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Perception and Measurement of Headphone Sound Quality
Speedskater
post Apr 24 2013, 20:19
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Sean Olive has a new blog page.

"The Relationship between Perception and Measurement of Headphone Sound Quality"

http://seanolive.blogspot.com/2013/04/the-...eption-and.html


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DVDdoug
post Apr 25 2013, 18:17
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QUOTE
In practical terms, i.e. when buying some phones for actual money; can we safely conclude that frequency graphs like the ones on Headroom are adequate indicators of sound quality?
Yes, unless there is audible distortion.

Ethan Winer identifies four things that affect/describe sound-reproduction quality:
Noise
Distortion
Frequency Response
Time Based Errors

Headphones don't generate any noise (other than mechanical noise when you move the cord, etc.), and they don't generate time-based errors either. Distortion & frequency response are the only things left.
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Arnold B. Kruege...
post Apr 26 2013, 13:19
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QUOTE (DVDdoug @ Apr 25 2013, 13:17) *
QUOTE
In practical terms, i.e. when buying some phones for actual money; can we safely conclude that frequency graphs like the ones on Headroom are adequate indicators of sound quality?
Yes, unless there is audible distortion.

Ethan Winer identifies four things that affect/describe sound-reproduction quality:
Noise
Distortion
Frequency Response
Time Based Errors


Ethan's presentation of this matter lacks rigor and therefore encourages a certain amount of discussion that has limited benefits.

The three (3) things that affect sound reproduction quality are:

Linear distortion, which includes both frequency and phase response
Nonlinear distortion, which includes both amplitude distortion and time-domain distortion
Noises that are uncorrelated with the signal which includes random noise and deterministic noises.

QUOTE
Headphones don't generate any noise (other than mechanical noise when you move the cord, etc.),


The ultimate noise floor of headphones comes from the environment, which is the Brownian Motion of air molecules.

The noises you describe above are "Noises that are uncorrelated with the signal which includes random noise and deterministic noises". Mechanical noise is largely deterministic.

QUOTE
and they don't generate time-based errors either.


Except they do. Headphones with moving diaphragms are prone to generate some measurable amount of FM distortion which is nonlinear distortion and is time-based.

QUOTE
Distortion & frequency response are the only things left.


I submit that headphones like almost everything else in life generate some measurable amounts of the the three things I listed above. Now we can quibble whether my list has 3 elements or six elements (if we count the internal breakdown of each of the three points).

Behind the 3 points lies decade after decade of an development of an established technology (Audio) composed of principles, doctrine, tests and criteria. For example nonlinear distortion has the potential to add new frequencies, while linear distortion does not. Some flinch at the apparent oxymoron "Linear Distortion" but if you compare and contrast linear and nonlinear distortion, you grow wiser and more empowered.

This is all consistent with the publications and wisdom of the audio arts as handed down in various refereed publications over the decades. I think we do better trying to understand the wisdom of the giants whose shoulders we stand than to ignore them and their work.
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Posts in this topic
- Speedskater   Perception and Measurement of Headphone Sound Quality   Apr 24 2013, 20:19
- - benski   The headphones aren't specifically identified ...   Apr 24 2013, 20:35
|- - chicks   QUOTE (benski @ Apr 24 2013, 12:35) The h...   Apr 24 2013, 22:10
||- - benski   QUOTE (chicks @ Apr 24 2013, 16:10) QUOTE...   Apr 24 2013, 22:19
|- - solive   QUOTE (benski @ Apr 24 2013, 12:35) The h...   Apr 25 2013, 01:31
|- - chicks   QUOTE (solive @ Apr 24 2013, 17:31) You...   Apr 25 2013, 17:17
|- - solive   QUOTE (chicks @ Apr 25 2013, 09:17) QUOTE...   Apr 25 2013, 19:37
- - dhromed   QUOTE marketing B.S. (Before Science) he he he he   Apr 24 2013, 21:57
- - extrabigmehdi   It's obvious that the HP1 is the audeze, becau...   Apr 24 2013, 23:34
|- - solive   QUOTE (extrabigmehdi @ Apr 24 2013, 15:34...   Apr 25 2013, 01:39
- - IgorC   Interesting article. It will be even better with s...   Apr 25 2013, 01:44
- - godrick   I wonder which of the following is correct: hp1 -...   Apr 25 2013, 02:13
- - extrabigmehdi   Here is my guess, based on user comments only. hp...   Apr 25 2013, 02:57
- - dhromed   In practical terms, i.e. when buying some phones f...   Apr 25 2013, 09:16
|- - extrabigmehdi   QUOTE (dhromed @ Apr 25 2013, 08:16) In p...   Apr 25 2013, 12:58
|- - markanini   QUOTE (dhromed @ Apr 25 2013, 10:16) In p...   Apr 25 2013, 18:16
||- - xnor   QUOTE (markanini @ Apr 25 2013, 18:16) Al...   Apr 25 2013, 18:37
||- - markanini   QUOTE (xnor @ Apr 25 2013, 19:37) Your li...   Apr 25 2013, 19:25
|- - Nessuno   QUOTE (extrabigmehdi @ Apr 25 2013, 13:58...   Apr 25 2013, 21:46
|- - extrabigmehdi   QUOTE (Nessuno @ Apr 25 2013, 20:46) All ...   Apr 25 2013, 22:42
|- - Nessuno   QUOTE (extrabigmehdi @ Apr 25 2013, 23:42...   Apr 26 2013, 14:05
|- - markanini   QUOTE (Nessuno @ Apr 26 2013, 15:05) I me...   Apr 26 2013, 20:14
- - zheka   Dr. Olive dropped a few hints about identity of t...   Apr 25 2013, 17:01
|- - solive   QUOTE (zheka @ Apr 25 2013, 09:01) Dr. Ol...   Apr 25 2013, 19:20
- - xnor   I've seen him wearing K550's about a year ...   Apr 25 2013, 18:09
- - DVDdoug   QUOTE In practical terms, i.e. when buying some ph...   Apr 25 2013, 18:17
|- - solive   QUOTE (DVDdoug @ Apr 25 2013, 10:17) QUOT...   Apr 25 2013, 19:39
|- - extrabigmehdi   QUOTE (DVDdoug @ Apr 25 2013, 17:17) Head...   Apr 25 2013, 20:54
||- - pdq   QUOTE (extrabigmehdi @ Apr 25 2013, 15:54...   Apr 25 2013, 21:04
|- - Arnold B. Krueger   QUOTE (DVDdoug @ Apr 25 2013, 13:17) QUOT...   Apr 26 2013, 13:19
|- - Martel   QUOTE (DVDdoug @ Apr 25 2013, 19:17) Yes,...   Sep 12 2013, 08:24
|- - Nessuno   QUOTE (Martel @ Sep 12 2013, 09:24) QUOTE...   Sep 12 2013, 09:55
|- - markanini   QUOTE (Martel @ Sep 12 2013, 09:24) QUOTE...   Sep 12 2013, 10:01
- - DVDdoug   QUOTE The website innerfidelity provide different ...   Apr 25 2013, 21:47
- - greynol   If your pinna doesn't affect the sound when we...   Apr 25 2013, 23:04
- - xnor   From my experience phase is really a non-issue in ...   Apr 25 2013, 23:13
- - extrabigmehdi   QUOTE (greynol @ Apr 25 2013, 22:04) If y...   Apr 26 2013, 00:37
- - DVDdoug   QUOTE Having played with different kind of eq (min...   Apr 26 2013, 01:02
|- - extrabigmehdi   QUOTE (DVDdoug @ Apr 26 2013, 00:02) To r...   Apr 26 2013, 01:39
- - xnor   For all intents and purposes single driver headpho...   Apr 26 2013, 02:29
|- - extrabigmehdi   QUOTE (xnor @ Apr 26 2013, 01:29) For all...   Apr 26 2013, 12:30
|- - xnor   QUOTE (extrabigmehdi @ Apr 26 2013, 12:30...   Apr 26 2013, 13:46
|- - extrabigmehdi   QUOTE (xnor @ Apr 26 2013, 12:46) so yes,...   Apr 26 2013, 15:58
||- - xnor   QUOTE (extrabigmehdi @ Apr 26 2013, 15:58...   Apr 26 2013, 19:03
|- - Arnold B. Krueger   QUOTE (xnor @ Apr 26 2013, 08:46) But sur...   Apr 26 2013, 16:26
- - markanini   extrabigmehdi, youre not getting it. Just stop.   Apr 26 2013, 13:30
- - xnor   Imaging with stereo recordings in headphones is a ...   Sep 12 2013, 10:54


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