Tyll Hertsens Blog

Sort By: Post Date | Title | Publish Date
Filed under
Tyll Hertsens Posted: Dec 05, 2016 23 comments
Surfing through my headphone news feed the other day I stumbled across an article on Picky Ear titled, "Best Headphone Brands: What We Can Learn from 310,067 Headphone Reviews." After reading through their conclusions I learned that aggregating thousands of reviews, no doubt largely populated by folks who really don't know what they're talking about, generally nets you a fairly random result. Maybe I shouldn't pick on Picky Ear; I've seen lots of these lists and have a hard time taking any of them seriously.

Here's my list.

Filed under
Tyll Hertsens Posted: Dec 01, 2016 43 comments
I'm in the process of writing a survey of headphone manufacturers and their worth in the world, and find myself repeatedly asking the question of who will carry the banner for high quality sound reproduction in the future. Consumers will claim sound quality is important, but, in fact, it plays a lesser roll in actual purchase with styling, comfort, and build quality leading the way in consumer decisions.

Which of the following major headphone producers do you think will do the most to promote sound quality to consumers at large as important...and deliver on that promise?

I'd love to hear the reasons for your pick in the comments below!

Which headphone maker will be most influential in promoting sound quality as an important performance characteristic?
AKG
7% (5 votes)
Audio Technica
1% (1 vote)
Beats/Apple
10% (7 votes)
Beyerdynamic
4% (3 votes)
Bose
1% (1 vote)
JBL
0% (0 votes)
Koss
3% (2 votes)
Monster
0% (0 votes)
Philips
1% (1 vote)
Sennheiser
63% (44 votes)
Shure
3% (2 votes)
Skullcandy
0% (0 votes)
Sony
6% (4 votes)
Total votes: 70
Filed under
Tyll Hertsens Posted: Nov 23, 2016 12 comments
Many of you will be aware that I've had some trouble with distortion measurements lately. Well, fortunately it had gotten so bad and consistent that I was able to identify a repeatable problem and trouble shoot the system. Turned out to be a combination of a noisy power supply in the headphone amp I use, and a corroded power connecter to the mic pre-amp. I switched out the headphone amp and bought a small motorcycle battery to power up the mic pre-amp and BOOM! the problem is gone! Phew. So I went back and did some re-measuring of what headphones I still had here, and measured a few that were laying in wait. Good times.
Filed under
Tyll Hertsens Posted: Nov 07, 2016 7 comments
Oh man, this is already pretty interesting!
Filed under
Tyll Hertsens Posted: Oct 21, 2016 13 comments
Headphone commercials are pretty rare. National advertising is expensive and not many headphone companies can afford that kind of dough...well, one can.
Filed under
Tyll Hertsens Posted: Sep 21, 2016 27 comments

Anybody in a betting mood?

Back in June 2014 I reported on a little confusion that never seemed to be cleared up. The question is, "Can the Lightning port transport analog audio?" Most sources say no. But is that true?

Filed under
Posted: Sep 20, 2016 10 comments
Adding to all the ballyhoo around iPhone7's missing headphone jack is Nick Hunn's "Airpods – a Speculative Teardown" blog post. Boy, a sharp mind is a beautiful thing to behold.
Filed under
Tyll Hertsens Posted: Sep 07, 2016 52 comments

It's likely today may be marked as the most pivotal day in the history of headphones. The iPhone7 will be announced...most likely without a headphone jack. Tomorrow the news feeds will be filled with raves and rants. I thought Sean Olive's Facebook post was a good synopsis of the situation:

Today I was interviewed by a journalist writing an article about the removal of the analog headphone jack in the iPhone 7 expected to be announced tomorrow. She said there are thousands of people petitioning this.

Me I don't think this is such a big deal. First, iPhones only represent about 15% of the market. Secondly, if you have wireless headphones (which now surpass sales of wired headphones) you can access iPhone music via Bluetooth. Thirdly, in the long run it will encourage people to buy powered headphones with DSP chips that can fix the poor frequency response of most passive headphones. This is the current weakest link to obtaining sound quality over headphones -- not Bluetooth or even MP3.

Yes initially it will be an inconvenience and expense but most consumers have already spoken that they don't wish to be tethered to their music players and phones with a cable ( which BTW is the first thing that fails and turns the headphone into trash ). What do think??

Yes, I'd like to hear what you think too. I'll put this up as a poll, but I'd love to hear your more nuanced opinion in the comments. I'll give you my thoughts next week after I read some of the news on-line over the next few days. Have at it.

What's the Headphone World Coming to?
Consumers will eventually see the folly...wires will be back.
4% (2 votes)
Many will shed the wire, but many with good ears will keep the demand for cables high enough.
26% (12 votes)
Bluetooth will get plenty good for most. Wires for pro audio and enthusiasts will remain.
50% (23 votes)
Killer Bluetooth, good DACS, and DSP headphone correction will soon outperform all passive headphones. Good riddance wires!
20% (9 votes)
Total votes: 46
Tyll Hertsens Posted: Aug 23, 2016 19 comments
Well...here's something you probably didn't expect.
Filed under
Tyll Hertsens Posted: Aug 21, 2016 22 comments
The new Mr. Speakers Ether Flow and Focal Utopia and Elear have rocked my world...and the Wall of Fame. Here are the changes...
Filed under
Tyll Hertsens Posted: Aug 04, 2016 8 comments
It comes with the territory: Sometimes I just have to post things that are quick and easy to keep the pageviews coming. It's not a bad thing as long as there's a little entertainment value.

Jon Iverson and I were chatting in our weekly meeting...

"Do headphone enthusiasts dig t-shirts, " Jon asked?

It comes with the territory: Sometimes I just have to post things that are quick and easy to keep the pageviews coming. It's not a bad thing as long as there's a little entertainment value.

I was chatting with a co-worker...

"Do headphone enthusiasts dig t-shirts?"

(He was stimulated by this headphone t-shirt image search...which has some pretty cool results.)

"Oh," I snapped back, "they love them!"

"Oh," I snapped back, "they love them!"

Filed under
Tyll Hertsens Posted: Aug 04, 2016 0 comments
It comes with the territory: Sometimes I just have to post things that are quick and easy to keep the pageviews coming. It's not a bad thing as long as there's a little entertainment value.

Jon Iverson and I were chatting in our weekly meeting...

"Do headphone enthusiasts dig t-shirts, " Jon asked?

(He was stimulated by this headphone t-shirt image search...which has some pretty cool results.)

"Oh," I snapped back, "they love them!"

Filed under
Tyll Hertsens Posted: Jul 18, 2016 24 comments
Far be it for me to fuel the hype train...but this particular one appears to be an inter-city express on seamless rails screaming into our future at 350km/hr. I'm hopping aboard...even though I don't know exactly where we'll end up. Who cares when the tunes are this good. Roll on!
Filed under
Tyll Hertsens Posted: Jul 13, 2016 8 comments
Doppler Labs' Here One earbuds gives you control over how you perceive the world. Credit: Doppler Labs

In "Why wearables will replace your smartphone", Mike Elgan of Computerworld suggests:

With the rise of virtual assistants and bots, we'll increasingly talk to our smartphones through wearables instead of poking at their screens. Notifications and updates will be spoken to us through our wireless earbuds. Haptics will nudge and inform us with increasingly sophisticated vibrations. The electronics now used in smartglasses will vanish inside ordinary looking glasses and sunglasses, and we'll use them to take photos and videos with a tap or swipe to see high-resolution mixed- and augmented-reality images.

I've written such things too—it is coming. But the thing that's started to grind on me since I've started thinking about it is: Would I wear such a thing all the time? I mean, if you're really going to keep the thing in your pocket or purse...if you're really going to have it track your steps and pulse rate...if you're really not going to have the damned phone in your hands all the time, well, you're going to have to wear the smart headphones all day long every day. I don't know if I could...or even want to do that. I'm curious, what about you?

Would You Wear Smart Headphones All Day Long?
I'm not the Bionic Man you're looking for. No way.
59% (26 votes)
Under some circumstances, sure. But not all the time.
27% (12 votes)
I'm curious; it would be fun. Maybe I'd get sucked in. Not sure.
9% (4 votes)
Heck yeah, connected 24/7, no need to pull my phone out of my pocket. In!
5% (2 votes)
Total votes: 44

Pages