Head Phones

Headphones are our viewfinders to sound quality. When we use head phones we hear what the microphone hears, what problems there might be in the recording and monitoring chain AND also what direct sound is not blocked by the headphones. All arrive at our ears at the same time and it is difficult to differentiate between them. Another problem is our ear/brain hearing system hears what we want and need to hear and rejects other unwanted noise that microphones hear and recorders record. Ideally we would only hear what is going through the sound recording chain to the tape.

Listening in a quiet house to music from a CD, radio etc. we don't worry about sound leakage around the phones. "Open" designs give the best sound reproduction, but also let in as much out side noise.

To block outside sounds, it takes pressure and good contact against your head. The larger the surface against your head, the more pressure you can comfortably tolerate.

Hearing protectors are well designed to block out outside noise. I haven't found a combination hearing protector and headphone that had quality speakers inside. We make our own from $8.00 hearing protectors. $20.00 ones are more comfortable but are not as readily available. We have found better quality "Digital Walkman" type phones quite good and easy to install. The wiring can be a little problem. We have installed a RCA female chassis jack on the bottom of each protector shell and used a mono RCA to stereo mini wye cable for the cable. They come 3 and 6 feet, 6 feet is best. You can also tape or hot glue the existing cords to the hearing protectors. The headphone earpieces can be hot glued or held in by foam rubber.
Radio Shack has some titanium walkman type headphones that are easy to remove from their head bands and fit inside hearing protectors. They also have quite good sound quality.

Hearing protectors stick out from the head and can interfere with seeing some camera viewfinders.

When buying phones, compare and select ones with higher output with your camcorder. Claimed frequency response is often hype. Besides sound quality you do need to hear 60 /120 cycle hum, microphone, cable, connector, clothing, and jewelry, noise.

There are helicopter and construction type headsets with noise canceling microphones and excellent noise reduction, BUT the headphones may not be the best quality for sound quality evaluation and interfacing the microphone to the intercom can be a problem.

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