Tyll Hertsens Blog

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Tyll Hertsens Posted: Nov 21, 2014 47 comments

Many years ago, I sat at a table with about eight audiophile gear reviewers and asked the question, "Is the fidelity of reproduction directly related to one's ability to experience the art of music?" There was a pregnant moment of silence—you could almost hear the grinding of gears in their heads—and then answer, unanimously, was, "No."

One wonders then, if the gear isn't directly coupled to the appreciation of music, why review gear at all?

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Tyll Hertsens Posted: Nov 11, 2014 56 comments

Sure, I think InnerFidelity's "Wall of Fame" is an excellent resource for finding good headphones. I wouldn't work on it if I didn't. But, it's not the only resource around that I consider good.

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Tyll Hertsens Posted: Nov 10, 2014 11 comments

As regular readers will know, I'm of the belief that we're going to see headphones getting smarter and smarter. (See here, here, and here.) Smart headphones will offer some astonishing benefits: blind people will be able to walk around with voice cues seemingly coming from outside their head identifying their surroundings; you'll be able to walk around in foreign countries and be able to have signs written in foreign languages read to you; and you'll be able to watch movies on your iPad with convincing out-of-head localization of surround encoded material, amongst many other things.

It's also very likely that we'll have various biometric sensors (pulse, temperature, perspiration, and even brainwaves) in smart headphones that help us monitor exercise and our physical health.

But there will also be an ever-increasing ability to use these sensors to track behaviors. Eye-tracking and image recognition technologies can, for example, tell how often you stare at attractive women...and what part of their bodies you're looking at. Imagine your wife having access to data from that app!

Well, researchers at the University of Montreal have begun to use virtual reality techniques to monitor sex offender impulses to gain a better understanding of patient psychology and treatment progress. (Read full article here.) In the past patients were able to game the system too easily and make identifying desease attributes and tracking progress very difficult. This new technique gives clinicians a much clearer picture symptoms and treatment progress. Projecting into the future somewhat, I can imagine a time when sex offenders have to wear something like a Google Glass to track and report behaviors real-time.

So, it occurs to me that in the not too distant future our headphones and smartphones are going to know more about us than we do. They'll know what excites us, when we feel depressed, when we need to eat...and how much. I'm not sure becoming reliant upon technology in order to be aware of my physical and mental needs is such a good idea. Shouldn't we be developing those skills internally? And, donning my tin-foil hat for a moment, will the NSA be farming this sort of data for an entirely new dimension of monitoring we, the people?

What do you think?

Is Virtual Reality to Monitor Psychological Health a Good Idea?
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Tyll Hertsens Posted: Nov 06, 2014 5 comments

It's been five years since the last stand-alone, Head-Fi.org CanJam...and I miss them.

The L.A. crew have been working hard the last few years, and their regional meet has become an amazingly strong event. So strong in fact, that Jude has come to see L.A. this spring as the perfect re-entry point of CanJam to its roots as a Head-Fi.org stand-alone community event.

Woot!

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Tyll Hertsens Posted: Oct 31, 2014 13 comments

It's been scary in the laboratory the last couple of months!

Tyll Hertsens Posted: Oct 28, 2014 44 comments
Woot! Tidal opens today, let's bog its server down!

Just signed up and got my mitts on lossless streaming; checked out a few tracks I'm familiar with; damn...it's just like the CD!

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Tyll Hertsens Posted: Sep 30, 2014 33 comments
Holy Moly! Been reading a lot lately on headphone design...how much is actually getting absorbed as knowledge in my brain is another story entirely. This. Stuff. Is. Complicated.

It's come to my attention over the last week or so as I've been working on my review of the Philips Fidelio X2 that my understanding of headphone measurements is severely lacking. For example, I had been making the assumption that that when we find the right target curve for headphones, it would have some sort of elegant beauty, and that it would be broadly applicable.

And then I got the X2.

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Tyll Hertsens Posted: Sep 24, 2014 2 comments
You may remember me mentioning previously that InnerFidelity's parent company, The Enthusiast Network, likes to use social media to attract attention for their web properties. I've had a few meetings with the social media experts at TEN, and they've sent me some best practices guides.

Okie dokie, they want it, I'll do it. Seems to me a good chance to float out stuff that may hold a bit of interest but doesn't warrant space in these pages..and guess what? I am having a bit of fun.

Anywho, all you Facebookers out there who want to keep up with my fluffy musings may want to go to the InnerFidelity Facebook page and give it a look and a like. I'll be posting there daily.

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Tyll Hertsens Posted: Sep 12, 2014 27 comments
So, I'm finishing up my Sennheiser Urbanite review (it'll go up Monday) and low and behold they've opened up the Urbanite micro-site.

Oh. My. Goodness.

Genius or insanity, I can't really tell...I'm not the target audience.

Funny? Maybe. Weird? Definitely.

Click here if you dare.

Make sure to play the movie at the top of the page. Strangest headphone advert ever!

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Tyll Hertsens Posted: Sep 11, 2014 6 comments
Obviously, Adriana Duque's perspective on headphones is quite different than mine.

And far more colorful and imaginative.

I thought they were oddly soothing. More pictures here.

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Tyll Hertsens Posted: Sep 03, 2014 59 comments

Lots of stuff happening behind the scene's at InnerFidelity these days.

I can't tell all, but I can tell some.

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Tyll Hertsens Posted: Aug 30, 2014 23 comments
Lots of new headphones measured. Most of the Beats by Dre line; the Master&Dynamic MH40; the HiFiMAN HE-560; three Stax cans; lots of Oppo pad measurements; and much more!
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Tyll Hertsens Posted: Aug 25, 2014 12 comments

A complete and exhaustive look at the history of headphones? No.

But I learned some things and enjoyed it.

Tyll Hertsens Posted: Aug 19, 2014 20 comments

Lots of chatter abut the Oppo ear-pads on Head-Fi.org. I figured I better do some measurements to get another view.

Did some listening too, and found a favorite pad.

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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