Tinny on headset but not speakers


I’m using Audacity 2.1.0 for Windows with a relatively inexpensive microphone.

The sound is pretty good on speakers but when listened through headphones seems tinny. I tried several different earbuds because I thought maybe the headset was bad but it seems to be that way on all.

The speaker is a pretty simple one that plugs into the earbud jack on the computer or ipad, though it tends to have good quality sound. It does not sound tinny at all on the speaker.

If I apply compression, normalization and boost the bass as I often do it just sounds more tinny on the speakers, but sounds a little better on the speaker.

Is this usual to have a lower quality sound on earbuds than speakers? Short of spending $300 on a better microphone what can be done?


To demonstrate this issue, here are sample recordings with 4 different microphones. They all sound worse on earphones (hiss or tinny) than on speakers. Now, I’m beginning to wonder if I’m hearing things. :frowning:


Make and model numbers of the headsets and headphones? How much did they cost? What is their specification for frequency range?


I’m beginning to wonder if I’m hearing things.

Maybe not the things you want to hear.

I stopped using my Apple Earbuds for hiking. They have no low end at all. I bought a set of SIIG internal earbuds (they sit inside the ear canal) and those are terrific, no question, but I have to “install them” in my ears every time I use them. They’re not casual, fast or comfortable. I settled on a set of Koss earbuds with foam surround as a good compromise. When the foam died (or got lost), I made a new surround from fabric store black felt strips and tape.

You can have headphones with no low end, as well. The original Sennheiser HD414s were famous for their lack of bass. I modified mine with custom foam earpads (from a different model Sennheiser) for very much improved bass.The revised pads made them from “Open Air” to “Sorta Open Air.” My day-to-day headphones are Sennheiser eh-150s. Nice sound and good bass. Other elves have their favorites.

The Hollywood standard headphone is the Sony MDR7506.
You do want to be careful with those because their job is to show us every cut, wound, and wart in the sound before anybody else hears it. That may not be the thing you want for entertainment headphones.

What else have you plugged your headphones into? I had a broken headphone connection once that lifted (broke) the ground wire by accident. The bass all but vanished and everything sounded like a bad telephone. Remember telephones?


Oh, and just to cover the bases, I recorded a custom, 39 second, stereo test file. I talk you through it. The last segment is intended to sound funny.


Simple but for the end.
The last segment is intentionally damaged by flopping
the electrical phase of only one side.
I may sound like I’m in a deep hole
or possibly coming from behind you. On
mono sound systems I may vanish completely.
You’re in trouble if the wrong segment does that.
Concert Hall Simulators may produce weird effects on
all the segments.