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Aumeo - experience music tailored to your ears!

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by sgtbilko, Jun 9, 2015.
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  1. sgtbilko
  2. ProtegeManiac Contributor
    I don't see how it can take my hearing into account. The way the process is described, it sounds like "EQ by ear in a quiet room," which is something you can do on practically any app, but still doesn't sound like how an audiologist can check if your hearing response is flat and then provide you a graph. Also, if it aims to correct individual hearing deterioration/damage, then it should be able to EQ left and right channel independently, like on Pioneer car audio processors; it looks like it does that but I can't be sure from the simplified (ie dumbed down) marketing blurb (they really should have an alternate version of the site or lots of footnotes for those who understand, at the very least, car audio). Also if the EQ profile is saved on their hardware then how does that take into account any difference in response when you use sources other than your phone, or how does one use it on a harder to drive headphone when the Aumeo hardware might distort driving a 600ohm headphone? (Even if it's a Tesla, that's still a stiff load)
     
    As it is, as long as my ENT doesn't see any frequency imbalance in either ear, Accudio using a single test system and providing a flattening correction profile sounds more reliable, and it won't cost $9 or $169. It might not take my individual hearing response into account, but if I'm going to EQ by ear I'm not paying $99 for that when I can do that on any EQ app.
     
    They also claim the hardware that comes with it can be used with any device, but that's precisely what I'm doing now with technically only $25 or so. I use NeutronMediaPlayer, then thanks to its very precise and fully-featured 4-band parametric EQ I can zero in on where there are peaks or high plateaus in my headphones' response based on widely available response graphs (like from Headroom). I use it on an Android phone, which technically is something I use for a lot of things besides audio (and carrier-subsidized), so we can't count that as part of the cost. I do however need to use an OTG cable in order to use it as a USB audio server into a DAC, so it works through any downstream device and I can use any amplifier to drive any headphone (one thing you can't do with Aumeo's hardware). Also, since I want to keep the cables out of the way and the phone upright, I had to buy a sync dock. Basically most people would spend around $10 to do the same, that $15 dock I use is of course optional. 
     
  3. arnyk
     
     
    One of the key statements in the abstract of one of their senior staff member's linked paper is:
     
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22676699
     
    "There was no significant difference in the thresholds of unmasked air-conduction hearing obtained with the computerized self-administered hearing test via a smartphone and those obtained with standard pure-tone audiometry. "
     
    That's academic-speak for  something like: "Our automated process is just as accurate as a test administered by a real world audiologist in the same room as you with good equipment."
     
    Knowing a little about audiology due to my personal experience, and friendship with PhD's (one who teaches audiology at a local university) who have professional engagement with this issue, the claim seems to me to be perfectly reasonable. In fact some audiologists are so biased or inefficient in their work that saying that a computer could do it better is like damning the computer  with faint praise. Of  course others are perfectly competent and fully engaged but YMMV.
     
    I've been sitting around for some time thinking "When are we going to have products like Audyssey for headphones?"  I guess the question is answered!
     
  4. Sound Eq
    to me it sounds interesting, but i am thinking how to use with my dap and amp
     
  5. arnyk
     
    I think it plugs into the headphone jack of the DAP, and either the headphones or your add-on headphone amp plugs into it.
     
  6. barrist
    would this act also like an amp? one of the images shows that it uses a TPA6130 (Texas Instruments from my google search)
     
  7. Sound Eq
  8. vid
    Upon skimming that page, I got the impression that this is eq + $99 for handholding?
     
    Also, I see they managed to cram in the dull, cliched expression, 'the way it was meant to sound' - even as this seems incompatible with the whole idea of tuning the sound to your own ear in particular.
     
  9. arnyk


    I buy the argument that we hear music with the ears we use to listen to everything else, and therefore equalizing out the free-space response of our ears would seem to be counter intuitive.
     
    However the free-space response of our ears and the frequency response of our ears with headphones are two interrelated but also somewhat different things.
     
    I've always advocated adjusting the response of any equalizer in series with a pair of headphones by personal means. IOW, make em sound like how you want them to sound.
     
  10. comrade_ix
    It would be interesting... No wait. It is crucial to know what their target curve is.

    As I understand it, their aim is to make all headphones sound the same to all listeners (since you can't separate the listener's and the headphone's defects with this method).

    So, what is their opinion on how a headphone should sound?

    Audussey, and the likes, are "just" trying to make the frequency response as flat as possible. Not easy to achieve, but at least a clear enough target. Now, we all know flat headphones sound horrible, so what are they aiming for?
     
  11. arnyk
     
    Experience with such things with any trasducer is that ideally you suggest one or more target curves and let the audiophile bend them to suit his preferences.
     
  12. Joe Bloggs Contributor
    I just want to know whether they calibrate their, er, 6-band equalizer using appropriate bandlimited noise or pure tones. If the latter, that's as good as shooting blindfolded with your foot, seeing as how a pair of headphones frequency response can vary sharply over the range covered by one of these bands, especially one of the treble bands...
     
  13. comrade_ix
    I shot an email to them with my questions and got an answer right away, responded and got another mail within minutes. Very positive and thoughtfully worded as well. Impressive!

    So, send them your thoughts. They seem genuinely interested.

    Also, they claim their tests are 97% accurate, referring to this study http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22676699. I can't assess the validity of that claim, but at least the article is peer reviewed.

    Correcting hearing imperfections/headphones using a simple 6-band eq seems strange though. And what about loudness compensation?

    Lots of questions remain, but I must say I'm intrigued. It seems like it's an honest attempt, not just some snake oil.
     
  14. alwi
    I emailed them asking why it had to be a hardware device and not a hearing profile analysis and music playback app and have not received a reply yet....
     
  15. dlorde
    The answer is in their FAQ (the penultimate question). Basically, if it was just an app, it would be restricted to sources that can run the app, and some of those sources can't manage the necessary audio signal changes without distortion, clipping, etc. With a hardware device, you can use it with any source, and their electronics are tailored to produce the best result. 
     
    I'm going to give it a try :)
     
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