The frequency response of a headphone is very important for listener satisfaction. Listener preferences have been thoroughly studied for frequencies below 10 kHz, but preferences above that frequency are less well known. Recent improvements in the high frequency performance of ear simulators make it more practical to study this frequency region now. In this study, the high frequency portion of the target response for insert headphone designs is investigated, focusing on the range from 10 kHz to 20 kHz. A new target response is proposed, based on listener preference ratings in a blind listening test. The results show a clear preference for significantly more high frequency energy than was proposed in a previous popular earphone target curve. The preferred response is also affected by the listener’s hearing thresholds, with additional high frequency boost being preferred for listeners with age-related hearing loss.
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