a BlueTooth adaptor. Pretty much evert audible parameter was inferior when wireless.

    Shouldn't this thread be on the HiFi subforum?
    Headphones.

    Bottom line for me is that I use wireless Sony WH1000 XM3s for noise cancellation. I find that blocking out the air conditioner or train noise is more important than the electronically processed sound (which can be mitigated with an equalizer).

    For years I had a pair of PSB M4U2 phones. They were wired only, but the replacement M4U8s are wireless. The only noise-cancelling phones I know of that can be spoken of in the same sentence with reasonable quality audio headphones. There were other issues with the M4U2s though.

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    Senior Member Azol's Avatar
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    Devices from 2006 etc can be ruled out since the earliest AptX incarnations were quite rough. If you are listening to uncompressed music via your phones (are you sure it's uncompressed?) it's best to remember that even more-or-less common AptX HD is a lossy codec, but it definitely sounds much better. Honestly, I cannot catch any major differences between wired and wireless mode of my Grado GW100!

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    Senior Member Forster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SanAntone View Post
    I believe that wireless ear buds are mainly for phone conversations, not long periods of listening to music. Aside from audio quality, the harmful exposure from Bluetooth radiation is a concern.
    The "harmful radiation" is yet to be conclusively established. T'internet is full of theory and counter-theory.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Malx View Post
    I have no experience of wireless headphones but have heard little positive comment about them.
    If you are going to use another iphone you can get, as I have, a lightning to headphone jack adaptor see my pic below it enables me to use wired headphones.


    apple headphone adapter.jpg
    The only problem with that is that you won’t be able to charge your phone. I believe there is some way of charging a phone by attaching a power source. Please correct me if I am wrong in any way. I am a tech Neanderthal

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