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On the Standardization of the Frequency Response of High Quality Studio Headphones

The use of headphones in the studios is appropriate in certain instances. Addressing the problem of defining and measuring the frequency response of high quality studio headphones, it is argued that the current headphone standards are unsuitable for this purpose. A study of recent work on the properties of spatial hearing shows that the free-field equalization applied to headphones cannot produce good results. The equalization is satisfactory if reference is made to the diffuse field defined on the basis of average value of the transfer functions of the outer ear in different directions. Further, it is shown that measuring methods based on comparison of loudness produce wrong results, instead of which purely physical measurements should be taken as a basis. Lately several new studio headphones have a diffuse-field response according to this IRT-proposal (auditory canal probe microphone technique). The diffuse-field frequency responses are compared to results obtained with a special dummy-head technique. It is reported on subjective assessment experiments carried out using commercially available headphones.

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