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Harman Research - Do Listeners Agree on What Makes a Headphone Sound Good?

post #1 of 39
Thread Starter 

http://seanolive.blogspot.com/2014/01/the-perception-and-measurement-of.html

 

Pretty interesting findings and a worthwhile goal. NRC/Harman are the reason we have effective measurements of loudspeakers and equipment, this could be a bell-weather moment for the future of our hobby.

post #2 of 39

Yeah, all of their research is highly interesting and useful. I hope other manufacturers will make use of it too.

 

Towards better sound for everyone!

post #3 of 39

Looks interesting - just loading the presentation now - taking quite a while - was it an 8 hours slideshow? :)

 

Thanks for the link!

post #4 of 39

Finally something interesting and useful.

 

Something I noticed in the actual vs perceived FR graphs. The listeners seem to easily perceive the response in lower frequencies, but the high frequency spikes go almost unnoticed.

I wonder whats the cause of that?

post #5 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by proton007 View Post

 

Something I noticed in the actual vs perceived FR graphs. The listeners seem to easily perceive the response in lower frequencies, but the high frequency spikes go almost unnoticed.

I wonder whats the cause of that?

 

I noticed that as well.  I wonder if people are generally better able to compensate for lacking highs - i.e. the brain actively attempts to pick them out or has a way of bringing emphasis to them when they're lacking.

 

Or perhaps a higher dB in that range has less of a sensory effect?

 

Any audiologists hanging around to help?

post #6 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gignac View Post
 

 

I noticed that as well.  I wonder if people are generally better able to compensate for lacking highs - i.e. the brain actively attempts to pick them out or has a way of bringing emphasis to them when they're lacking.

 

Or perhaps a higher dB in that range has less of a sensory effect?

 

Any audiologists hanging around to help?

 

Seems to me that our high frequency listening isn't as developed as in the lower frequency regions. Not sure if its physiology or what.

 

Or maybe its because lower frequencies have a noticeable physical feel. When a bass note hits your eardrum you can hear as well as feel it.


Edited by proton007 - 1/7/14 at 8:01pm
post #7 of 39
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by proton007 View Post
 

 

Seems to me that our high frequency listening isn't as developed as in the lower frequency regions. Not sure if its physiology or what.

 

Or maybe its because lower frequencies have a noticeable physical feel. When a bass note hits your eardrum you can hear as well as feel it.

There's actually a lot of psycho-acoustic research about this. It's largely how Bose was able to capture the market early on, they were quick to emphasize frequencies we preferentially hear (mid-range) and compensate for our poor low frequency hearing. Now companies everywhere including Dolby have PhD's on staff who focus solely on the perception of audio not just how it measures. 

 

Equal loudness curves are the best demonstration of how we hear - so you'll note that since it takes significantly more SPL to hear a 20Hz sound at the same perceived loudness as one at 2KHz, thus it's natural for audio manufacturers to create sonic profiles that map to this inversely.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Perceived_Human_Hearing.svg 

post #8 of 39

I'm glad they went for several continents this time. I was wondering if north american culture could alter people's tastes when it was only done with harman's employes as guinea pigs ^_^.

 

I really have high expectation from all this, and not just on how will sound the phones of the future, but how we'll talk about them with a common set of references.

post #9 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by castleofargh View Post
 

I'm glad they went for several continents this time. I was wondering if north american culture could alter people's tastes when it was only done with harman's employes as guinea pigs ^_^.

 

I really have high expectation from all this, and not just on how will sound the phones of the future, but how we'll talk about them with a common set of references.

This is a Harman funded research. It is for the benefit of their product, the future " JBL target" headphone. In my business it's called a PRD, Product Requirement Document. An Internal research just broadened their market. You can also see target competition such as Beats and there is no Bose among the test list. I would like to see inclusion of cheaper phones and see how they fare. 

post #10 of 39
Thread Starter 

Even though it's for their own benefit, Harman has a history of developing solid research methodologies that eventually get industry adoption. Ultimately, if they develop more tools like How to Listen and foster a culture of music appreciation, i've no complains.

post #11 of 39

"Therefore, headphones calibrated to DF and FF target response will sound too bright and too thin in the bass "

 

Maybe this is why I prefer IEMs that look a bit bassy in measurements.

post #12 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by proton007 View Post
 

Finally something interesting and useful.

 

Something I noticed in the actual vs perceived FR graphs. The listeners seem to easily perceive the response in lower frequencies, but the high frequency spikes go almost unnoticed.

I wonder whats the cause of that?

Real sounds often have quite large peaks and troughs in the high frequencies depending on the direction of the sound. The brain is probably more lenient in the treble region.


Edited by higbvuyb - 1/11/14 at 7:51pm
post #13 of 39

I found the same thing, but always supposed that it was because I was used to the idea that trebles can be harsh in real life. when on the other hand bass are like a big fat fluffy koala holding marshmallows. unless the bass is clipped on the recording but that's another gangsta rap story and a recognizable attribute.

post #14 of 39
Interesting, thanks for the link!
post #15 of 39

So where is this new response curve they unveiled at AES? I'd love to get my hands on it and try to set up a pair of my phones with it.

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