Audio Science Guide

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Jan Meier Posted: Nov 18, 2014 32 comments
Dr. Jan Meier, of Meier Audio, recently submitted this article for me to consider publishing. He and I have had many a discussion, and quite a few disagreements, about the nature and effects of amplifier output impedance over the years. While I still have some concerns with his view brought to light here (I'll intersperse some of my comments in italics through the course of the article), I have moved away from the simple view that lower output impedance is always better. The following article does a lot to show a bit more sophisticated view of factors involved, and I thought it would be useful for InnerFidelity readers.
Tyll Hertsens Posted: Jul 30, 2014 43 comments
A short film from Audio Precision demonstrating the current state-of-the-art for headphone measurements does a good job of showing why we need the work being done at Harman to improve a standardized headphone target response curve.
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Tyll Hertsens Posted: Aug 20, 2012 50 comments

Square waves are a cool signal. They contain lots of frequency response info, but, unlike the frequency response plot, also contain some visible information on the phase and time response of the headphones. I highly recommend them...

...but not for listening. Yeeeesh!

Steve Guttenberg Posted: Apr 25, 2012 42 comments

I talk with Steve Guttenberg on the phone a few times a month, and I very much enjoy our chats. When Steve suggested we have a conversation about measurements and their relevance to audiophiles and write it up as an article, I was all-in immediately.

I hope you enjoy our chat as much as I did.

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MacedonianHero Posted: Mar 28, 2012 27 comments

Head-Fi member Macedionian Hero may be a headphone geek by night, but he's the Director of Engineering at a MIL/AERO electronics manufacturing firm by day. He's also a "Lean Six Sigma Black Belt" (don't know what he had to do to get that, but I bet there's a lot of math), and one of his specialities is characterizing the the precision and accuracy of electronic systems. He volunteered to evaluate the precision of my headphone frequency response measurements.

Did some nail biting over this one, I tell ya.

Tyll Hertsens Posted: Jan 07, 2012 35 comments

I really wanted to objectively show break-in effects were measurable and audible.

"Desire," says the Buddha, "is the source of our suffering."

Guess I'm not going to get what I want, I'll just have to stop wanting it.

Wanna see what I did get?

Tyll Hertsens Posted: Dec 27, 2011 26 comments
At it hot and heavy in the lab setting up amp measurements. Started with Total Harmonic Distortion + Noise vs. Frequency tests. Sent electrons whirling through a handfull of amps to see what the numbers said.

Wanna see?

NwAvGuy Posted: Oct 03, 2011 14 comments

Top Gear is one of the BBC’s biggest shows. They evaluate expensive cars in entertaining ways then turn them over to their anonymous racing driver, known only as The Stig, to find out how fast they’ll lap their track. Some say NwAvGuy is Stig’s geeky cousin. Instead of testing cars, as an Electrical Engineer, I design and test audio gear. I want to thank Tyll for requesting my thoughts on measuring electronics. I'm all for improving measurements

WHY MEASUREMENTS? Here are some key reasons:

Tyll Hertsens Posted: Sep 08, 2011 40 comments

Subjectivist: "Man, I got my headphones last week and they're breaking in nicely."
Obectivist: "Yer nuts, dude, it's your head breaking in to the sound of your new headphones."
Subjectivist: "Leave me alone, troll, take your objectivism to 'Sound Science.' We have the minds of Gods and poets, and don't need your weights and measures to know what we know what we know."
Objectivist: "What can I say to someone who's their own placebo?"
Subjectivist: "Break-in exists ... I've heard it ... I stamp my feet three times and you will go away."
Objectivist: "Lol ... you couldn't blind test your way out of a paper bag!"

And so it goes.

Let's try to clear a bit of this up, eh?

Tyll Hertsens Posted: Jun 09, 2011 35 comments

Many of you will remember my previous attempt at analyzing break-in from this post. A lot of good comments and suggestions were made after the post, and I'd encourage those not familiar with this previous attempt to check it out.

Deciding that my time away at T.H.E. Show Newport would be the perfect opportunity to run some more break-in tests, I programmed my headphone measurement system to take frequency response, square wave, impulse response, and Total Harmonic Distortion data every hour for 100 hours.

Man! That's a lot of numbers ... I'm glad I have a computer.

Tyll Hertsens Posted: May 11, 2011 11 comments

They've been around since the 70's and never really caught on, but all of a sudden a couple small headphone makers have entered the fray with new planar magnetic headphones and ... Oh. My. Gosh. ... they're very good.

Before reviewing some of these headphones, I thought it would be a good idea to write an article describing how this "what once was old is new again" technology works. So come along for a ride as I describe how planar magnetic headphones work ... and how I busted mine all to pieces.

Tyll Hertsens Posted: May 05, 2011 14 comments

By now, most folks are aware of the potential for hearing loss by playing music too loud on headphones. I won’t bother you with it yet again. I’m going to try to take another approach. If you are turning the volume up to loud levels, you’re just throwing all that money you spent on great sound out the window. Here’s why.
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Tyll Hertsens Posted: Apr 26, 2011 1 comments
This page is being reserved for work on a web-based headphone measurement graphing tool. With it you will be able to compare various headphone characteristics from among the headphones we have in our database.

I want to especially thank members Roger Stummer and xnor for their willingness to help with this very important task for the headphone enthusiast community and for consumers at large.

THANKS GUYS!!! :)

Okay gentlemen, the space is yours.

Tyll Hertsens Posted: Apr 24, 2011 61 comments

The nice folks over at AKG decided to send me a bunch of Quincy Jones headphones, including three Q701s! That's good news for both you and me. For me, because it will allow me to do some experiments I've been wanting to do for a long time. The AKG K701, now reborn as the Quincy Jones Q701, is notorious for needing hundreds of hours of break-in before they sound right. I want to see if that can be measured, and in this article I'll show you the first sets of measurements.

It's good news for you, because when all is said and done, I'll give away two pairs of the Q701 headphones to some lucky reader.

So, let's talk about break-in, shall we...

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Tyll Hertsens Posted: Apr 16, 2011 29 comments

Measuring what a pair of headphones sound like inside you head is no simple task. It's complicated in there.

No worries, in this article I'll take you step-by-step through the process of measuring the frequency response of a pair of headphones.

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