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Improving Headphone Listening Comfort

The fatigue resulting from prolonged listening to headphone appears to be related to the in-phase motion of earphone diaphragms that cuase the sound to be localized in a single frontal spot within the head, this being entirely unlike what is experienced in the normal mode of listening. Previous attempts to improve headphone listening by a) reversing the phase of the earphones; and b) introducing delays between the earphones of the order of 1 msec have been reported with both favorable and unfavorable results. In the experiment described in this paper, a speech signal was split into two equal 90° out-of-phase channels and connected to earphones through a cross-coupling network which restored normal inter-aural delays. The resulting sound was completely spread within the head, eliminating the oppressive feeling of the usual headphone listening.

JAES Volume 13 Issue 4 pp. 300-302; October 1965
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AES - Audio Engineering Society