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Source for objective headphone review

Hello. As objective-minded people, what source of headphone reviews would you recommend? Tyll Hertsens of InnerFidelity seems trustworthy, but is he Julian Hirsch of headphones?

Re: Source for objective headphone review

Reply #1
I'm not sure about reviews, but Headphone.com has frequency response graphs for many different headphones.

...Headphone's are notoriously difficult to measure because of they way they interact with the ear, and everybody's ears are different.    However, it can be worthwhile to compare the response of two or more headphones to get an overall idea of the difference.

If you search the Audio Hardware section of this forum for "headphones" you can find some recommendations.

Because headphones are difficult to measure, I always recommend that people listen (and check comfort) for themselves.    There are come "frequently recommended" headphones and that's a good place to start, but different people have different opinions & preferences.

Re: Source for objective headphone review

Reply #2
Thanks kindly, Doug. Headphone.com looks like a solid resource, and I won't be shy to ask here on HydrogenAudio.

Re: Source for objective headphone review

Reply #3
There is also Goldenears.net, they are selling some eq software for different types of headphones, but there are measurements there, also. How truthful are they, I don't really know.

Re: Source for objective headphone review

Reply #4
Measurements:

If you want a very objective approach, Inner Fidelity has great raw headphone measurements (IEM not so much). But it demands a very good understanding of how to read them because his current compensation is bollocks. Also his axes are very clinched which makes reading the peaks very difficult sometimes. Headphone.com is the old website for which Tyll Hertens worked for. I think he did a good job catching up on Inner Fidelity.

Rtings has some good raw measurements, but do keep in mind that they use a different measurement setup (head and coupler) so the raw frequencies might deviate from Tyll and thus would need a different compensation. I also don't agree with their target if you want studio linearity but they are currently working on a refined target curve. Again, be very careful when trying to read the frequency response because I know people discussing headphones for 10 years who still misinterpret them.

IMO, GoldenEars is not too useful. Their curves are heavily smoothed and their selection of head- and earphones is quite different to what is available on the European market. YMMV.

If you want subjective opinion and prefer to read articles, more often than not I would agree with Tyll from Inner Fidelity. I do think he prefers warm sounding headphones (ironically his compensation shows the opposite) but overall I think he is without bias.
I write a tiny fraction of articles on Headfonics but Marcus is the main guy. His tuning description is usually spot on and I personally rarely disagree.
headphone aficionado, tech fan, realist

Re: Source for objective headphone review

Reply #5
this is slightly off topic, but do IEM raw measurements need to be compensated at all for a good picture of their performance? they pretty much only interact with the eardrum, so ideally shouldn't they be simply flat on raw measurements?

edit: nevermind, this actually explains it: https://www.innerfidelity.com/content/headphone-measurements-explained-frequency-response-part-one

 

Re: Source for objective headphone review

Reply #6
do IEM raw measurements need to be compensated at all for a good picture of their performance? they pretty much only interact with the eardrum, so ideally shouldn't they be simply flat on raw measurements?
Exactly the opposite, but you already found a link for explanation yourself.
If you look at raw measurements, you basically want to see a rising slope from 1 to 3 kHz that slowly falls down after. (Extremely simplified. It's a bit more complex and it also depends on the coupler you are using. Finally, every person has a different HRTF.)
However, many people do prefer a v-shape, especially boosted bass for IEMs so they can feel the bass. I think it also has to do with the volume so some added bottom-end leads to lower listening levels as shown by Fletcher and Munson. In my experience, I listen at lower volumes with IEMs than larger headphones.

In the end, IEMs are highly subjective. I do think there are some very objective approaches but the user market is just much too diverse. A perceived linear reference just doesn't achieve as high popularity as a near-field monitor would. That, for me, is the main finding of Harman referenced in the article - the target curve not so much.
headphone aficionado, tech fan, realist

 
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