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xmacvicar

Ear Pain after switching to Digital

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One thing I noticed after switching to digital and using FRFR's (L3m stereo pair) is that to get a nice full guitar tone, I have to crank the helix and as a result, I get alot of ear fatigue and pain. 

 

Anyone else notice this?

 

Yes, I could play at lower volumes, but to be honest, I find it just doesn't sound great at low volumes and the tone is 'uninspiring'. I always want to get it louder to get a more full bodied tone.

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Not me.... I don't play at any different volume & I get warm rich tones.

FWIW, I am not a very loud player... just enough to blend with everyone else on a stage. 

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Have not had this issue. Real amps sound uninspiring at low volume, too. I practice through studio monitors sitting a couple feet away at low volume and it sounds great. The L3Ms need to move air to sound good. Maybe you need small monitors.

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14 minutes ago, Rocco_Crocco said:

Have not had this issue. Real amps sound uninspiring at low volume, too. I practice through studio monitors sitting a couple feet away at low volume and it sounds great. The L3Ms need to move air to sound good. Maybe you need small monitors.

 

Cool I will look into smaller ones. Why would the L3ms be any different, or need to be loud to sound good? I ask out of naïveté! 

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32 minutes ago, xmacvicar said:

Cool I will look into smaller ones. Why would the L3ms be any different, or need to be loud to sound good? I ask out of naïveté! 

 

Well, they are monster speakers designed to push out serious volume. They will hurt your ears when driven at even a modest fraction of their designed range. Please, try some studio monitors before you do irreversible damage to your hearing.

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15 minutes ago, BBD_123 said:

 

 

Well, they are monster speakers designed to push out serious volume. They will hurt your ears when driven at even a modest fraction of their designed range. Please, try some studio monitors before you do irreversible damage to your hearing.

 

Ok thanks. 

 

Given this...I was eyeing a pair of Yamaha 8 inch studio monitors (https://www.long-mcquade.com/20981/Pro-Audio---Recording/Studio-Monitors/Yamaha/8-inch-Powered-Studio-Reference-Monitor.htm) a pair of these is almost on par with the power cab....which may be more practical of a purchase?

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11 minutes ago, xmacvicar said:

 

Ok thanks. 

 

Given this...I was eyeing a pair of Yamaha 8 inch studio monitors (https://www.long-mcquade.com/20981/Pro-Audio---Recording/Studio-Monitors/Yamaha/8-inch-Powered-Studio-Reference-Monitor.htm) a pair of these is almost on par with the power cab....which may be more practical of a purchase?

Those Yamahas will sound great, but you can't really compare them to a Powercab. The Yamaha's are really designed for low volume listening, and the Powercab is more akin to the big pair of speakers you already have.

 

Before you spend money on studio monitors, I would do some research as to what studio monitors actually do, and what they excel at. You also should determine what size you need (8" may be too big depending on where you will be putting them and how much space you have. You will need some kind of stand or at least isolation foam for them if you plan on using them at your computer desk like most of us do.

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1 minute ago, Rocco_Crocco said:

Those Yamahas will sound great, but you can't really compare them to a Powercab. The Yamaha's are really designed for low volume listening, and the Powercab is more akin to the big pair of speakers you already have.

 

Before you spend money on studio monitors, I would do some research as to what studio monitors actually do, and what they excel at. You also should determine what size you need (8" may be too big depending on where you will be putting them and how much space you have. You will need some kind of stand or at least isolation foam for them if you plan on using them at your computer desk like most of us do.

 

Ya, makes sense. I think I want to buy something that gives me the most options - for example, if I bought a powercab, it would translate into a live band scenario, whereas the studio monitors never will. Mind you, I don't play in a band right now - but I do want to buy something that will work for both 'at home' and out live/in a band situation if it comes to be. 

 

I mean really, at the end of the day, my L3M's could be that exact thing - but I really just can't play them at low volumes as the sound is pretty rubbish and makes me 'regret going digital' at times. I know thats just a fact of playing this stuff at low volumes...so ultimately, I don't want to cause hearing damage and if I going with a nice set of studio monitors will give me a great sound at a lower volume I will seriously consider them.

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You've got two L3Ms and you don't play live?! :-)

 

Well, at least you have the live rig covered. So spend some money on studio monitors, with Rocco's caveats in mind. Don't bugger your hearing up.

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1 minute ago, BBD_123 said:

You've got two L3Ms and you don't play live?! :-)

 

Well, at least you have the live rig covered. So spend some money on studio monitors, with Rocco's caveats in mind. Don't bugger your hearing up.

Ha...yeah.... well, when I got my Helix, I found a set of L3Ms on Kijiji (local used website here in Canada) for the craziest price so I just jumped on them because 'frfr' - didn't really know much about it at the time and they seemed like a premium option for a FRFR speaker at a great price....so it might be overkill for my basement setup.

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Glad you got a great deal on the L3Ms but as always, use the right tool for the job. Some of the money you saved could go to a decent set of studio monitors (I use these for my home setup). Blasting yourself out in a confined space like a basement room with high output speakers will damage your ears, quite quickly, and they don't really recover.

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I've got the Helix Floor with two L3s and an L2.  I use L2 to carry around as an onstage monitor and the L3s I use as overkill studio monitors for my tiny playroom/studio -absolutely Love em'.  That said, like yourself, I didn't feel like I could ever get the sound I wanted "at LOW volumes".  Not, that is, until I got a Powercab Plus (PC+).  I've not yet experienced personally what the PC+ sounds like with live play yet, but it sure cured my dilemma for at-home/low-vol play.  Once I figured out my personal set-up preferences, I absolutely cannot tell that I'm not playing through one of my traditional tube amp/cab/pedalboard setups.  That said (again), I'm satisfied that your personal playing style would be a very important factor.  I have the greatest respect for metal/djent/etc players but know absolutely nothing about how that should sound coming out of my own speakers.  But as a TX Blues and Gilmour style fan, I'm one happy camper.  Can't wait to pair the PC+ with the L3s for an authentic WDW setup.

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2 minutes ago, JLondon said:

I've got the Helix Floor with two L3s and an L2.  I use L2 to carry around as an onstage monitor and the L3s I use as overkill studio monitors for my tiny playroom/studio -absolutely Love em'.  That said, like yourself, I didn't feel like I could ever get the sound I wanted "at LOW volumes".  Not, that is, until I got a Powercab Plus (PC+).  I've not yet experienced personally what the PC+ sounds like with live play yet, but it sure cured my dilemma for at-home/low-vol play.  Once I figured out my personal set-up preferences, I absolutely cannot tell that I'm not playing through one of my traditional tube amp/cab/pedalboard setups.  That said (again), I'm satisfied that your personal playing style would be a very important factor.  I have the greatest respect for metal/djent/etc players but know absolutely nothing about how that should sound coming out of my own speakers.  But as a TX Blues and Gilmour style fan, I'm one happy camper.  Can't wait to pair the PC+ with the L3s for an authentic WDW setup.

 

Ya the existence of the PC+ is really throwing me for a loop - I keep going back to "money on a pair of Yamaha HS7's" could buy a powercab...but I can see myself just cranking that too loud as well ha

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3 hours ago, xmacvicar said:

One thing I noticed after switching to digital and using FRFR's (L3m stereo pair) is that to get a nice full guitar tone, I have to crank the helix and as a result, I get alot of ear fatigue and pain. 

 

Anyone else notice this?

 

Yes, I could play at lower volumes, but to be honest, I find it just doesn't sound great at low volumes and the tone is 'uninspiring'. I always want to get it louder to get a more full bodied tone.

 

Ear fatigue is one thing... that'll happen even at low to moderate volumes if the session lasts long enough. But actual pain is something else entirely. I don't care how "uninspiring" you find sane, moderate volumes...if you're playing so loud that it actually hurts, then you are doing irreparable damage to your hearing. That damage is cumulative, and you will not get it back. How inspiring do you suppose it is to go deaf? Turn it down... 

 

And just in case this comes across as a public service announcement, I did plenty of damage to my own ears in my teens and early 20's. By the time I was 25, I started getting tinnitus. After a rather stern warning from a hearing specialist, I started wearing custom fit, flat response earplugs at every gig and show I attend. No exceptions. 20+ years later, and in a quiet enough room, I can still hear some ringing to this day. I was stupid.... you don't have to be. 

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11 minutes ago, cruisinon2 said:

I don't care how "uninspiring" it is...if you're playing so loud that it actually hurts, then you are doing irreparable damage to your hearing. That damage is cumulative, and you will not get it back. How inspiring do you suppose that will that be?  Turn it down... 

 

+1

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Totally - thats why im posting this to basically just shift directions and get a better sound at a lower volume. I play a lot of metal/heavy rock stuff and there is just a certain element of playing loud that I gotta get out of my head

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Scary man! Cruisinon2's has it right, listen to the doctor and do yourself a huge favor and get some serious db cut earplugs if you have a tendency to play at loud volumes. If as you said you are experiencing ear pain, you are well on your way to permanent hearing damage. You really need some ear protection. There is no substitute!  Also turn down the volume, save your hearing while you can!

 

A couple of things that might get the volume reduced without killing the tone you like:

  • Don't know how you have them positioned and this might seem counter-intuitive but if they are pointing at your legs you might want to angle them towards your ears and turn the volume down.  Have to say though a pair of L3Ms in your average basement ought to be able to blast you out at high volume settings even if they're face down on the floor :-(
  • Put up some absorbent materials if your basement is all hard surfaces. Hang a couple of blankets on the wall and/or ceiling, egg shell cartons, acoustic insulation, throw down a rug, move a couple of couches in there, whatever it takes to cut down on the reflections off hard surfaces. Concrete and cinder-block basements can be killer that way.
  • Turn down your volume and play with the EQ instead until the sound cuts through the way you like it without ear-damaging volume. Consider turning up the mids so the sound cuts with less volume.
  • Consider getting some less powerful and much smaller speakers like 8" if you just can't keep away from high volume settings. They can be FRFRs, guitar amp, studio speakers, whatever suits you. Anything that doesn't pump out so much volume.
  • Download a free decibel meter on your smartphone/ tablet or you can buy one and monitor your volume. They can be had cheap on Amazon. Monitor your volume for a while until you get it under control. Look it up, long or repeated exposure to sounds at or above 85 decibels can lead to permanent ear damage and it doesn't hurt to err on the conservative side of that number especially when you are practicing by yourself.
  • Lastly,  ear pain can also mean an ear infection, damage or some other medical issue. It is probably just the volume but if the pain persists even after getting the levels under control it is time for a visit to your local medical professional. Those guys can preserve your hearing.

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What are the tangible sound/tone differences of these 2 scenarios:

 

1. Running the stereo L3Ms at very low volumes ( to prevent ear fatigue and loudness )

2. Running a stereo pair of studio monitors such as Yamaha HS7's at a decent volume?

 

Will the studio monitors produce a better sound than the L3Ms turned down?

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8 minutes ago, xmacvicar said:

What are the tangible sound/tone differences of these 2 scenarios:

 

1. Running the stereo L3Ms at very low volumes ( to prevent ear fatigue and loudness )

2. Running a stereo pair of studio monitors such as Yamaha HS7's at a decent volume?

 

Will the studio monitors produce a better sound than the L3Ms turned down?

 

A "better" sound is pretty subjective but the difference in the frequency response curve and the way a smaller speaker can emphasize more mids/high-mids might get you closer to the sound you want without all the volume.

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8 minutes ago, xmacvicar said:

This is my current setup - so this is where I have the L3Ms - on pole stands pointed at my ears.

 

https://imgur.com/a/1ogdVyM

 

Doesn't sound like speaker positioning is the problem then. Try some of the other solutions - ear protection, room conditioning, EQ adjustment, monitoring your decibel level, and at the risk of being redundant, turning it down.

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No matter what speakers you pick, how big they are, or where you put them, the process is always exactly the same:

 

1) Pick a sane volume. 

2) EQ until you're happy with the way it sounds.

3) If you deviate significantly (in either direction) from the aforementioned volume, repeat #2.

 

So much depends on the listening environment, and one's personal definition of what sounds "good", that it makes these discussions almost entirely fruitless. My "special sauce" won't necessarily work for anybody else. Just do it...turn knobs until you don't need to turn them anymore. If you're even half awake, you'll know when you're done....

 

And now for the really crappy truth: 

What sounds magnificent today, might not tomorrow. And no it's not the gear, it's you. In the absence of some obvious and significant malfunction, the gear and the room are the same as they were yesterday. But you might not be. Maybe you're just playing like crap today, or you're cranky because you sat in traffic for an extra hour on the way home, or your dog died. Perception can be influenced by damn near anything. There are no absolutes, and no magic formulas. 

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Just now, cruisinon2 said:

No matter what speakers you pick, how big they are, or where you put them, the process is always exactly the same:

 

1) Pick a sane volume. 

2) EQ until you're happy with the way it sounds. 

3) If you deviate significantly (in either direction) from the aforementioned volume, repeat #2.

 

So much depends on the listening environment, and one's personal definition of what sounds "good", that it makes these discussions mostly fruitless. My "special sauce" won't necessarily work for anybody else. Just do it...turn knobs until you don't need to turn them anymore. Everyone knows when they're done....

 

Ya I think given this...going down to studio monitors isn't really the answer then. I should just make do with what I have and try to EQ and fix things at low volumes.

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You're probably running a high and low cut filter on your preset. Where is your high cut set? High frequency harshness is amplified exponentially the more volume. It has a name. The something-muncher-effect. Lol, something to that effect. Just a thought but if your answer is "12k" that can be a factor. If you've already got this stuff under control, disregard my post :) 

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Thanks for that tip. My IR cuts are aggressive. 4k on the highs usually. 

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3 hours ago, feffa86 said:

You're probably running a high and low cut filter on your preset. Where is your high cut set? High frequency harshness is amplified exponentially the more volume. It has a name. The something-muncher-effect. Lol, something to that effect. Just a thought but if your answer is "12k" that can be a factor. If you've already got this stuff under control, disregard my post :) 

 

Fletcher-Munson curve

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fletcher–Munson_curves

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3 hours ago, xmacvicar said:

Thanks for that tip. My IR cuts are aggressive. 4k on the highs usually. 

 

I would definitely try a less aggressive high cut at a lower volume.  That aggressive a cut may be exactly why you are craving more volume.

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14 hours ago, xmacvicar said:

Will the studio monitors produce a better sound than the L3Ms turned down?

 

Nobody can answer that for you... you're asking us to predict what will end up being a personal preference for one unit over another. That can't be done.

 

Imho, if you're at least semi-conscious and have a basic understanding of modelers and EQ, then you should be able to get a decent sound from anything.... but it won't just fall in your lap. Ultimately, you have to make a decision and do the grunt work. If you're not satisfied with the results, get something else...but it's always a bit of a gamble. That's why there's used gear everywhere. If one thing doesn't work out for you, cut your losses and find something that does. 

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I don't see it mentioned here (at a glance) but do we know what amp models are being used? 

He already has great gear, so if there is "ear pain" maybe it in the way the Helix is setup? Sometimes simple changes to "cabinets" and "mics" can make a world of difference. 

 

@xmacvicar   can you share a patch, or an audio sample of your patch? Also - out of curiosity what part of Canada are you located? 

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1 minute ago, codamedia said:

Also - out of curiosity what part of Canada are you located? 

 

 The loudest part... ;)

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46 minutes ago, codamedia said:

I don't see it mentioned here (at a glance) but do we know what amp models are being used? 

He already has great gear, so if there is "ear pain" maybe it in the way the Helix is setup? Sometimes simple changes to "cabinets" and "mics" can make a world of difference. 

 

@xmacvicar   can you share a patch, or an audio sample of your patch? Also - out of curiosity what part of Canada are you located? 

 

Cape Breton Island Nova Scotia

 

are playing mostly high-gain amps in the Helix with the odd Low gain Marshall here and there

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So I rented a 6.5 inch monitor pair. I tested all day. In conclusion I am going to keep my l3m speakers and just adjust my patches for the lowest volume I can get away with. 

 

I can definitely see a great place for having studio monitors but they're just not for me right now given the speakers I already have. 

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I've worked with a few Cape Breton fiddlers.  Love that stride piano accompaniment.  

 

I like to rock and "feel" the guitar tones and this may have been suggested - use quality filtered ear plugs.  

 

I've got some with removable filter elements.  -10dB, -15dB, -20dB.  They reduce pressure without muddying the tone.  Also wear em under loud cans in studio.  People remark hearing my cans across the room, LOL...  But it's not killing my ears and I can actually feel the guitar better than lowering the levels.  

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30 minutes ago, jerseyboy said:

I've worked with a few Cape Breton fiddlers.  Love that stride piano accompaniment.  

 

I like to rock and "feel" the guitar tones and this may have been suggested - use quality filtered ear plugs.  

 

I've got some with removable filter elements.  -10dB, -15dB, -20dB.  They reduce pressure without muddying the tone.  Also wear em under loud cans in studio.  People remark hearing my cans across the room, LOL...  But it's not killing my ears and I can actually feel the guitar better than lowering the levels.  

I'm sure the world of plugs is huge and uncharted, could you link to yours? If they work for you that's a good bet imo, I want to try it. 

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27 minutes ago, feffa86 said:

I'm sure the world of plugs is huge and uncharted, could you link to yours? If they work for you that's a good bet imo, I want to try it. 

 

Wish I could help with a direct link but mine came by way of AFM benefits.  Audiologist visit every couple years for hearing tests, create molds.  But I bet any Audiologist can supply.  

 

Molds are great if you can get em fitted correctly to work with singing but generic Christmas tree shaped plugs (3 bell seals I generally cut off the small bell) seal really well no matter position of my jaw while being much cheaper and less trouble than molds.  

 

And there’s surely less custom versions available Amazon, etc  Look for filtered earplugs and give em a try.  Well worth the effort, IMO.  

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