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"Accurate" headphones for scientific research?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

I am a researcher in human factors psychology, as well as a big fan of headphones and good sound in general. My question is this: What headphones would you recommend for scientific research? Specifically, I am making binaural recordings from inside a moving vehicle and playing them back to research subjects via headphones in a lab. What I’m looking for is something with a flat frequency response (especially from 20-1000 Hz), quick response, and good spatial imaging. The headphones would also have to handle the high SPL of deep bass frequencies present in vehicles. The Sony MDR-7506 we currently have in our lab simply can’t handle this bass with any degree of accuracy. My own Hifiman HE 400 handles the bass well, but I would consider these phones to be too colored.  Tyll at innerfidelity recommended the Sennheiser HD 800 for scientific research, but that is beyond our budget. Let’s say that our budget is up to $850 (i.e., HD 700), but cheaper is better. Any recommendations?

 

To save you the trouble of pointing out caveats, I know that nothing will be perfect, there is no such thing as a totally flat frequency response, amping requirements will differ, accuracy doesn't necessarily sound "pleasant," etc.

post #2 of 11
IMO it doesn't get any flatter than a Beyerdynamic dt880..
post #3 of 11

Some of the smoothest measuring and sounding (IMHO) from 20-1khz.  HE-500 being the flattest and the deepest extending.

 

post #4 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by harpsm View Post
 

I am a researcher in human factors psychology, as well as a big fan of headphones and good sound in general. My question is this: What headphones would you recommend for scientific research? Specifically, I am making binaural recordings from inside a moving vehicle and playing them back to research subjects via headphones in a lab. What I’m looking for is something with a flat frequency response (especially from 20-1000 Hz), quick response, and good spatial imaging. The headphones would also have to handle the high SPL of deep bass frequencies present in vehicles. The Sony MDR-7506 we currently have in our lab simply can’t handle this bass with any degree of accuracy. My own Hifiman HE 400 handles the bass well, but I would consider these phones to be too colored.  Tyll at Inner-fidelity recommended the Sennheiser HD 800 for scientific research, but that is beyond our budget. Let’s say that our budget is up to $850 (i.e., HD 700), but cheaper is better. Any recommendations?

 

To save you the trouble of pointing out caveats, I know that nothing will be perfect, there is no such thing as a totally flat frequency response, amping requirements will differ, accuracy doesn't necessarily sound "pleasant," etc.

 

Check out the AKG K550 headphones, sell for under $200.

post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the replies!  Based on this info, I'm leaning toward the Beyer 880s since they are probably less picky about amping than the HE-500s. Regarding the Senn HD 650, the frequency response plot looks good, but their reputation for being "veiled," "lush," and "distant" sound like the opposite of what I need (and I've never heard them in person to make my own judgment).

post #6 of 11

Sennheiser HD600

Beyer DT880

AKG K701/702 (Maybe too bass shy, K612 pro is a great option on the cheap)

post #7 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by harpsm View Post
 

Thanks for the replies!  Based on this info, I'm leaning toward the Beyer 880s since they are probably less picky about amping than the HE-500s. Regarding the Senn HD 650, the frequency response plot looks good, but their reputation for being "veiled," "lush," and "distant" sound like the opposite of what I need (and I've never heard them in person to make my own judgment).

That would depend on the version 880 you get... 600, 250 or 32 ohms.  They are all very high sensitivity / efficiency though, so thats a good thing.

post #8 of 11

a dummy head and an equalizer.

post #9 of 11

I remember Stax making their first earspeakers for accurate bass reproduction for mercedes benz, back then in the 70's with the lambda and lambda pro.

 

On another note, dt880 and hd600 would probs be good, but they don't reach that low in the bass.

 

I suppose you want open headphones?

post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 

I doubt any closed headphones could produce sustained high bass SPL accurately, but I would be open to a closed design (no pun intended) if my assumption is wrong.  I went ahead and ordered DT 880 250 ohm since it is the cheapest option and should work with our current amplifier.  If it doesn't work out, I'll probably think more seriously about electrostats and orthos.  The Stax looks like a good choice, but I don't see any US distributors; just Ebay sellers and Amazon third-party.  Thanks again for the recommendations, folks!

post #11 of 11

I think that's a fine choice. For a closed can, though, you might want to consider something like the mad dog or some other t50rp mod. Not that it matters now.

 

Could be interesting to know what cans they use at chesky records, prbably hd800 or something..

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