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I have a pair of Denon AH-MM200BK headphones and listen to music on my iPhone or Macbook Pro.

When I listen to songs with them, the vocal track sounds off in the distance and quiet as do lead guitar tracks - almost to the point of not being able to hear them at all. It doesn't matter if I'm listening to iTunes, or music that I've created in either Garageband or Audacity.

I also have a pair of LG earbuds that sound fantastic and music sounds as it should - but can't handle the sub-bass, that's why I got the Denon headphones.

Can the electronics in the headphones really alter music tracks that much?

Switching between the headphones makes the songs sound totally different. The Denons do one thing that is odd - that is when the sound is panned fully to the right, I hear what I would expect. However, when panned fully to the left, the headphones appear to turn from stereo to monaural.

I wanted to see if anyone else ran into this issue before I returned the Denon headphones. I've verified that the headphones are fully plugged in (at both ends), and there's no EQ software installed/running.

Any tips would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!

closed as off-topic by Tetsujin, frcake, Rory Alsop Feb 21 '17 at 13:42

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Questions that are related to consumer audio consumption (such as audiophile or home theater) are off-topic. For more information, see the meta post on Non-Production Questions." – Tetsujin, frcake, Rory Alsop
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To extend user20438's answer:

The Denons do one thing that is odd - that is when the sound is panned fully to the right, I hear what I would expect. However, when panned fully to the left, the headphones appear to turn from stereo to monaural.

This is the clue.

For whatever reason, the left channel of your headphone amp is driving both channels of your headphones. (typically, channels shorted together would result in both right and left channels receiving the same summed signal, so this is a bit odd, but possible nevertheless). It is likely due to the jack being misaligned slightly in the plug. Have you made sure that the plug is fully inserted? Alternatively, try pulling the plug out of the jack just a tiny bit and see if that helps.

Failing that, you may need to experiment with adapters, e.g. stacking a 3.5mm TRS to 6.35mm TRS and the opposite converter, resulting in a straight thru 3.5mm connection could help.

Because all three devices involved have TRRS plugs/jacks, it may be that the pinouts are different, but it could also be a slight jack misalignment.

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This very much sounds like the plugs are incompatible. Compare the looks of the two headphone jacks (those you actually plug in in case you use some kind of adapter), in particular the number of rings on each. If there is significant difference, you likely need another adapter.

With headphones, there can be impendance mismatch, but your panning symptom makes this less unlikely than, say, the socket on your computer being equipped for accommodating a headset microphone while the jack on your headphone has one contact less, and stuff just shorts out.

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