Double-blind listening tests were performed on six popular circumaural headphones to study the relationship between their perceived sound quality and their acoustical performance. In terms of overall sound quality, the most preferred headphones were perceived to have the most neutral spectral balance with the lowest coloration. When measured on an acoustic coupler, the most preferred headphones produced the smoothest and flattest amplitude response, a response that deviates from the current IEC recommended diffuse-field calibration. The results provide further evidence that the IEC 60268-7 headphone calibration is not optimal for achieving the best sound quality.
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