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A headphone comparison method (prototype audio clips of closed headphones included)
Old 9th March 2013
  #1
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Hjelmevold's Avatar
A headphone comparison method (prototype audio clips of closed headphones included)

Below are some audio clips of these headphones:
- AKG K271 mkII
- Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro (80 Ohm)
- Beyerdynamic DT 1350
- Denon AH-D2000
- KRK KNS-6400
- Sennheiser HD 280 Pro
- Shure SRH-940

But first, I wanted to bring up the problems/advantages of using this technique. My main reason why I make this thread is not to draw conclusions from any gear, but more to document a methodology that some of you might find useful. Who knows, at least it has helped me in my decisions.

Headphones all sound different to us. Some of it is due to our opinion, but other factors are differences in physical size and shape of our head/ears. When headphone shopping, I find it nice to have some empirical data to base my judgements on, and although many headphone sites offer measurements done with high-grade binaural dummy heads, those have in some cases not matched my impressions of that headphone when I've tried them on my head.

Recently when I was out headphone shopping, I used a technique where I put some small omni capsules inside of my ears, and recorded the result. Thus, when re-playing the recording on the same headphones, the characteristics of a specific headphone was accentuated since it's being "played twice". In the case of a headphone for various professional use, one of the features that I'm after as little coloration as possible, and I find this technique to be a useful tool. But other factors matter, too!

In this thread, I've attatched several recordings of a loop from Apple GarageBand ("Half Dome Medium") that I've recorded on various sets of closed headphones. The circumstances were casual, simply hooking up the SoundMan OKM capsules into an Apogee Duet 2 that I used as headphone amp and AD/DA.

Some possible sources of error that need to be considered:
- My ears are shaped differently than yours!
- You will likely not have the possibility to re-listen to these audio clips on the same headphone, so your listening experience will be heavily colored by your own equipment. Therefore, my advice is to listen using an old headphone that you are familiar with, rather than a "good" headphone that you don't know inside out yet.
- The SoundMan OKM capsules are EQ-ed to sound pleasant, but they are not EQ-ed to sound flat. Frequency response in these clips should therefore not be thought of as an accurate measurement in absolute terms, but more as a shapshot of the specific instance, relative to the similar circumstances with other headphones in the other audio clips.
- Due to differences in sensitivity, it was difficult to match headphone output levels during recording. I did multiple takes and tried to release the versions that sounded most similar, saturation-wise. But some circumstances may clearly have benefited one headphone pair over the other, and some headphones seemed to have significant differences in their performance depending on the output level.
- Some headphones were more sensitive to placement than others, and in addition to this, the in-ear microphones stick out a bit from the outer ear, positioning them relatively close to the drivers on some of the more snug-fitting headphones.
- There is no way to reliably transfer the results here to tests performed on other headphones by others, as that would be completely different circumstances. Perhaps if that person had access to the same headphone models? But that's an interesting discussion, no doubt.

If anyone wants me to perform any additional tests, I'll see what I can do.
Old 9th March 2013
  #2
Lives for gear
 
Hjelmevold's Avatar
Audio clips are attached in this post.
Attached Files

AH-D2000.mp3 (1.15 MB, 555 views)

DT770.mp3 (1.15 MB, 551 views)

DT1350.mp3 (1.15 MB, 494 views)

HD280.mp3 (1.15 MB, 516 views)

K271.mp3 (1.15 MB, 530 views)

KNS6400.mp3 (1.15 MB, 487 views)

SRH940.mp3 (1.15 MB, 542 views)

Old 9th March 2013
  #3
Lives for gear
 
Hjelmevold's Avatar
…and here are some images of the frequency response in each take, made in Audacity by analyzing some white noise that was played right before the music that you hear in the audio clip.

Again, please remember that these are not clinical professional-grade measurements, but only portray an analysis of the specific circumstances of each take.
Attached Thumbnails
A headphone comparison method (prototype audio clips of closed headphones included)-ah-d2000.jpg   A headphone comparison method (prototype audio clips of closed headphones included)-dt770.jpg   A headphone comparison method (prototype audio clips of closed headphones included)-dt1350.jpg   A headphone comparison method (prototype audio clips of closed headphones included)-hd280.jpg   A headphone comparison method (prototype audio clips of closed headphones included)-k271.jpg  

A headphone comparison method (prototype audio clips of closed headphones included)-kns6400.jpg   A headphone comparison method (prototype audio clips of closed headphones included)-srh940.jpg  
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