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[AES Pacific NW Section - Seatle USA]
Around the Puget Sound, Seattle, Washington, U.S.A.

NOTE: anyone can attend this meeting regardless of their status as an AES member.
PNW AES Section

September Meeting Notice
Special Election
The Perception and Measurement of Headphone Sound Quality: Do Listeners Agree on What Makes a Headphone Sound Good?
Presented By
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 acoustical performance.

Dr. Sean E. Olive

sean_olive_sm.jpg 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.

Special Election

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 closed, and we will conduct the election at the meeting on the 18th. At that meeting, you may still nominate yourself or someone else who you know who is willing to serve. If you cannot attend the meeting, and both desire to vote and are eligible to vote, a mail-in ballot can be DOWNLOADED. Mailed ballots must be in-hand by noon on the 18th. The following individuals have been nominated for the position:
  • Chris Deckard
  • Stephen DeVore
  • Tom Stiles
The candidate's bio sketches can be found by clicking this LINK.

Steve Malott
AES PNW 2014-2015 Section Chair

n.b. The material presented at our meetings is the opinion of the presenter and not necessarily that of the Society. You are encouraged to conduct your own research and to form your own opinions before adopting the presented material as Truth.

Our meetings are open to anyone interested in Audio. AES membership is NOT required for you to attend our meetings.

2013-14 Officers
Dave Tosti-Lane
Steve Malott
Gary Louie
Greg Mauser
At Large:
Aurika Hays, Membership
Rick Chinn, Webmaster
Refer to the Officers and Committee contact list for contact information.
Program Committee
Committee 1
Bob Smith
Committee 2
Mark Rogers
Committee 3
Scott Mehrens
Committee 4
Lawrence Schwedler
Committee 5
Daniel Casado
Committee 6
JJ Johnston
Committee 7
Dan Mortensen
Committee 8
Dr. Ivan Tashev
Committee 9
Dr. Michael Matesky
Commmittee 10
Rich Williams

Last modified 05/04/2014.