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An Objective Method of Measuring Subjective Click-and-Pop Performance for Audio Amplifiers

Click-and-Pop refers to any ‘clicks’ and ‘pops’ or other unwanted, audio-band transient signals that are reproduced by headphones or speakers when the audio source is turned on or off. Until recently, the industry’s characterization of this undesirable effect has been almost purely subjective. Marketing phrases such as ‘low pop noise’ and ‘clickless/popless operation’ illustrate the subjectivity applied in quantifying click-and-pop performance. The following paper presents a method that objectively quantifies this parameter, allowing meaningful, repeatable comparisons to be drawn between different components. Further, results of a subjective click-and-pop listening test are presented to provide a baseline for objectionable click-and-pop levels in headphone amplifiers.

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AES - Audio Engineering Society