Tyll Hertsens Blog

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Tyll Hertsens Posted: Jul 18, 2016 20 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.
60% (25 votes)
Under some circumstances, sure. But not all the time.
29% (12 votes)
I'm curious; it would be fun. Maybe I'd get sucked in. Not sure.
10% (4 votes)
Heck yeah, connected 24/7, no need to pull my phone out of my pocket. In!
2% (1 vote)
Total votes: 42
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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 33 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 16 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 14 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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Tyll Hertsens Posted: May 03, 2016 43 comments
Editor's Note: You just never know what's going to happen in my email in-box sometimes.

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Tyll Hertsens Posted: Apr 19, 2016 29 comments

After Audeze clued me into how much the different headphone measurement heads vary in measurement performance, I decided to undertake a little experiment of my own. Well...not all my own, I'd love for others to join in! Come see how.

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Tyll Hertsens Posted: Apr 13, 2016 93 comments
Editor's note: After my review of the LCD-4, Audeze emailed me concerning discrepancies between my measurements and theirs. Numerous fairly technical emails were exchanged, I sent a number of Excel spreadsheets of my measurements for their use in comparisons, and there certainly does seem to be a discrepancy between measurements.

The folks at Audeze asked if they could write an article about these measurement observations and their response to my LCD-4 review. I said, "Of course, I've got plenty to learn on this subject." This article is Audeze's response.

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Tyll Hertsens Posted: Apr 08, 2016 34 comments
Some interesting times ahead. Before we start, let's find out what you think.
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Tyll Hertsens Posted: Apr 08, 2016 22 comments
Let's agree from the start that measurements are no substitute for listening when evaluating headphones. The question is, do the measurements serve a useful function?

If you choose the last selection here, you really don't need to bother with the rest of the polls.

Feel free to elaborate on how useful headphone measurements are to you generally in the comments.

After submitting your vote, click here for the next poll, and here if you missed the introductory post.

How Useful do You Find Headphone Measurements?
You bet, I can tell quite a bit about how a headphone might sound.
30% (46 votes)
I can get a rough feel for how a headphone will sound.
50% (78 votes)
I can't tell how it will sound, but I can tell if they're junk or not.
15% (23 votes)
I'm pretty confused by it all, but I'm trying to figure it out.
2% (3 votes)
Measurements are next to useless as far as I'm concerned.
3% (5 votes)
Total votes: 155
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Tyll Hertsens Posted: Apr 08, 2016 18 comments
Some will, no doubt, say "MOAR IS BETTA!", but let's not go there. Please select which best describes what you see and are looking for in bass response measurements.

Feel free to elaborate on how useful bass headphone measurements are to you in the comments.

After submitting your vote, click here for the next poll, and here if you missed for the introductory post.

How do You Evaluate Bass Measurements?
I'd like to see a nice flat line, and I know what it looks like.
30% (41 votes)
I get the plots, and I like the +3dB boost of the Harman target response.
49% (66 votes)
I get 'em. I really don't mind a gently rolling-off bass; lots of cans have it.
8% (11 votes)
To tell the truth, the bass often seems somewhat different than the plots.
11% (15 votes)
MOAR BASS!!! (Editor's Note: Hey, I said knock it off!)
1% (2 votes)
Total votes: 135
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Tyll Hertsens Posted: Apr 08, 2016 8 comments
As J. Gordon Holt famously said, "If the midrange isn't right, nothing else matters." Please select which best describes what you see and are looking for in midrange response measurements.

Feel free to elaborate on how useful midrange headphone measurements are to you in the comments.

After submitting your vote, click here for the next poll, and here if you missed the introductory post.

How do You Evaluate Mid-Range Measurements?
Of course I get it, and again, what's wrong with a flat line?
26% (32 votes)
I get the plots, and I like the gentle upward slope of the Harman target.
48% (59 votes)
I like a "U" shaped response.
5% (6 votes)
I like a mid-strong response.
8% (10 votes)
I just look for too many wiggles; should be flat I suppose.
9% (11 votes)
So...where's the midrange exactly?
5% (6 votes)
Total votes: 124
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Tyll Hertsens Posted: Apr 08, 2016 17 comments
We'll probably all agree that treble measurements are noisy and difficult to interpret. It's mostly blurring your eyes to get the gist of the general trends. Ah well, please select which best describes what you see and are looking for in treble response measurements.

Feel free to elaborate on how useful treble headphone measurements are to you in the comments.

After submitting your vote, you're done. Thank you for helping out!

How do You Evaluate Treble Measurements?
Can we get a holla for a flat line! Okay, maybe a little roll-off.
23% (28 votes)
Heaven forbid an upward spike between 4-8kHz; after that just a little roll-off.
35% (43 votes)
I like the evermore-descending response of the Harman target, all the way up.
27% (34 votes)
I really can't tell what's going on up there.
9% (11 votes)
Don't believe anything you see after 4kHz!
6% (8 votes)
Total votes: 124

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