Curious about Cross-Feed

I am curious about cross feed and audio simulation since i bought amps from your ancestral site (at least i ended up here when I looked for it) which I think was called or possibly headphones com or head phone com, amp was something called the airhead and also got another amp from a different business. my question is: it was said, at the time, to be critical to have a headphone amp that introduced cross feed to ameliorate the effect of having the driver (i.e., the speaker or headphone’s driver) playing only to one ear (left or right, I mean), since, of course, with ordinary speakers, each ear hears both speakers, just as in “live” listening. Had to do with sound staging, creating a “middle” of the stage, etc. Yet, the advantages now listed for having a headphone amp don’t say anything about that, only about providing enough power to the headphones’ drivers. Was this issue determined to be really NOT important for some reason, and, if so, was there some discussion about it? If not, whatever happened to what seemed to be a hot topic at the time. I use canal phones which are pretty old and other in-canal phones, but also some sealed headphones like senn heiser HD 280 pro if that matters since I like to listen without disturbing others nearby. I was not sure where to raise this issue or how to find anything about it by searching cross feed or audio simulation, didn’t find too much. Hope this is clear, if not, let me know - thanks J H W


There are lots of amplifiers around that do have cross-feed capabilities. I’ve been greatly disappointed by almost every one of them. The effect either messes with frequency response, sounds artificial, or both. iFi and SPL come to mind, although the SPL was much better than anything my PC or iFi amp did.

You also can do it in the digital domain from your PC, through players like Roon or Jriver Media Center.

Very rarely do I use EQ, let alone cross-feed. I think the importance of it is entirely preferential.


It’s a switchable DSP setting (with available adjustments) in Roon Labs software. I use it often.


The Crosszone Headphones line has crossfeed functionality. I tried their headphones at CanJAM LA 2019. I liked the concept.

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Interesting. I guess people differ regarding it. I read a very long post yesterday about the problems of measuring headphone output so I would not be surprised that something that seems both complex and subtle would be hard to get right enough to please everyone.

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Thank you. Has this receded as an issue, as I felt? Big deal maybe 15-20 years ago.


thanks for the info - are they canal, open, or sealed?

Outside open-frame/open-baffle/ear-speaker designs (AKG 1000, MySphere, SR1a etc.) nothing has changed on a physical level that makes Cross Feed any more, or less, relevant or and more, or less, of an “issue”.

If you get a three-blob presentation, then cross-feed can help with that. Not all music exhibits it; that’s dependent on how given tracks are panned within a mix. Not everyone cares. Some people find it helps with fatigue or realism, some people don’t like the effect (since it has other side-effects).

Personally, I used the crossfeed function about 95% of the time back when my primary amp was a HeadRoom Supreme (2.5 decades ago now).

Today, I use it on and off with the Hugo 2, DAVE, RME ADI-2 DAC/Pro FS R BE and Phonitor X, depending on the material, mood and headphones I’m using at the time. Though when I really care about it, I either listen via headphones that don’t need it (the trio above, for example), or I use a more sophisticated system that incorporates a more complex, accurate, head-related transfer function, and complex software processing (e.g. Waves “NX” with a head-tracker).

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Probably not an option for most people here, just my workarround:

  1. Replug source into mono-inputs of my mixer.
  2. Max the pan dials Left or Right
  3. Tune the volume to be the same on both ears
  4. Back the pan dials off (usually 3 and 9 o’clock)

Excuse the potato-quality and the EQ-settings, just the dials in the red box:

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That’s above my pay grade !


There is also a cross-feed add-on for Foobar.

I used it a while back but never got around to reinstalling it after a clean install of Foobar.