PNW AES Section
September Meeting Notice
The Perception and Measurement of Headphone Sound Quality: Do Listeners Agree on What Makes a Headphone Sound Good?
Dr. Sean E. Olive - Harman International & President of the AES
Thursday, September 18th, 2014. 7:30pm
Shoreline Community College, Music Building, Room 818
Directions to Shoreline CC
Annual headphone sales worldwide in 2014 will nearly reach $10 billion, as consumer's audio experiences are becoming increasingly mobile and personal.
Premium headphones ($100+) now account for 90% of the annual revenue growth, suggesting consumers want better sound quality.
Yet, the science behind what makes a headphone sound good and how to measure it is poorly understood.
This talk summarizes some recent Harman research into the subjective and objective measurement of headphone sound quality.
Using controlled, double blind listening test methods, Harman Research developed and tested a new headphone target response against current popular headphones,
as well as headphones calibrated to the recommended diffuse and free-field standards. More recently, the new headphone target response was
tested against three popular headphones using 238 listeners from four different countries. This allowed measuring the extent to which age,
listening experience and culture influences taste in headphone sound quality. The results show that when headphone brand, price, visual appearance,
and celebrity endorsement are removed from the test, most listeners agree on which headphones sound best, and this can be predicted based on their
Dr. Sean E. Olive
|| Sean Olive is Director of Acoustic Research for Harman International, a major manufacturer of audio products for consumer, professional and
automotive spaces. He directs the Northridge, Corporate Technology Acoustics group, and oversees the subjective evaluation of new audio products.
His research focuses on the perception, measurement and optimization of automotive audio, headphones, loudspeakers, and room acoustics. Prior to 1993,
he was a research scientist with Dr. Floyd Toole at the National Research Council of Canada where their research focused on the perception and measurement
of loudspeakers, listening rooms, and microphones.
| Sean received a Bachelors in Music from the University of Toronto, and his Masters and Ph.D.
degrees in Sound Recording from McGill University in Montreal. He has written over 38 research papers on the perception and measurement of audio
for which he was awarded the Audio Engineering Society (AES) Fellowship Award in 1996, and two AES Publication Awards (1990 and 1995). In 2012
Sean received the Harman Achievement Award, and in 2013, the ALMA Titanium Driver Award for scientific contributions to the loudspeaker and
headphone industry. Sean is the current President of the AES.
At our last election, we neglected to fill the seat on the Committee
held by Scott Mehrens, who resigned when he moved to the Bay Area for
a new job.
Nominations are now open, and you may nominate yourself or someone else who you know is willing to serve.
Committee members ordinarily serve a two year term, and must be an AES
member upon taking office (which says that it could happen
after the election if necessary). This seat is odd-numbered, meaning that it re-elects in 2015, so it will
be in the election next year.
Committee members are each expected to
produce at least one meeting during the year, on average, and to
take part in the ongoing email discussion that helps us run the
Section. It's also good to have Committee members attend as many
meetings as possible.
The deadline for nominations is September 11. Nominations
can also be made from the floor at the meeting or via write-in on the ballot. We will list all of the nominations received in an email
sent September 12th, and the election will be held at the September meeting.