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Specs, Explained?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
Could someone explain to me what the Specs of headphones actually mean?
And what is better, worse, etc.?

For example:

53mm drivers
Copper clad aluminum wire (CCAW) voice coils
Neodymium magnets
5-40,000Hz frequency response
101dB/mW output S.P.L.
40 ohms impedance
2,000mW max. input power
post #2 of 5
any spec except the impedance and possibly the sensitivity figure is useless and meaningless.

The impedance is a measure of the load of the headphone. Usually lower impedance headphones work better on portable devices.

The sensitivity is a measure of how loud the headphones are at any given power output. So a high sensitivity is better when dealing with portable devices.

Frequency response is virtually meaningless (without a +/- also specified)

Driver size-> doesn't matter.

Magnet type -> doesn't matter.

Power rating -> meaningless, all headphone will play loudly enough to make you deaf at half their power input.
post #3 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stringz
Could someone explain to me what the Specs of headphones actually mean?
And what is better, worse, etc.?

For example:

53mm drivers
The cans have drivers with 53 mm diameter, which is a pretty normal size for "large" drivers. Usually bigger drivers tend to cover a larger frequency range with less IMD.
Quote:
Copper clad aluminum wire (CCAW) voice coils
Everyone uses those. Lighter than pure copper.
Quote:
Neodymium magnets
Everyone uses those. These are stronger than conventional magnets, thus less mass required.
Quote:
5-40,000Hz frequency response
Usually given at -10 dB from 1 kHz level or a plain lie. Tells little about actual sound.
Quote:
101dB/mW output S.P.L.
The cans will dish out a whopping 101 dB SPL if you feed them 1 mW at 1 kHz. A pretty good sensitivity.
Quote:
40 ohms impedance
Needs an amp with low output impedance that can dish out some current. Not much voltage swing required tho, and with the high sensitivity these should work well on portables.
Quote:
2,000mW max. input power
Not at all easy to fry, might be usable as little speakers.

Some Audio Technica cans, I guess?
post #4 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stringz
Could someone explain to me what the Specs of headphones actually mean?
And what is better, worse, etc.?

For example:

53mm drivers
Copper clad aluminum wire (CCAW) voice coils
Neodymium magnets
5-40,000Hz frequency response
101dB/mW output S.P.L.
40 ohms impedance
2,000mW max. input power
ath-a1000?
post #5 of 5
just as a reminder. the headphone specs really do not let you know any thing about the sound quality of the headphones. not even frequencies response chart, but it give a small general idea about what the sound will be like.

53mm drivers
driver size probably does matter. not saying that bigger = better but the size can influences the sound. too big of a driver could mean less bass control for example. normal headphone use plastic diaphragm that move to produce sound. more expansive one use more expansive materials like that weird sony qualia one. there are special electrostatic headphone that dont use diaphragm but non-moving parts, or half and half.

Copper clad aluminum wire (CCAW) voice coils
Neodymium magnets
these two are inside/behind the diaphragm, typical in all headphones, but i dont know the science behind them. but i think the voice cord supposed to connect to the music signal. so if its cut off or burned out then no music.

5-40,000Hz frequency response
when manufacturer put extremely low and high number like this its mostly false claims or they reach those frequencies with major roll off or if its true it really doesnt matter that much, unless you're mastering music or something. the average human ears generally hear sound from 30hz-18khz (not even 20hz-20khz most of the time).

101dB/mW output S.P.L.
40 ohms impedance
the other guys answer know more than i do about this. generally low ohm and high spl mean the headphone is easier to power. a headphone with 600ohms for example, and only 90db/mw spl will require a powerful amp to drive to make it loud. i heard that there arent many heaphones with very low impedance and low sensitivity at the sametime.

2,000mW max. input power
how much power the headphone can withstand before you blow its driver/burn out voice cord.
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