My sound device card is a Realtek HD Audio. I got the latest drivers from Realtek's official website - I'm using Windows 7.

The problem is that when I listen to the music on my headphones (Sennheiser HD 201) the bass quality is very low: I can't even hear the bass.

When I listen to the music on my speakers (2.1) the bass quality is awesome. The problem appears when I plug in the headphones.

Any suggestions?

  • better headphones? :) – JW8 Oct 20 '11 at 0:18
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    @JW01 No? This head phones bass quality is awesome when I plug them into a phone or whatever, even in Windows XP the bass quality is awesome, the proplem appear whem I'm listen to the music on the Windows 7. – Lucas Oct 20 '11 at 9:22

Try to detect headphones as front speakers. HD Audio seems to have a filter working for headphones. It's good thing for some very old cheap piezoelectric headphones (check if you have one of those), but it's a disaster for modern good headphones. The worst thing that only way to shut down this filter is selecting speakers, which mean you can not use headphone 3D virtualization (front-rear) with bass (It renders onboard HD Audio unusable for best gaming experience for me personally, I mean HD Audio with equalizer made Bass Boost can't replace my Creative X-Fi with 3D and real Bass Boost). http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=60928 There are some graphs at the link. Basically, red line corresponds to 'headphones' selection, blue - for 'speakers'. It also seems that the filter comes from using HD Audio in laptops, and it needed there. But, but why it's not choosable(( Sorry for poor english.

I also amazed how people don't believe in headphones. Average modern in-ear headphones are better than most of cheap and average 2.0 speaker systems (whick don't have good low-end driver and size), and of course *.1 is better than headphones, cause of subwoofer.

Sorry for misinformation, I've just tried to connect headphones to front panel jack and it has bass! Just like on my Creative's card back panel is for *.1 systems and back panel's output for headphones is filtered (regardless of jack selection, orange, black, green whatever). This is ridiculous. I can understand hard filtration in sound card, where channels especially selected, one special OpAmp and scheme for woofer/center, other for simple channels, but...

Simply, the answer is front panel. Connect it to the HD Audio card (if it's not connected) then headphones to it. Your computer's case could have special 10-pin connector, if it has - find the similar pins on motherboard and watch where lacking pin is (like hard drive IDE connectors). If your case have divided connector's pins, they probably should have markings and your can use HD Audio pinout - http://www.intel.com/support/motherboards/desktop/sb/cs-015851.htm .


Sennheiser HD201

Well there's your problem! [/Adam Savage]

These headphones drop 15dB relative to 1kHz by the time the frequency gets as low as 60Hz and almost another 15 by the time it gets as low as 20Hz. It's that 20 to 60Hz range that really gives modern music it's kick, and it's the 60 to 100Hz range that is the nice listening bass range. Compare that to 2 other Sennheiser headphones:

Other Sennheiser

Their frequency responses are much flatter below 10kHz (not necessarily level), and don't cut out nearly as fast or as high as the HD201s.

Also, something to note is that, while the total dynamic range of human hearing is over 100dB (although not without risking permanent hearing loss), the instantaneous dynamic range is only about 30dB. You're already losing 10dB between the vocal and bass ranges from the headphones themselves. A poor mix of the music can stretch that a lot further.

  • And, unfortunately, most new CD remasters sound like crap. – kinokijuf Jan 15 '12 at 16:47

You can't compare the quantity of bass off headphones to one off a proper subwoofer - headphones have at most 80mm speakers, while subwoofers tend to be huge speakers in a confined, reverberating space.. You could try getting some sort of bass boosting pocket amplifier (the fiio e3 comes to mind, and its cheap) and see if it makes a difference or mess around with EQ settings.

Lack of bass in this case isn't a sound card issue, its an issue with the physical design of the unit.

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    This head phones bass quality is awesome when I plug them into a phone or whatever, even in Windows XP the bass quality is awesome, the proplem appear whem I'm listen to the music on the Windows 7. – Lucas Oct 20 '11 at 9:22

You can try using a USB DAC/Amplifier. But buy one only if you have relatively high-end headphones (not the default iPod's for example). I recommend Fiio brand. its good and with around 80$ you can have yourself some decent quality audio


Headphones, in general, do not have the proper low-end drivers like your dedicated subwoofer (the .1 in the speakers).

You can buy better headphones, but that's going to be expensive.


The .1 in your speaker system pumps out imbalanced sound that appeals to gamers and average people pretty well.

The headphones, unless you're buying an overpriced and horrifically out of balance set of "Beats" headphones or similar, will never produce the same level of apparent bass as the desktop speakers.

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