#1
Hi,

Not sure what to title this thread, or where to put it, but hopefully this is the right spot. Ok, so, I'm not sure how many songs this works for, but for Radiohead's "Fitter, Happier" it is very obvious, and I'm sure many of you know about this already: when you're listening to the song on your iPod/mp3 player, and you unplug the headphone jack a little bit, you can get it into a position where the main thing you hear is the background loop ("This is the Panic Office. Section 9-17 may have been hit. Activate the following procedure...")

I thought this was pretty cool, so I was wondering if anyone knows why this happens/how it can be reproduced while doing (my own) recordings/mixings? My first guess would be something along the lines of, that track is panned all the way to the right (or left or something) and so that's why you can hear it... but in that case, why can't you hear things that aren't panned either left or right?

I just thought it was kind of interesting. Anyone with info or perhaps another thread where something like this has been covered will be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
#3
Yes, that is panning, if you half unplug the jack you get only one channel.
#4
So the only reason that you hear only that one part is because it's panned all the way to one side? Why is it that parts that are not all the way panned but still should be coming through on that channel can't be heard? For example, the vocal track seems to be equally prevalent on both sides (judging by how I hear it through the headphones), but it disappears when I do this (you can get both "sides" of the pan, I think, depending on if you pull out a little bit or push in a little bit when the headphones are half-unplugged, so the vocal track disappears when I push in but is there when I pull out).
#5
I've had this happen on my old creative mp3 player, and I think what must be happening is that the jack comes into contact with the left + right +ve only, so you just hear the difference between left and right channels. Its a similar effect to putting one channel out of phase.
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#6
When you pull the plug half way out you only get a mono signal to the phones. This means anything that was panned hard right is going to be taken out of what you listen to at that point.

Anything panned hard left - center will be heard.
#7
There's two different 'outcomes' you can get from pulling your headphone jack out halfway - one's the one mentioned by moody.

I think the one you're looking at with Fitter Happier is when the left and right channels get blended into one channel - which results in phase cancellation. That means whatever is similar in the left and right channels (means the stuff panned centre) will cancel each other out. If you tried this on other songs you'll realize that most of the time, you wouldn't be able to hear the vocals cause they're panned to the center.
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