Tyll Hertsens Blog

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Tyll Hertsens Posted: Sep 21, 2016 25 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?

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Posted: Sep 20, 2016 9 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.
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Tyll Hertsens Posted: Sep 07, 2016 50 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.
5% (2 votes)
Many will shed the wire, but many with good ears will keep the demand for cables high enough.
28% (12 votes)
Bluetooth will get plenty good for most. Wires for pro audio and enthusiasts will remain.
47% (20 votes)
Killer Bluetooth, good DACS, and DSP headphone correction will soon outperform all passive headphones. Good riddance wires!
21% (9 votes)
Total votes: 43
Tyll Hertsens Posted: Aug 23, 2016 19 comments
Well...here's something you probably didn't expect.
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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...
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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!"

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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!"

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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!
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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.
58% (25 votes)
Under some circumstances, sure. But not all the time.
28% (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: 43
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Tyll Hertsens Posted: Jul 11, 2016 11 comments

Measurement rig has been off-line some as I disassembled it for head measurements at Harman. Fortunately, the headphones didn't stop coming in and I've finally managed to dig my way through the pile.

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Tyll Hertsens Posted: Jul 07, 2016 36 comments
Headphones will never have the visceral impact and imaging of speakers. And speakers will forever be trying to play catch-up with the resolution of headphones...and will find themselves falling further and further behind as time goes on.
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Tyll Hertsens Posted: Jun 30, 2016 31 comments
Audiophiles are rejoicing.

"I told you so! I told you so! I told you so!", they chant.

A recent paper published in the Journal of the Audio Engineering Society titled "A Meta-Analysis of High Resolution Audio Perceptual Evaluation" by Joshua D. Reiss concludes:

In summary, these results imply that, though the effect is perhaps small and difficult to detect, the perceived fidelity of an audio recording and playback chain is affected by operating beyond conventional consumer oriented levels. Furthermore, though the causes are still unknown, this perceived effect can be confirmed with a variety of statistical approaches and it can be greatly improved through training.
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Tyll Hertsens Posted: Jun 29, 2016 18 comments
From what I've seen in the past, I would say that if the hobbyists themselves become willing to take up the mission, many, many hundreds of man-hours may be available free for the asking. And if they become invested (like Bernie supporters) raising funds $27 a pop (on Kickstarter or GoFundMe) can become a viable financial resource. But I don't think the enthusiasts will go along for the ride with industry in the lead.
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Tyll Hertsens Posted: May 17, 2016 13 comments
Not long ago, I wrote a little article documenting the effects of different filters in a headphone. Soon thereafter, one of the headphone engineers at Skullcandy shot me an email pointing out a company that makes acoustic filter materials for industry. Boy, wouldn't it be nice to get past the toilet paper and get some of the real deal into the hands of hobbyists. So, I followed the rabbit down the hole.

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