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Why do headphones have different sound signatures?

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 

So the title basically says it all. Why do headphones sound different from one another? I know that the basic design (open vs. closed/driver size etc.) plays a large role in shaping a headphone's sound. However, what are the other things that manufacturers do to differentiate their headphone's sound from another set? I've been thinking about it for awhile but can't think of a definitive answer. I know this is a very open ended question with many potential answers, so just a few key ones is ok. Thank you!

post #2 of 25

It all depends on the driver and such. How should headphones have the same sound signature when the drivers are so different? See, that would be strange.

 

At a given frequency and a given electrical signal strength a driver would produce a given sound level including some distortion. The sound level produced will vary with frequency. Why that is so, you must ask someone else.


Edited by davidsh - 6/8/13 at 2:55pm
post #3 of 25

The tuning of the drivers themselves are vastly different, not to mention resonance problems that can happen.

 

Why is there such a vastly different array of sound signatures?  Well for starters there isn't really a target-response curve for headphones like there is for speakers.

 

People also have wildly differing tastes in sound, so different companies cater different sound to their target market.


Edited by TMRaven - 6/8/13 at 2:51pm
post #4 of 25
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the responses guys. 

 

So if we consider the conventional dynamic neodymium driver, manufacturers can take a stock driver and electrically tune it to emphasize/recess various frequencies, thereby altering the headphone's sound signature? 

post #5 of 25

I doubt they do that electrically...

post #6 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by davidsh View Post

I doubt they do that electrically...

Indeed, wouldn't that mean adding some kind of passive circuitry to filter the sound?

post #7 of 25
Thread Starter 

How do they go about tuning each driver?

post #8 of 25
Ok,

My totally noobish answer, as I am not an engineer:

Material of the driver (not the magnet)
shape of the driver (google for headphone driver and look at images )
Angle and position of the driver relativ to your ears (think Ultrasone)
Casing, material and form
Air vents
Damping material amount and placement
Ear pads, material, filling, etc
Clamping force

Looooots of variables to play with, all influencing the sound.

So even with the identical magnet and driver you can make a headphone sound totally different with, say, a radical change in the ear pads.

Cheers,
K
Edited by Koolpep - 6/8/13 at 9:34pm
post #9 of 25

Bump. Please Sennheiser engineers read this and give us an insight into headphone driver design process.

post #10 of 25
Read this for a simple overview. All applies to loudspeakers, but headphones ARE loudspeakers, just on a smaller scale.

http://www.nutshellhifi.com/library/speaker-design1.html
post #11 of 25
Two reasons:
-because it is hard to design and produce headphone drivers, plus compensate with dampening and chamber-size/material/vents
-there are several target groups.
1.Piercing treble for the elderly (with budget) and... strange people (haters gonna hate)
2.Bass-Cannons for... the misguided
3.the smallest crowd, the ones who actually want a flat response. (due to the smaller size of this group, it is more economical to target the other two groups)
post #12 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by davidsh View Post

It all depends on the driver and such. How should headphones have the same sound signature when the drivers are so different?

 

Indianapolis 500 and taxis, drivers are all different but they are doing the same thing. Is there such a thing as a designated headphone driver?

 

 I think all headphones are actually the same but, as humans, our perception of them is quite different. They did random tests on coyotes and deer with different high end headphones and they did not indicate any preference for any particular model.

post #13 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beagle View Post

 

Indianapolis 500 and taxis, drivers are all different but they are doing the same thing. Is there such a thing as a designated headphone driver?

 

 I think all headphones are actually the same but, as humans, our perception of them is quite different. They did random tests on coyotes and deer with different high end headphones and they did not indicate any preference for any particular model.

Lol Wut?blink.gif

 

I don't think you understand how to use comparisons....

 

Do you seriously think the deer is going come out and say, "I think the bass response is a bit heavy and these ear pads don't fit my head right"?

post #14 of 25
Anyone know what driver manufacture that made the drivers for the DT 990 Pro? Is it Beyerdynamic own drivers?
post #15 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Winegums View Post

 

Do you seriously think the deer is going come out and say, "I think the bass response is a bit heavy and these ear pads don't fit my head right"?

 

Why wouldn't it?

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