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Listener Preferences for High-Frequency Response of Insert Headphones

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The frequency response of a headphone is very important for listener satisfaction. Listener preferences have been well 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 makes it more practical to study this frequency region now. The goal of this study was to determine the preferred headphone response for insert headphones for the audible range above 10 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 headphone 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.

Open Access


JAES Volume 71 Issue 10 pp. 707-718; October 2023
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AES - Audio Engineering Society