New headphones don't sound as "full" as old ones

Commander Matt

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Nov 3, 2014
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I'm comparing an Audio-Technia ATH-M30X to a JBL J55a with an Asus Xonar DSX sound card. Front panel and back panel ports. I've triple-checked jack problems etc.

So my new pair of ATH-M30X's just arrived today, and after plugging them in, audio sounds more "empty" compared to my J55a's. Almost like I need to turn up the volume (which doesn't fix it).
There's bass, treble, and, actually, the ATH-M30X's are actually better for music in my opinion, aside from this problem.
The only thing I can think of that might be the cause is the fact that the ATH-M30X's impedance is 47 ohm, while the J55a's impedance is 32 ohm. Would 15 ohm really cause this? Maybe over-ear is waaaay different than everyone says it is?

Thanks, will update with results from onboard audio (and a laptop).

Update:
So, I tested the ATH-M30X's with my laptop, and wow, they worked flawlessly. It's just with my desktop that they're not "full."

I tested the pair with the onboard audio, and the onboard audio sounds the same (in terms of "empty" effect) as the sound card.

A thought:
With my J55a's and another pair I can't remember the name of, I had audio issues such as things getting quieter/louder randomly (without the volume level changing), audio randomly going "flat" (similar to this issue, actually), and all-around audio weirdness. Coupled with CPU troubles, BSODs, etc. I'm wondering if maybe this problem is my motherboard?
I'm gonna go to bed. Maybe this problem will have worked itself out by tomorrow.

Any advice or things to try? I'll reset everything to default settings, see if that fixes it somehow.

Thank you in advance!
 
Try an amplifier, try something low end such as http://www.amazon.co.uk/Behringer-HA400-Microamp-Headphone-Amplifier/dp/B000KIPT30/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1453533434&sr=8-1&keywords=Behringer+HA400 (as in you return it after testing)

That will do. The impedance shouldn't cause a change that big if you can seriously notice it.

Are you sure that Windows volume is set to 100 (0 dB)? That's the first thing I would try, to get a better signal to your headphones.

Make sure the connection is secure on both ends.
 

Commander Matt

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Nov 3, 2014
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Would an amp be needed considering they work on my laptop?
I'll still try it, though.

I'm not sure I understand; I can't set the volume to 100, it would be too loud. Do you mean something besides the default volume?
 

Commander Matt

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Nov 3, 2014
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Okay, I understand now.
But if the headphones work fine on my laptop, would an amp fix the problem?
I've tried increasing the volume, and it doesn't make the issue less or anything, it just increases the volume and carries the problem with it.

I also tried a reformat and reinstall of Windows (to solve some other issues) and the problem persists.
I'm seriously considering the possibility of my motherboard being the root cause of all this.
I'll give the amp a shot first, before thinking about a new motherboard.
Any other thoughts? Small things that I might've missed?
I'll open up the case and do some cleaning and tidying up. Maybe if I move the sound card to a different PCIe slot it'll work... I dunno. Really frustrating, ha ha.

Thank you so much for your help.
 
There could definitely be some interference inside your PC. If the signal is bad from the beginning, the amplifier will amplify that too, the good and the bad. You can try using an amp and return it if it doesn't work, order from somewhere where they allow you to do that. I'm havfing a hard time believing that your sound card is worse than your laptops soundcard, that doesn't make any sense.

I didn't see your edited post in OP but if you're getting random BSOD's and other issues, then I too would blame the motherboard. But it's impossible to say unless you check all components first, so honestly there are plenty of guides for that, or take it to a PC shop if it's cheap or free. A weak/lose connection can cause the audio problems you have though.
 

Commander Matt

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Nov 3, 2014
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After further testing, I've found that the bass is falling short. Using the "bass" effect in the DSX audio center, the vocals sound like what they should compared to no effect. Could be other things as well, but I also had another pair of ears test it out, and he confirmed that the bass is falling short.
Also, I decided to do another test. Because the audio is fine on my laptop, I routed the audio from my laptop into my desktop, with my headphones plugged into the desktop. (An audio cable going from the headphone jack in my laptop to the microphone jack on the DSX).
Aside from some minor audio quality drop, the music was as it should be.

I would try the test vice-versa (desktop into laptop), but Linux Mint doesn't allow me to listen to the microphone input (Windows takes forever to boot on my laptop).

I also tried moving the sound card to a different PCIe slot, no change. (Also double-checked it was in fully, and it was)

There aren't many PC shops around here, I actually only know of two; one that a friend said to never go to, and another that charges $80 an hour. Would the above test, just reversed, be sufficient, instead of trying an amp?
 
I don't know. It's possible it's your motherboard, but I never go into detail because people can damage their PC's, even as something as telling someone to clean it. I would try a new motherboard to be honest with you. You shouldn't be getting random blue screens and poor sound, if it's something else then I wouldn't know. Perhaps someone else does.
 
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