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Perceptually Robust Headphone Equalization for Binaural Reproduction

Headphones must always be adequately equalized when used for reproducing binaural signals if they are to deliver high perceptual plausibility. However, the transfer function between headphones and ear drums (HpTF) varies quite heavily with the headphone fitting for high frequencies, thus even small displacements of the headphone after equalization will lead to irregularities in the resulting frequency response. Keeping in mind that irregularities in the form of peaks are more disturbing than equivalent valleys, a new method for designing headphone equalization filters is proposed where not the average but an upper variance limit of many measured HpTFs is inverted. Such a filter yields perceptually robust equalization since the equalized frequency response will, with high chance, differ from the ideal response only by the presence of valleys in the high frequency range.

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AES - Audio Engineering Society