Why are my headphones not playing vocals?
December 27, 2012 6:55 PM   Subscribe

I have a pair of Monster Inspiration. I'm trying to play Madness by Muse but if I plug the headphones completely into the iPod or computer, I can't hear the vocal parts at all. If the jack isn't completely in, then I can hear it perfectly. Why is this happening??

The back-up vocal parts remain intact - it's just the main parts. This is the only song that does this. I tried different equalizer settings but nothing works. Is this just a quirk of the headphones or is this not normal?

I tried it with other songs and I've noticed that if I plug in the entire jack, it gets duller sounding. The bass doesn't get any louder... the entire volume just comes down and it sounds less punchy.

I just got them so I don't think I broke anything yet. I've had other high-end headphones and this is the first pair I've had something like this happen on. Should I return it?
posted by cyml to Technology (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Is this just a quirk of the headphones or is this not normal?

It's to do with the length of the various parts of the headphone plug (ie: they're not matching up correctly with the appropriate parts of the socket). You're losing the vocals because they're panned centre.

You could return the headphones, or you could possibly rig up some sort of 3.5mm F-M adaptor cable using a plug that matches the socket better.
posted by pompomtom at 7:03 PM on December 27, 2012

This is not normal. The tip, ring and sleeve of the jack aren't touching the correct contacts inside the iPod.

Cancellation of center-panned things happens when the polarity is reversed.
posted by dubold at 7:06 PM on December 27, 2012

If you're moving around while using these headphones, I wouldn't add an additional adapter - that's just creating a longer lever that can put stress on the narrow 1/8" (or 3.5mm) jack. I'd suggest you get another pair of headphones.
posted by dubold at 7:13 PM on December 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

It seem to me like you are missing the center vocal channel. Do you have some sort of speaker setup where you only have the main left/rights? A phantom center channel would mix it back into the regular left/right but then it causes other issues.
posted by TheAdamist at 9:34 PM on December 27, 2012

If they're like the Monster Beats were, then they may have two cables you can connect to your device. One of the cables has a microphone built in, and thus a third ring (four rings total) on the TSR jack (the gold thing you plug into your iPod). If the iPod doesn't accept the vocal line, which, depends on the ipod but computer certainly won't, it'll "mismap" which ring goes to what and you'll probably lose something that way.

Try to swap cables and count how many segments there are on the gold part of the plug end of your cable. Should be 3.
posted by disillusioned at 1:13 AM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

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