AES Berlin 2014
Tutorial T19

Tuesday, April 29, 12:45 — 14:15 (Room Paris)


T19 - The Perception and Measurement of Headphone Sound Quality: Do Listeners Agree on What Makes a Headphone Sound Good?

Sean Olive, Harman International - Northridge, CA, USA

Consumers are experiencing more of their audio content through headphones connected to mobile devices. Last year, headphone sales were $8.2 billion worldwide and continue to grow. Premium headphones (>$100) now account for 90% of the annual revenue growth. Market research indicates sound quality is a driving factor in headphone purchases with brand and fashion also being important factors among younger consumers. Yet, ironically the science behind what makes a headphone sound good and how to measure it is poorly understood. This, combined with the lack of perceptually meaningful headphone standards may explain why purchasing a headphone today is like playing Russian roulette with your ears. The magic bullet to achieving more consistent headphone sound quality is science.

The results of research conducted to better understand the relationship between consumers’ perceived sound quality and acoustic performance show that when the influence of brand, fashion, and celebrity endorsement is removed from headphone tests, listeners generally agree on what makes a headphones sound good, and their preferences can be correlated with acoustic measurements. Come and hear what we’ve learned.

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EXHIBITION HOURS April 26th   10:00 - 18:30 April 27th   09:00 - 18:30 April 28th   09:00 - 18:30 April 29th   09:00 - 14:00
REGISTRATION DESK April 26th   09:30 - 18:30 April 27th   08:30 - 18:30 April 28th   08:30 - 18:30 April 29th   08:30 - 16:30
TECHNICAL PROGRAM April 26th   10:00 - 18:00 April 27th   09:00 - 18:00 April 28th   09:00 - 18:00 April 29th   09:00 - 17:00
AES - Audio Engineering Society