What does the below graph means?

Does the graph matters for a good sound quality?

  • Yes, it matter a lot

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  • No, it is just a graph

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JohnSantana

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People,

Sorry for such a newbie question.

Which graph is can be trusted to to determine which headphone or earphone is higher quality ?

Graphs.png


I'm currently trying to understand as to why some headphone maker display these information:
SQL:
Frequency response : 20 Hz–20 kHz
Impedance : 32 ohms
Max SPL : 111 dBSPL/V
Surround sound : Dolby Atmos
Driver diameter : 40mm
For example the below Frequency Response between the HD 800 vs Airpods Pro

https://www.rtings.com/headphones/1-4/graph#592/3992/1625

which one is better in terms of sound quality?

Thank you in advance.
 
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baskingshark

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Graphs are just an indication of the frequency response. They may possibly be a gauge of whether u will like the tuning eg will u like it if u are basshead, treblehead, prefer neutral, prefer V shape, treble sensitive etc.

But graphs don't tell subjective areas in the music such as isolation, fit, timbre, details, bass decay, instrument separation, imaging. If u can try out the earphone/headphone and audition it, that is the best option of course.
 
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castleofargh

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People,

Sorry for such a newbie question.

Which graph is can be trusted to to determine which headphone or earphone is higher quality ?

Graphs.png

I'm currently trying to understand as to why some headphone maker display these information:
SQL:
Frequency response : 20 Hz–20 kHz
Impedance : 32 ohms
Max SPL : 111 dBSPL/V
Surround sound : Dolby Atmos
Driver diameter : 40mm
For example the below Frequency Response between the HD 800 vs Airpods Pro

https://www.rtings.com/headphones/1-4/graph#592/3992/1625

which one is better in terms of sound quality?

Thank you in advance.
The problem comes from what you would consider to be sound quality. A headphone or earphone has a sort of complementary relation with the listener itself it's not like a DAC where there is only one reference for fidelity. Even from an objective point of view, the best frequency response for one listener might not necessarily be the best for another listener. It's very rare that someone would have his own HRTF measured, so in practice we cannot answer your question about which has the best frequency response. Instead we usually focus on how much we like the sound. And for that, the frequency response is known to be a leading variable in listener's preferences. So the frequency response is important to anybody who can't just go and try the headphone. That much is undeniable.

Sadly, as I said the use of the frequency response isn't something cut and dried where you read a value and decide what's best for everybody. We could maybe do that if we could all know our HRTF, but again, we usually don't. So instead you'll have to learn about the sound that you(specifically you!) like, by trying headphones and checking their frequency response. after a while you will slowly get a few ideas of what you want or do not want to see on a frequency response. It's in that respect that FR graphs become a useful tool for audiophiles. There is a learning curve where you must experience the sound yourself and try to figure out how some movements in the FR graph correlate with how you feel about the signature of the headphone.

A more explicit measurement for headphones is THD(Total Harmonic Distortion), the more distortions you have the worst the fidelity. That is as clear as it gets objectively. Subjectively though, it's a real mess. Some distortions we will hear as distortions and dislike. Some we may actually enjoy. And a lot of them, we simply won't notice in music because they happen below the music and are mostly or entirely masked by it. So in term of impression, THD can be as useless to know if you'll enjoy a headphone, as it is useful objectively to measure one variable of fidelity(it's not the only one).
believe me when I say how sorry I am that there is no easy universal solution as I sure would love to just go and pick the best stuff for me and be done with it. on rting.com they do try to approach some subjective aspects in an objective way with a psycho acoustic model. I find that very interesting and if you're lost, it's probably one way to start your possible selection of products.
Another very interesting approach regarding strictly frequency response could be the research done by Harman(if you google "Harman target" you'll find plenty to read about their target for headphones and earphones).
But ultimately there are those annoying notions that we're not perfect physical clones of each other, and that we may just have personal taste. So we often end up having to pick things ourselves and just try.
 
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