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The Acoustics and Psychoacoustics of Headphones

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The design and evaluation of stereophonic headphones are at present based on imperfect measurement techniques and uncertain performance objectives. While there are some indications of how improvements can be made, the precise solutions are not yet obvious and are complicated by the substantial physical variations among individual ears. There are fundamental differences between the headphone reproductions of dummy-head (binaural) and conventional stereophonic recordings. Some of the differences seem to be amenable to compensation by appropriate headphone design or adaptation; others are likely to remain. There are good reasons to be cautious about the choice and use of headphones in critical listening situations.

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AES - Audio Engineering Society