About headphones measurements and frequency response in particular

Эта статья на русском языке.

This article is a part 2 of this article on target curves.

Let’s start by answering a simple (but not too simple, actually) question: what are the headphones sound parameters that can be measured at all? Or, more precisely, the sound parameters that are usually measured. I’ve divided those into two categories: the main ones – the most significant and frequently cited, and the additional ones – less significant, but also important.

Main measurements

  • The frequency response is the dependency of the sound pressure level on the frequency of the reproduced harmonic signal at the headphones output. The frequency response is a reflection of the played sound volume at different frequencies. In the audiophile universe, it’s called tonal balance. The frequency response is the most significant characteristic of the headphones sound delivery. This is what we most often pay attention to when describing the sound.
  • The cumulative spectrum (waterfall) reflects resonances and reverberations at different frequencies after the headphones stop playing the signal. Each resonance adds a certain emphasis to its corresponding frequency. If the amplifier also introduces some distortion, such a distortion is going to be amplified at the resonant frequencies. At some point, the resonances can be considered as a qualitative parameter, where less is better. However, it’s still more correct to address it as a versatility indicator, like less resonances mean less glitches visibility on the amplifier side.
  • The impulse response — a response to a single shortest possible impulse. The pulse response wave form primarily depends on the frequency response, the attenuated resonances and reverberation of the headphones themselves, as well as on the acoustic test chamber stand. The total length of the impulse is about 5 seconds, while visually it’s somewhere around 2-4 milliseconds long.
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Shure Aonic 50

Эта статья на русском языке.

In my pursuit of a perfect pair of headphones, I laid my hands on the next wireless Bluetooth model, which is the Shure Aonic 50.

On the Shure website, there’s a hint about the Aonic 50 having to deliver a smooth sound, because ‘some comfortable, high-quality headphones with studio-class sound are the least we could do for you’. And since I’m a big fan of neutral sound delivery, my audiophile libido immediately kicked in.

After all, ‘studio-class’ should be neutral, right?

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DALI IO-6 and the Hobson’s Choice

Эта статья на русском языке.

Reviewing any wireless Bluetooth headphones is always quite difficult, because they’re all, well… pretty bad.

If you’re looking for some decent sound quality, every model of Bluetooth headphones, whatever their cost is, has a wired competitor that sounds better, but costs less or at least doesn’t cost a lot more. Of course, the sound source and its cost needs to be taken into account, too, but that only makes the expensive wireless models situation even more deplorable: if the wireless headphones cost somewhere around $200, then for this money you can buy both decent wired headphones and a nice sound source. And this headphones/sound source combination is going to be a whole lot better then the wireless analog from the same price segment.

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Ollo Audio S4X Headphones Review

The Slovenian Ollo Audio company manufactures headphones since 2015. Both two current Ollo models are for musicians, sound engineers and other professionals whose everyday tasks are related to sound.

Today we have an open-back S4X model to review (product page).

Spoiler: these headphones are darn good.

All images are clickable to enlarge.

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