Does playing loud music damage your headphones?

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ArYcEz

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Dec 21, 2015
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I've recently bought some new headphones (ATH m50x.) My friend came over to check them out and I put the volume all the way up so we could both hear. Did I cause any permanent damage?
I didn't use any sort of amp to make it loud or to provide more current, I've just plugged my headphones into my motherboard (Asus Z-97p.)

Main reason why I'm asking is I heard a pop or flicker on the free spotify version of "All my friends" by Snakehips at 1:19-1:21

Thank you in advance :)
 

ronintexas

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Typical damage to speakers and/or headphones (they are both the same principle) are two causes - the first is damage to the coil by overheating (high volumes dissipate higher wattage, creating more heat). The second is damage to the speaker cones, caused by the speaker moving too quickly and/or too far, causing rips in the cone.

It can take a few seconds to create the damage. The "pop" sound isn't an indicator or either types of damage.
 

weberdarren97

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It's possible to damage your headphones by raising the volume to excessive volumes, it's also possible to damage your hearing. I would probably blame that popping on just poor sound quality though unless you notice it when listening to music from different sources (iTunes, Google Play, YouTube, Spotify, etc.). If you hear it no matter where you get your music from, then your headphones may be damaged.
 

ArYcEz

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But do you think that playing it loudly once for a short period of time could damage them?

P.S I check on spotify and youtube on three pairs of high end headsets and all of them had the little pop.
 

Mr5oh

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Distortion kills speakers, whether it's a 12" woofer, or a set of ear buds. However that being said, if they still sound ok odds are you are fine. This was less of a concern before the loudness war.

As for the pop, probably just in the audio file. If something was damaged the pop would be consistent, not just in one random spot in one song.
 

ronintexas

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Typical damage to speakers and/or headphones (they are both the same principle) are two causes - the first is damage to the coil by overheating (high volumes dissipate higher wattage, creating more heat). The second is damage to the speaker cones, caused by the speaker moving too quickly and/or too far, causing rips in the cone.

It can take a few seconds to create the damage. The "pop" sound isn't an indicator or either types of damage.
 

weberdarren97

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The fact that other pairs you know are good made the pop too means that we can eliminate the headphones as the source of the popping, if that's the what made you worry about them then I wouldn't worry.
 

ArYcEz

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Can you give an example of such damage?

also just a side note wouldn't I need an amp or something like that to create noticeable damage?
 

ronintexas

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Torn cones and/or burned out coils will result in the low (bass sounds) and high (cymbols) not being reproduced, and voices will sound muffled.

Most devices won't produce enough power dissipation (watts) to cause damage to headphones, but anything is possible.
 
Mar 26, 2018
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And the third factor is demagnetization because of excessive heat and vibration (and time, because of electromagnetic noise). Demagnetization causes headphones to play in mode which was not intended by manufacturer, and every 'quality optimization' will actually get sound out of tune.
 
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