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Why do many headphones have a treble peak?

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by rhythm is life, Sep 12, 2014.
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  1. Dark_wizzie
    Scientists themselves use the word "theory" colloquially. They're contributing to the confusion themselves...
  2. bigshot
    Facts are to audiophile forums as teats are to a bull hog. They just don't need them. They only get in the way.
  3. cjl
    I think you're still missing the point here - you say "but is still thought by the scientific community as a theory" as if that means it isn't firmly established. Theories do not become laws, or facts as they become established. Similarly, much of what we talk about here is based on electromagnetic theory. That doesn't mean that idle speculation and uncontrolled observation can overturn established electronic and electromagnetic theory, any more than the claims by UFO believers of mysterious hovering crafts can overturn gravitational theory.
  4. money4me247 Contributor
    No, I am simply talking about attitude. Science usually states things in terms of hypotheses to be disproved, even the most established set of facts are considered theories. Thus, I find it strange that here in SS and in the general forums, a lot of people seem to hold onto the attitude that xyz are absolute truths and do not like to investigate alternative viewpoints.
    I don't mean that any evidence-backed viewpoints are just idle speculation, but I feel like sound science should be more about investigating issues with links to sources that give evidence for a position rather than just stating unsourced facts that may actually be more opinion-based.
    There is actually quite a lot of literature out there on many of these topics, and from my own digging around a lot of there are views held in sound science that are not actually supported by the literature data. ...just like there are misconceptions in the general forums. I think that incorporating the sources with the actual evidence would be much more helpful for the scientific minded community. 
  5. Grave
    You may as well approximate the word theory as fact in regards to science. There is no point in investigating alternative viewpoints if they have nothing real behind them.
    Your final point may be accurate. Science is open to misinterpretation.
    Ultimately we know much more than people like to pretend that we do not know (collectively).
  6. miceblue
    I don't quite understand the correlation between raw frequency measurements and the HRTF.

    The HRTF curve shows that the human body/head/ear amplifies signals at ~2- 5kHz. When a headphone is measured, are we looking for raw measurements that look similar to the HRTF curve? If the HRTF says ~2-5kHz are amplified, why would we want headphones that also have an amplified response in those frequencies? Shouldn't it have an attenuation at those frequencies such that when the HRTF is accounted for, we get a flat line?
  7. cjl
    Some things are so well established though that evidence becomes kind of unnecessary. For example, nobody in a scientific setting will complain if you do not provide several sources for the claim that "gravity is an attractive force". Similarly, nobody should really need to cite sources when making a claim like "two amplifiers which measure identically sound identical", or "power cables do not impact the sound of an amplifier". Now, I do agree that some people are a bit overzealous around here, and start making sweeping generalizations and factual claims that may not be entirely true, and those are worthy of calling out. However, it can sometimes be hard to have a reasonable, science-based discussion on that when you also have some people poking in and throwing completely subjective anecdotes around, ignoring any sort of scientific methodology or testing.
    If someone wants to claim that analog is greatly superior, great! We can have that discussion here. However, it should include something like a double blinded (or at least single blinded) test with a full analog system vs the same system with a A->D->A loop added in. You could even try several different bit depths and sample rates, or even different formats (DSD vs PCM) in the A->D->A conversion process to see at what point the conversion becomes audible. However, instead, we tend to get people who just come in and disrupt discussions with unscientific, untested claims based on their subjective opinion, and I think that is what inspires some of the responses around here. Yes, ideally, we'd always be scientific and provide sources and tests around here, but when someone comes in for the twentieth time and starts claiming that system response >20kHz is critical, and DSD is the only way to go, but LPs are the best thing ever, it can start to get tedious to respond with sources and tests to disprove everything (especially since they would just be ignored anyways).
    sonitus mirus and swspiers like this.
  8. cjl
    The HRTF describes your head's response to a sound coming from far away - a perfectly flat response from a speaker will end up at your eardrum with more energy around 2-5kHz, and less energy elsewhere. Because of this, what sounds like a flat response is actually a boost in that frequency range (if measured directly at the eardrum). Headphones bypass much of that amplification, so to achieve that same response at the eardrum (with 2-5kHz emphasized), they must also emphasize that frequency range. This is especially true with IEMs, since they pretty much directly broadcast to the eardrum, and fully bypass the effects of the ear and head shape.
  9. miceblue
    Oh I see. So headphone measurements should line up with the HRTF curve in order to emulate what we would hear as if we were listening to speakers with a flat frequency response. If that's the case, why do people who measure raw headphone responses, like Innerfidelity for example, not display the HRTF right next to the raw data in a different colour or something? If headphones are trying to mimic a frequency response that one would hear from a flat speaker response, wouldn't it just be common sense to publish the HRTF next to the raw data to make a direct comparison?
  10. bigshot
    I've noticed a trend. When people can't argue their point any more because the facts clearly don't back it up, they shift to arguing about the technicalities of testing procedures. When that doesn't go their way, they graduate to arguing that science doesn't know anything.
  11. manbear

    I agree with you somewhat, but there is a balancing act. Yes, different ideas should be open to discussion, and yes, the tone could definitely be friendlier. 

    On the other side though, not all questions are automatically reasonable. You can call gravity "just a theory" all you want, for example, but denying that the gravitational force between two objects follows certain mathematical patterns would earn the same kind of scorn from scientists that one might get when talking about burning in cables or whatnot in this forum. 

    More semantically, the word "theory" doesn't indicate as much uncertainty as you seem to think. What would you contrast theory to--law?  "Laws" are just theoretical relationships stated in equation form. Newton's "theories" include the "law of universal gravitation," for example. 
    cjl and bfreedma like this.
  12. KamijoIsMyHero

    I don't know the correlation yet either, once I stumble on a paper correlating the 2, I will be sure to share it.

    From the looks of that one innerfidelity article (I am on the phone, would link if I could), the raw response is what should be looked at. Though I am just not sure if Tyll's measuring system is the same as what was used in the study that we can just read the raw response as being the HRTF.
  13. money4me247 Contributor
    hahah... you guys are misunderstanding. I am not implying that there is any uncertainty with the theory of gravity. I am simply observing an attitude that is prevalent both here and on the general forums that is contradictory to the scientific mindset where sharing knowledge & investigating problems is the priority rather than claiming absolute truths.
    It is actually also interesting to note the disconnect between this sub-forum and the general audiophile knowledge base. I find it really disconcerting as it also seems like there are two very different perspectives operating on two separate completely separate set of principles. I think a more prevalent usage of evidence-based sources would really be very enlightening for everyone in the discussion. I briefly perused some audio literature, and honestly, a lot of the concepts that appear to be staple knowledge of the field was very foreign to me. I feel like that should change and these concepts should be better articulated, especially here on a forum of audio enthusiasts. There also seems to be a lack of research specifically directed towards headphones.
  14. cjl
    Sure, you could do that. It is somewhat complicated by the fact that everyone has a slightly different HRTF, but you could at least use a fairly standard one as your point of comparison.
  15. bigshot
    P.T. Barnum had a quote that related to that I think....
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