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Why Are Headphones Marked Left & Right? by Boondawg
Started on: 07-10-2006 12:14 AM
Replies: 29
Last post by: Patrick's Dad on 07-10-2006 10:57 PM
Boondawg
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Report this Post07-10-2006 12:14 AM Click Here to See the Profile for BoondawgClick Here to Email BoondawgSend a Private Message to BoondawgDirect Link to This Post
I mean, does it really matter which ear each cup goes on?!
I can't tell the difference................
Am I supposed to be able too?
Why would your left ear hear differently then your right ear?
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Report this Post07-10-2006 12:20 AM Click Here to See the Profile for PhrancClick Here to Email PhrancSend a Private Message to PhrancDirect Link to This Post
Not sure I guess it makes sence if the head phones aren't symetrical so it matters what way you put them on . But for the earbud kind and the big coushony ones I see no reason to mark 'em.
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1986 Fiero GT
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Report this Post07-10-2006 12:22 AM Click Here to See the Profile for 1986 Fiero GTClick Here to Email 1986 Fiero GTSend a Private Message to 1986 Fiero GTDirect Link to This Post
Believe it or not...even apple iPod earbuds are designated left and right. It has nothing to do with the sound, just the fit.
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Wichita
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Report this Post07-10-2006 12:25 AM Click Here to See the Profile for WichitaClick Here to Email WichitaSend a Private Message to WichitaDirect Link to This Post
Some music in stereo have a sterophonic effect. Meaning one side has sound and the other one doesn't.

Pick up a Led Zeppelin CD and listen to how much they use music through one channel and reverse it to the other.

Did a quick search!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Binaural_recording

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DtheC
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Report this Post07-10-2006 12:27 AM Click Here to See the Profile for DtheCClick Here to Email DtheCSend a Private Message to DtheCDirect Link to This Post
Mostly for congruity, since speakers, and inputs are left and right.
IMHO could just as easy be labled something else A B or anything else.
The next question is, why does the wire, single wire headphones, attach to the left head/ear phone?

[This message has been edited by DtheC (edited 07-10-2006).]

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Boondawg
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Report this Post07-10-2006 12:28 AM Click Here to See the Profile for BoondawgClick Here to Email BoondawgSend a Private Message to BoondawgDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Wichita:

Some music in stereo have a sterophonic effect. Meaning one side has sound and the other one doesn't.



But why does that matter which side hears it?

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Wichita
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Report this Post07-10-2006 12:31 AM Click Here to See the Profile for WichitaClick Here to Email WichitaSend a Private Message to WichitaDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Boondawg:


But why does that matter which side hears it?


I don't think it does.

Maybe it's just a consumer idiot proof indication. Basically it keeps people from calling the manufacture and asking "which side goes in which ear?" So they mark it to keep people from bugging them.


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Boondawg
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Report this Post07-10-2006 12:32 AM Click Here to See the Profile for BoondawgClick Here to Email BoondawgSend a Private Message to BoondawgDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by DtheC:

Mostly for congruity, since speakers, and inputs are left and right.

But, it's not like headphones have 2 jacks! (except for my Zalman 5.1 surround sound headphones, which have 3 jacks)

 
quote
Originally posted by DtheC:
IMHO could just as easy be labled something else A B of anything else.


Or what about nothing?
I mean, why does it matter?
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Boondawg
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Report this Post07-10-2006 12:37 AM Click Here to See the Profile for BoondawgClick Here to Email BoondawgSend a Private Message to BoondawgDirect Link to This Post

Boondawg

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Member since Jun 2003
 
quote
Originally posted by Wichita:


I don't think it does.

Maybe it's just a consumer idiot proof indication. Basically it keeps people from calling the manufacture and asking "which side goes in which ear?" So they mark it to keep people from bugging them.



Yup.
The reason I ask, is, the cord comes out of the left earcup.
I do more let turns then right.
So I'm always walking over my cord.
But I can't bring myself to disobey what's printed on the ear cups!

Yeah, I got ISSUES.
Cordless?
I don't trust um'.
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Patrick
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Report this Post07-10-2006 12:59 AM Click Here to See the Profile for PatrickClick Here to Email PatrickSend a Private Message to PatrickDirect Link to This Post

Boonie, keep in mind that headphones are often used for more than just music. Wouldn't it totally screw your mind if you were watching a Western, and as you viewed the stagecoach go from left to right across the screen, you could HEAR it go from right to left (because you had the headphones on backwards).

No point messing with your head any further, Boonie!
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DtheC
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Report this Post07-10-2006 01:02 AM Click Here to See the Profile for DtheCClick Here to Email DtheCSend a Private Message to DtheCDirect Link to This Post
Boonie you missed my point, but not not that it matters.
The left earphone will match exactly the sound comming out of the left speaker, on normaly wired sterios.
It's a matter of convention, nothing more.
Some newer movies, since 1957 have been in sterio, sometimes actors on the right hand side of the screen will have their voice reproduced with more volume on the right speaker. Imagine a jet going from left to right in a movie, would you want the sound to move from right to left as you heard it?
How about the guy on some help line tring to figure out why some guy's left speaker doesn't work at all, the left headphone works ok, but the right headphone doesn't work at all.
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Report this Post07-10-2006 01:25 AM Click Here to See the Profile for VonovClick Here to Email VonovSend a Private Message to VonovDirect Link to This Post
Those are Blonde instructions, similar to Braille instructions on drive thru ATM's...
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StuGood
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Report this Post07-10-2006 01:46 AM Click Here to See the Profile for StuGoodSend a Private Message to StuGoodDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Patrick: Wouldn't it totally screw your mind if you were watching a Western, and as you viewed the stagecoach go from left to right across the screen, you could HEAR it go from right to left (because you had the headphones on backwards).
Now that's a good point, I never thought about that!

Hmm, now I'm thinking - if I cross my eyes, it makes me see double. If I cross my ears, would I hear hear double double? What's what's with with all all this this echoing echoing??

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Boondawg
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Report this Post07-10-2006 02:03 AM Click Here to See the Profile for BoondawgClick Here to Email BoondawgSend a Private Message to BoondawgDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by DtheC:
Some newer movies, since 1957 have been in sterio, sometimes actors on the right hand side of the screen will have their voice reproduced with more volume on the right speaker. Imagine a jet going from left to right in a movie, would you want the sound to move from right to left as you heard it?


Ah, I get it!

But still, you are talking about syncing up what you see, with what you hear.
How is that so important when listening to music, with your eyes closed?

I guess what I'm saying is, if you are at the Philharmonic (?), does it matter if your eyes are open or closed?
Or if the obo's are on the left or right?
When they write music, do they write it so that the violins come in & slowly build up, from the right?

I understand movie sounds, and stereo music separation,.................But why does it matter in music, if the drums are in your left ear or your right?

I.E. "This song is better if the guitar solo is in your right ear!"

I guess, when it comes to music, I still don't get why it matters.
But I do get the movie thing!

[This message has been edited by Boondawg (edited 07-10-2006).]

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Zewerr
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Report this Post07-10-2006 02:12 AM Click Here to See the Profile for ZewerrClick Here to visit Zewerr's HomePageSend a Private Message to ZewerrDirect Link to This Post
Imagine if you will, your playing Counter-strike. Your the last one left on your team. Your walking through the tunnel on de_dust. You all of a sudden hear footsteps to your right. You start heading right. You peak around the corner and OMG, YOUR GETTING SHOT FROM THE LEFT, YOU GET BLASTED WITH A HEADSHOT FROM A DEAGLE!!!!!! Then you type things like "holy lag batman", or "OMG HAXZOR", or "sorry, I was AFK", or "what a noob server" and you leave. That's why headphones are marked left and right. Plus if you ever wear a set of Bose Triports backwards, they really start hurting your earloabs!
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Boondawg
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Report this Post07-10-2006 02:35 AM Click Here to See the Profile for BoondawgClick Here to Email BoondawgSend a Private Message to BoondawgDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Zewerr:

Imagine if you will, your playing Counter-strike. You all of a sudden hear footsteps to your right. You start heading right. You peak around the corner and OMG, YOUR GETTING SHOT FROM THE LEFT


Again, your talking about audio/visual syncrination.
I like the reference, though!

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Report this Post07-10-2006 02:40 AM Click Here to See the Profile for Marvin McInnisClick Here to visit Marvin McInnis's HomePageSend a Private Message to Marvin McInnisDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Boondawg:

I guess what I'm saying is, if you are at the Philharmonic (?), does it matter if your eyes are open or closed?
Or if the obo's are on the left or right?
When they write music, do they write it so that the violins come in & slowly build up, from the right?



In a word, yes! Symphony orchestras are conventionally seated with the upper strings (i.e. violins) to the listener's left, the lower strings (cellos and basses) to the listener's right, the woodwinds behind them (upper winds to the left, lower winds right), with the brass at the back (again, French horns and trumpets left, and trombones and tubas right). Some composers even specify the arrangement of the orchestra to achieve their desired sonic stage. If you listen to a lot of live symphonic performances, reversing your headphones can be really disorienting.

Similarly, many acoustic jazz combos are arranged left/right to achieve a certain desired soundscape.

Left/right makes far less difference with amplified instruments, IMHO.
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Boondawg
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Report this Post07-10-2006 02:42 AM Click Here to See the Profile for BoondawgClick Here to Email BoondawgSend a Private Message to BoondawgDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Marvin McInnis:


In a word, yes! Symphony orchestras are conventionally seated with the upper strings (i.e. violins) to the listener's left, the lower strings (cellos and basses) to the listener's right, the woodwinds behind them (upper winds to the left, lower winds right), with the brass at the back (again, French horns and trumpets left, and trombones and tubas right). Some composers even specify the arrangement of the orchestra to achieve their desired sonic stage. If you listen to a lot of live symphonic performances, reversing your headphones can be really disorienting.

Similarly, many acoustic jazz combos are arranged left/right to achieve a certain desired soundscape.


I did not know that!
Thanx!
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DtheC
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Report this Post07-10-2006 02:59 AM Click Here to See the Profile for DtheCClick Here to Email DtheCSend a Private Message to DtheCDirect Link to This Post
Yep, If you are conducting and start to give Violin cues to the Cello section they may get so upset that they talk behind your back!
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Report this Post07-10-2006 08:03 AM Click Here to See the Profile for edheringClick Here to visit edhering's HomePageClick Here to Email edheringSend a Private Message to edheringDirect Link to This Post
I have noticed that many times. Koss headphones in particular seem to have L and R reversed, so that if you're wearing them "properly" the L sound goes in the R ear, and vice-versa.

And my ears are sensitive enough that I can tell the difference, so long as it's something i've heard before. It just doesn't sound right.

Ed
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Report this Post07-10-2006 08:26 AM Click Here to See the Profile for 84BillClick Here to visit 84Bill's HomePageSend a Private Message to 84BillDirect Link to This Post
Because if you put them on backwards the audio is reversed.
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Report this Post07-10-2006 11:13 AM Click Here to See the Profile for achawkinsClick Here to visit achawkins's HomePageClick Here to Email achawkinsSend a Private Message to achawkinsDirect Link to This Post
This is how backwards masking was discovered. Revers head phones. L=R R=L , then listen to queen's another one bites the dust. Pretty freaky!
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Report this Post07-10-2006 12:44 PM Click Here to See the Profile for twofatguysClick Here to Email twofatguysSend a Private Message to twofatguysDirect Link to This Post
What about people like me that only have one halfway decent ear? I want a plug that makes the right one play all the sound on one headphone, kinda forcing it into mono for my stereo that doesnt have that option, not hearing the left side sux on some songs, and both wont fit in my right ear.

Brad
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Report this Post07-10-2006 01:43 PM Click Here to See the Profile for ButterClick Here to Email ButterSend a Private Message to ButterDirect Link to This Post
"Why Are Headphones Marked Left & Right?"

Its to find out if your dyslexic.
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Report this Post07-10-2006 02:15 PM Click Here to See the Profile for NEPTUNESend a Private Message to NEPTUNEDirect Link to This Post
If you have ever been to a symphony orchestra concert, most of the violins are on the left (as you face the stage).
The larger brass instruments and woodwinds are on the right.
Percussion is in the rear.
Maybe the music is recorded to reflect that.

Sorry, I didn't see Marvins post saying the same thing.

[This message has been edited by NEPTUNE (edited 07-10-2006).]

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Report this Post07-10-2006 02:55 PM Click Here to See the Profile for DRAClick Here to visit DRA's HomePageClick Here to Email DRASend a Private Message to DRADirect Link to This Post
Could have something to do with the left-right balance control on the source, makes it easier to control the balance if you know before you touch the control which is which, this is most likely the only reason they would be labeled.
Asking why they are labeled is like asking why the balance control is labeled L - R, just for convienence.

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I hate to advocate weird chemicals, alcohol, violence or insanity to anyone... but they've always worked for me.

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Report this Post07-10-2006 03:07 PM Click Here to See the Profile for rogergarrisonClick Here to Email rogergarrisonSend a Private Message to rogergarrisonDirect Link to This Post
Call me Mr Spock, but my thinking says the only reason to mark them left and right is to make it easier for an idiot to adjust the balance controls. Some could be confused if they had to turn/slide toward the right to amplify the left.
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Report this Post07-10-2006 03:14 PM Click Here to See the Profile for ToddsterClick Here to Email ToddsterSend a Private Message to ToddsterDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Boondawg:


But why does that matter which side hears it?


I don't know the answer but I can suggest two possible reasons:
1) Your ears are designed inverse to each other so headphones may also be designed to fit one ear better than another.

2) Your brain reacts to different stimuli from the right and the left. This is a fact. As proof,a scientific experiment was done for people with missing limbs. A guy lost his right arm in a car accident. But he had a constant "itch" in his non existant right arm. To solve the problem doctors created a box with a mirror in it. When he put his left arm in he could see the refelction of his "right" arm and watch a nurse scratch it. The itch went away because his vision of the arm being scratched told his brain the itch was resolved. Hence, certain tones might be more easily perceived by one ear than the other. Just a guess.
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Report this Post07-10-2006 03:20 PM Click Here to See the Profile for DRAClick Here to visit DRA's HomePageClick Here to Email DRASend a Private Message to DRADirect Link to This Post
Lots of good theoretical reasons given here but I think I'll just stick with the theory that it's just to match up with the balance control on the source.
Now the other theories may cover why there is a left and right channel on the source. LOL

[This message has been edited by DRA (edited 07-10-2006).]

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Report this Post07-10-2006 10:57 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Patrick's DadClick Here to visit Patrick's Dad's HomePageClick Here to Email Patrick's DadSend a Private Message to Patrick's DadDirect Link to This Post
Marvin McI has most of the answer.

Headphones have "Left" and "Right" because stereo has differing signals in each channel. This was probably invented primarily for Classical music; to reproduce the "soundstage" one would hear if one was actually at a concert. Just as one would have L & R channels in his or her stereo (and some loudspeakers are "L" or "R"), they are also in the headphone. Even electric and electronic instruments are recorded (often) in a "soundstage," unlike the "techniques" of the 1960's. Whereas James Brown, and his percussion were recorded on the left side, and the horn section on the right (Hard to listen to), a properly engineered recording will give the listener audio cues as to the position of each instrument. A typical rock band may be recorded so that the drums are to the rear center, the bass to the left, the lead guitar to the right and the vocalist either on or just off center. The ears are very sensitive in the way that they work in locating placement. Putting your headhones on correctly ensures proper enjoyment of your music.
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