In headphone playback, different factors contribute to a deviation of the presented from the intended stimuli. Most important are the headphone transfer functions, their inter-individual differences, and the intra-individual variability due to repeated positioning on the subjects' heads. This paper gives a detailed inspection of the blocked auditory canal transfer characteristics for one specimen of each of three different circum-aural headphone models frequently used in Psychoacoustics, two operating on the electro-dynamic, one on the electro-static converter principle. It is shown that the variability can have considerable influence on the stimuli presented, especially in the frequency range above 6 kHz. The data indicate headphone specific variability, suggesting the need for the variability to be considered as headphone selection criterion.
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