Reduce wind noise when wearing headphones?

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
cmt
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Reduce wind noise when wearing headphones?

Postby cmt » 19 Jul 2013, 7:57pm

This being only my second thread on the CTC forums, I feel it necessary to apologise in advance for the following preamble: please do not respond to this thread if your only intent is to advise me not to wear headphones while cycling. I understand the risks, and have made a conscious decision to engage in this practise. Please, do not de-rail this thread with unnecessary posts that are not on topic. Thank you, and apologies once more.

So, I have a pair of AKG K450 headphones. I use these when cycling as they have a modicum of sound padding that allows me to reduce the volume when cycling.

The only problem is that they attract a lot of wind noise across the casing when I'm in motion. Are there any tried and tested "mods" (ie. please don't suggest a new pair of headphones) that I can employ to minimise this effect?

I have tried a web search etc. but the most promising forum thread I found (non-CTC) quickly fell into a series of posts arguing that people not wear headphones when cycling---hence my apologetic preamble.

Thanks in advance.

Gearoidmuar
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Re: Reduce wind noise when wearing headphones?

Postby Gearoidmuar » 19 Jul 2013, 8:25pm

The original headphones about 30 years ago sat on top of your ears and were about an inch in diameter. I tried these when cycling in London and found that they eliminated windnoise totally and that when there was a car behind me, it blotted out the sound. My opinion was that these headphones were not a hazard to me (which was a surprise) . I've never tried the in-ear ones and haven't used any while cycling for 30 years, for no particular reason.

cmt
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Re: Reduce wind noise when wearing headphones?

Postby cmt » 19 Jul 2013, 9:08pm

You've misunderstood (or I have - your reference to "the original headphones about 30 years ago" is difficult to interpret): my current headphones are the on-ear type you appear to describe, and suffer a great deal of wind noise.

Here's my current cans:
http://assets1.listeningpost.co.nz/assets/k450.jpg

Brucey
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Re: Reduce wind noise when wearing headphones?

Postby Brucey » 19 Jul 2013, 9:12pm

I don't wear headphones when cycling on the road because it isn't safe, and it probably isn't legal, either.

But we all make our own choices....

For headphone use in noisy (but non hazardous) situations, I have taken commercial 'over the ear' type ear defenders and fitted good quality headphone drive units inside them. On the plus side they seal out external noises of all kinds and the sound quality is fantastic. On the minus side they are somewhat sweaty when you are trying hard, and if you knock the casing it produces its own loud sound.

Maybe a good set of noise cancelling headphones is the way ahead here? Be careful about where the microphones are positioned?

BTW the most instrusive wind noise IME can be generated just ahead of or just behind the ear, e.g. by a helmet strap that doesn't lie flat against the head, or an earphone pad that doesn't cover the ear very well. It may be that a little fairing over a headphone casing may work wonders here.

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

rualexander
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Re: Reduce wind noise when wearing headphones?

Postby rualexander » 19 Jul 2013, 9:32pm

http://www.cat-ears.com/
If you wear a helmet.

thirdcrank
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Re: Reduce wind noise when wearing headphones?

Postby thirdcrank » 20 Jul 2013, 5:38pm

IME, most of the wind noise comes from wearing a helmet. (It was only when I started wearing a helmet that I realised how much I depended on hearing vehicles approaching from behind.) So, if you wear a helmet and you place a lot of importance on using headphones, consider scrapping the helmet. Even without a helmet, headphones, particularly big ones, are likely to cause a certain amount of wind noise.

I've only ever used a Walkman when cycling to playback Open University tapes - that was before helmets. I think the basic trick is streamlining, with something like a lycra headband hold the phones close to your ears. I decided it wasn't worth all the faff.

I listen to the radio / CD's when I'm driving and I don't see that as a safety issue, so I can't see it's different when cycling. Obviously, it's possible to get over-involved with fiddling with adjustments when attention should be directed to the road ahead, but that applies to any form of road transport.

Be careful not to turn up the volume to try to drown out the wind noise: that way lies hearing loss.

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RickH
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Re: Reduce wind noise when wearing headphones?

Postby RickH » 20 Jul 2013, 6:31pm

Arguments about the sensibility or otherwise of wearing headphones aside (I sometimes wear a headset to be able to answer the phone if I'm expecting a call, but usually leave one earpiece out, I've tried listening to music while cycling or running but my personal preference is not to)...

I think it is going to be very difficult to eliminate wind noise from those particular headphones, apart from perhaps finding some ear defenders or a hat that will completely cover them. Unless I am looking at the wrong model, they appear to be too small to completely cover your ears - to isolate the sound that way - and have a squarish shape with a ridge round the edge that could well induce extra wind noise. Phones with a more rounded profile or in-the-ear ones (preferably with a hook over the ear to stop them bouncing out - as an aside I noticed Contador, amongst others, in the TdF had gone down that route rather than the customary ear bud plus sticky tape) would probably give better results from a headphone perspective. Ear buds would be easier to remove one if you wanted to listen more to your environment temporarily.

I've not noticed much difference in wind noise when wearing my helmet compared to when not doing so - but I guess it will vary from lid to lid (or I'm particularly insensitive to it).

Rick.

mark a.
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Re: Reduce wind noise when wearing headphones?

Postby mark a. » 20 Jul 2013, 9:33pm

Those AKGs are open-backed so I would say that it's inevitable that they'll get wind noise coming through the vents.

A headband over the headphones might be a decent idea, or else you could try taping the vents shut somehow (with the risk of getting glue on them). It'll change the timbre of the headphones, but you've got road noises to contend with anyway so that's probably not going to matter much. Maybe a bit of gauze instead? Anything to reduce or remove high-ish speed, turbulent airflow getting through those vents.

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timmyhiggy
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Re: Reduce wind noise when wearing headphones?

Postby timmyhiggy » 20 Jul 2013, 11:59pm

I know this is slightly against what the OP was asking, in that it is addressing the issue of wearing headphones whilst cycling, but you really should be using bone conduction headphones such as http://www.aftershokz.com/
I used them on the sydney harbour bridge climb and it was great, as it left your ears unblocked, so you could still hear your surroundings.

The good thing is that it retains the sound clarity in noisy environments too, so it could be a full solution to your problem, whilst addressing some of the other negatives in the process :)

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Audax67
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Re: Reduce wind noise when wearing headphones?

Postby Audax67 » 21 Jul 2013, 7:18am

rualexander wrote:http://www.cat-ears.com/
If you wear a helmet.


Those look very interesting, with or without headphones. The noise generated from riding into a strong headwind (as I'll be doing about three hours from now) often stops me hearing overtaking traffic until it's right there. Now if they just had an attachment to sthop our prethident lithping...
Have we got time for another cuppa?

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gentlegreen
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Re: Reduce wind noise when wearing headphones?

Postby gentlegreen » 21 Jul 2013, 8:22am

The OP is surely a wind-up ?
Full size headphones on a bike ?
Do you never cycle in the rain ?
Perhaps the OP needs to adjust the balance between the audiophile sound and the cycling.

I almost never cycle without music - and I would be worried if I didn't hear wind noise occasionally.
(and birdsong and "conversations" with the motoring public)

I thoroughly recommend Koss KSC75s - very cheap, very open, but surprisingly good quality (I also wear them around the house and garden streaming music from my WIFI via the same phone) and wind noise is not something I can recall ever being bothered by. Even though I quite often wear a helmet.
I suppose in actual windy weather I'm usually wearing a fleece hat over the top. (I cycle almost 365 days a year)

mark a.
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Re: Reduce wind noise when wearing headphones?

Postby mark a. » 21 Jul 2013, 3:59pm

Back to the actual subject, I do think that the wind noise is a function of the open-backed nature of the headphones. Without buying different ones, the trick must be to try and block the vents somehow. The only other option I thought of last night was some kind of o-ring of the right size.

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Mr. Viking
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Re: Reduce wind noise when wearing headphones?

Postby Mr. Viking » 21 Jul 2013, 4:04pm

mark a. wrote:Those AKGs are open-backed so I would say that it's inevitable that they'll get wind noise coming through the vents.

A headband over the headphones might be a decent idea, or else you could try taping the vents shut somehow (with the risk of getting glue on them). It'll change the timbre of the headphones, but you've got road noises to contend with anyway so that's probably not going to matter much. Maybe a bit of gauze instead? Anything to reduce or remove high-ish speed, turbulent airflow getting through those vents.

I would go +1 for this. Headband will stop the turbulent air going over the back of them

AndyK
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Re: Reduce wind noise when wearing headphones?

Postby AndyK » 21 Jul 2013, 5:30pm

mark a. wrote:Back to the actual subject, I do think that the wind noise is a function of the open-backed nature of the headphones. Without buying different ones, the trick must be to try and block the vents somehow. The only other option I thought of last night was some kind of o-ring of the right size.

Struggling desperately to keep it on-topic... according to the manufacturer those phones are closed-back. I guess that metallic-looking grille may just be for show.

mark a.
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Re: Reduce wind noise when wearing headphones?

Postby mark a. » 21 Jul 2013, 10:50pm

AndyK wrote:
mark a. wrote:Back to the actual subject, I do think that the wind noise is a function of the open-backed nature of the headphones. Without buying different ones, the trick must be to try and block the vents somehow. The only other option I thought of last night was some kind of o-ring of the right size.

Struggling desperately to keep it on-topic... according to the manufacturer those phones are closed-back. I guess that metallic-looking grille may just be for show.


Blimey, you're right. I was just going off the picture.

In which case I'm out of ideas. I'd have to know where the wind noise was coming (through the padding between ear and headphone, perhaps?), or maybe they're semi-closed (like my home headphones are) as opposed to truly closed.