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Audibility of Phase Response Differences in a Stereo Playback System. Part 1: Headphone Reproduction

The audibility of phase distortion in sound reproduction systems has been the subject of many studies, however, it remains a topic of controversy, in particular in the field of loudspeaker or headphone equalization. Most studies lead to the conclusion that, although phase distortion may be audible for specific stimuli, in realistic listening situations in a room, they will go largely unnoticed. These studies, however, have focused on monophonic phase distortion; a severe limitation, since ignoring phase response in equalization can result in different phase distortion in different channels. It is the purpose of the present study to investigate the audibility of stereophonic phase mismatch in the specific case of headphone reproduction. In addition, the implications on microphone design and production are discussed.

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