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Inter- and Intra-Individual Variability in the Blocked Auditory Canal Transfer Functions of Three Circum-Aural Headphones

When using headphone playback, there are many factors that contribute to variations of the intended stimuli: errors in headphone transfer functions, their inter-individual differences, and the intra-individual variability due to repeated positioning. This report provides a detailed evaluation of the blocked auditory canal transfer characteristics for one specimen of each of three different circumaural headphones frequently used in psychoacoustics and audio production; two headphones based on electrodynamic, one headphone based on an electrostatic converters. Depending on the headphone, results showed inter-individual variations up to 10 dB in the blocked auditory canal entrance headphone transfer function magnitude spectra and 0.5 ms in the corresponding group delays, especially at frequencies above 6 kHz. At lower frequencies, 2 dB and 0.1 ms were measured. This general behavior is comparable for all three headphone specimens, but each model shows specific peculiarities of the headphone transfer function magnitude and group delay. For all headphones studied, the inter-individual magnitude spectrum variability exceeded the average intra-individual variability.

JAES Volume 62 Issue 5 pp. 315-323; May 2014
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AES - Audio Engineering Society