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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?

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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.
Tyll Hertsens Posted: Sep 16, 2016 12 comments
From the look of the current market you may think the headphone train is moving along pretty fast. Well, you ain't seen nothing yet. The photo above is a very high speed exposure of the pistons in a new engine that's about be be hooked up to the front of that train...and it's already running at very high RPM.

Given the glimpse of what's coming down the tracks by engineers at the Audio Engineering Society Headphone Conference, my overwhelming impression walking out the door is that we're about to see a revolution in headphones.

Tyll Hertsens Posted: Sep 14, 2016 10 comments
Oh my, this paper sure throws a wrench into my mental monkey-works.

In it, Gunther Thiele opines about how to develop the standardized EQ and signal processing needed to deliver a tonally neutral headphone listening experience for audio professionals. There are some very interesting tid-bits of information here...but the conclusion will be somewhat troubling for headphone audio purists.

Tyll Hertsens Posted: Sep 12, 2016 2 comments
Most papers presented were pretty esoteric stuff—interesting, for sure, but not necessarily practically informative for enthusiasts. I found the following papers had information that was more directly relevant for enthusiasts.
Tyll Hertsens Posted: Sep 08, 2016 0 comments

Most of the papers presented at the conference were technically impressive and intellectually challenging, but, for the most part, not unexpected. There were a few, however, that were completely unexpected on my part. Here's three surprising and interesting papers.

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Tyll Hertsens Posted: Sep 07, 2016 53 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.
51% (24 votes)
Killer Bluetooth, good DACS, and DSP headphone correction will soon outperform all passive headphones. Good riddance wires!
19% (9 votes)
Total votes: 47
Tyll Hertsens Posted: Sep 06, 2016 1 comments
The image above shows an organized set of words used in sensory profiling to describe subjectively sensed audio. More about the "Sound Wheel" in this article.

Sensory Profiling is the study of how we experience things....headphones in this case. There were many papers on the subject, here's a few just to whet your whistle.

Tyll Hertsens Posted: Sep 01, 2016 4 comments
In order to make augmented reality audio on headphones believable, individualized HRTF measurements must created and used in the signal processing of the headphones. Typically, HRTF measurements are taken in an anechoic chamber with dozens of speakers around the room, or speakers swept by mechanical arms, or with rotating stools for the subject to sit upon. Obviously, you're not going to install these systems in every Walmart across the country so millions of kids can enjoy an immersive game of Pokemon Go.