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The Effects of Headphones on Listener HRTF Preference

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Listener-selected HRTFs have the potential to provide the accuracy of an individualized HRTF without the time and resources required for HRTF measurements. This study tests listeners’ HRTF preference for three different sets of headphones. HRTF datasets heard over the noise-cancelling Bose Aviation headset were selected as having good externalization more often than those heard over Sennheiser HD650 open headphones or Sony MDR-7506 closed headphones. It is thought that the Bose headset’s flatter frequency response is responsible for its superior externalization. This suggests that in systems where high quality headphones are not available, post-processing equalization should be applied to account for the effect of the headphones on HRTF reproduction.

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