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Subjective Evaluation of Headphone Target Frequency Responses

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The effect of headphone frequency response equalization on listeners’ preference was studied for music and speech reproduction. The high-quality circum-aural headphones selected for this listening experiment were first equalized to produce a flat frequency response. Then, a set of filters was created based on two parameters defining the amplitude and center frequency of the main peak found around 3 kHz in the free-field and diffuse-field equalization curves. Two different listening tests were carried out to evaluate these equalization candidates using a different methodology and a total of 80 listeners. The results of this study indicate that a target frequency response with a 3 kHz peak of lower amplitude than in the diffuse-field response is preferred by listeners for both music and speech.

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