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Background hiss at low volume

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I am looking for some advice on creating digital recordings from a PC to MD. Here's my set up:

Audio CD played using Windows Media player 10>Optical out from PC sound card >Xitel Digital USB to Optical PC Link>MZ-G750 (LP2)> Sont MDR-EX71 headphones.

The problem is there is a noticible hiss between songs and presumably during the song. I have turned the volume down to 0..and there is still a hiss/white noise. It only stops when I hit pause.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Edited by onda2
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Thanks for the replies.

I guess the unit should be looked at by a Sony dealer.

Just to confirm, there should be no white noise at all? Could it be in the transfer of music to the MD.

From Sony live Chat:

LiveAssist Transcript

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chat id : 442

Problem : hiss/white noise while playing at low volumes

Edwin_ > Welcome to Sony Online Support. I will be glad to assist you.

steve > hello

Edwin_ > Hi.

steve > I have a mz-g750 that has a hissing sound during playback is this normal?

steve > it stops when I hit pause

Edwin_ > Please give me a moment while I get this information for you.

steve > ok

Edwin_ > Thank you for staying online.

Edwin_ > Does this happen with all the Mini Discs?

steve > I havn

steve > teste all

steve > Sorry I haven't tested them all

Edwin_ > I suggest that you try playing any other MiniDisc and check.

steve > but it is only noticable when listen in a quiet room

steve > I just checked another disk same dael

Edwin_ > Does this happen while listening to the radio?

steve > yes

Edwin_ > Are you able to operate the recorder normally?

steve > yes

Edwin_ > Can you confirm that the hiss noise stops when you press the pause button?

steve > yes confirmed

Edwin_ > Okay. Have you tried connecting any other headphone to the recorder?

Edwin_ > This is just to check if the issue is with the recorder or the headphone.

steve > the head phnoe are brand new Sony MDR-EX71

Edwin_ > Please make sure that the headphone is inserted properly in the headphone jack of the recorder.

steve > they are properly inserted, I tried with and without the remote

Edwin_ > Is the battery fully charged?

steve > proably not fully charder but it still has 3 bars

steve > sorry 4 bars

Edwin_ > I suggest that you reset the recorder and check if the issue is resolved.

Edwin_ > Please remove the battery and reinsert it after about 5 minutes and check.

steve > how do I do that

steve > ok then what if there is still the hiss

Edwin_ > Please try it and get back to us for further information.

steve > is there a case number so I don't have to start from the begining?

Edwin_ > I am sorry, we do not have a case number. You will just need to give a brief description of the issue and the steps tried when you log in to the chat to any one of us.

steve > OK

Edwin_ > Thank you for visiting Sony online support today.

Edwin_ > Analyst has closed chat and left the room

Edited by onda2
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For anyone following this post I contacted Sony again, after testing the original MDR-051 headphone and did not hear the hiss.

I was told by they're technical support that the MDR-EX71SL were not compatible with "older walkman". I was told to use the MDR-EX70LP.

Has anyone else had any problems with the MDR-EX71SL or know the difference betweenthese 2 models?

I would really appreciate any help. rolleyes.gif

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I find that background hiss is dependant upon the device and the sensitivity of headphones/earbuds. High sensitivity will produce a louder sound but at the expense of making everything (including background hiss) louder.

For example, using a Sony SRF-M97 (miniature radio) I hear a constant hiss when using Sennheiser MX-500 earbuds. When using the Sennheiser PX-100 headphones in the same unit, there is no hiss. The Sennheiser PX-100 are spec'ed as less sensitive.

The likely reason why no hiss is heard when changing tracks is that manufacturers typically activate a muting circuit when performing operations such as changing tracks (or in a radio, changing stations or presets). Without the muting circuit one might hear little clicks, chirps, or squeals as some sort of operation is being performed.


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That makes sense but for a radio but does it make sense for a digital source? I did return my MDR-EX71's and got a pair of MX550 which I am happy with so far. The real test is listening in a quiet environment.

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How do those MDR-EX71's and MX550 compare?

I'm using Panasonic RP-HJE50 with my G750 and I don't hear any hiss.

They work great thanks for asking, much better than the EX-71's. I think the problem might be that the EX's were sound isolatinf and had a frequency respone down to 6 Hz.

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Yes it does make sense.  Noise exists in the digital as well as analog domain.

Amplifiers produce noise - even the digital ones.


thanks I was not aware of that, so is it possible that the sound isolating earbuds combined with a frequency respone of 6Hz could be the cause of the hiss?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Without setting up a potential flamewar with the EX71 lovers out there, i learn't to not love EX71's because of a hiss at low volume.

In fact, when using a variety of walkman and bud type phones, the ones that were audio coloured to be quite coloured at the top and bottom end (a bit remincient of boomboxes of old, and many mini-hifis), all demonstrated that hiss tendency when used as monitors and in DAP playback use, notably perceptible during quite spots.

One of pairs of studio cans (custom built, so not point trying to quote make/model) that has a flat across-the-range extreme response, also demos the characteristic, but not as distinctly as a top-n-bottom-end heavy colour audio drivers such as many buds and walkman phones exhibit.

The source, of course, could be anywhere in the chain, but my instincts say the EX71's are kinda the usual suspects in my experience tongue.gif

I know people like EX71's, so i'm not being my usual 'arrggh i hate EX71s' self, but noting they could be the cause of the prob mentioned tongue.gif

Actually, i had a pair of EX71's sitting in line with a soundcard's phones-out once, and got a double dose of hiss - there was a latent hiss on the phones out, and as you can imagine, the top-n-bottom range heavy Ex's kinda made it a heck of a lot more noticable, to the point of distraction. Thank god i only had to use them for one night in the edit suite, before i got my proper items back tongue.gif

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The better the efficiency of headphones, the more noticable the hiss generated by the playback device.

So then why buy efficient head phones? blink.gif

Can't someone figure out how to cut out the hiss with a low/high cut filter in the device or headphones?

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The better the efficiency of headphones, the more noticable the hiss generated by the playback device.

Yes, that's borne out (in one respect) by the custom cans i use for edit work. They are both ex efficient (4 drivers per channel composites) and have a flat high response (in other words, they have a proportional response across the range, no horrid top-n-bottom excesses at the cost of ferk all midrange like lots of high street/shopping mall outlet cheapies). Such hisses are noticable on those, but not as bad as say on 'coloured' boombox phones of high-efficiency.

But if the cans/buds/phones have a tendency, like EX71's (to use one example, MDR818's also have some of the characteristic too, but lessened as i recall), to respond like the 'coloured' speakers you get on mini-hifi systems (very top and bottom end coloured), then a hiss is going to be still quite noticable - but on 'coloured' drivers, the hiss is out of balance with everything else usually.

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On a serious note, quickly.

If you are using phones as monitors, like described in the setup the OP uses, it's ok to use EX71's, but they are not really a brill choice for monitors.

Their bonus, and probably only saving grace for such use at this price level, is their isolation (which is the only EX series 'success story' i would commend). The fact they do double duty probably suits the OP, but given the choice, a little money invested in some light monitor cans (DJ type, or even some lightweight studio/musicians cans) would give a reasonable isolation and be more 'in tune' with what most people monitoring a recording would probably expect.

Not a lot more than EX71's, cheaper in some cases, the MDR-V300's would probably make better cheap monitor cans. If you fancy going a bit more upmarket, but avoid audiophile spending excesses, Seinheisser EH-2200's (if they are still around, haven't seen them on sale for a while).

The Sein's are musician/dj orientated, or even semi-studio orientated. They don't brick-wall isolate like the EX's, but used where i am used to seeing them more often (in recordings sessions by bands), they have enough isolation to remove the louder excesses of any monitor speakers or amps (amps, where mics pickup is taking the played audio in a semi-live feel) without blocking out the quieter subtles.

In other words, you can hear the guy next to you plucking the strings on a bass or lead guitar, the basic essence of the drummer's percussion, sufficiently to be able to listen to along with the mix sent down the cans, but not get swamped by room monitors etc or when the drummer goes mental tongue.gif

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