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.
Tyll Hertsens Posted: Aug 30, 2016 9 comments

You're no doubt aware of the latest Pokemon Go craze. Kids walk around with smartphone in hand searching for these little cartoon characters that have been virtually placed in the real physical world. It's hot, hot, HOT!!!

Well, when the kids are crazy about something, the MBAs take notice. If you can enhance Pokemon Go by making it a more "real" experience, the kids will by your stuff. As a result, companies from Sennheiser to Microsoft to Nokia to Apple are all in a race to make headphones sound like real sound that come from outside your head.

Tyll Hertsens Posted: Aug 29, 2016 3 comments
Having done my Google maps satellite surveillance prior to the event, my hotel was a quick 100 meter walk from the Nordkraft building in which the conference was held. This old power plant building was refurbished in 2009 as part of a cultural development effort in the surrounding waterfront area.
Tyll Hertsens Posted: Aug 25, 2016 7 comments
A few of yesterdays papers on perceptual evaluations referred to the "Sound Wheel" developed by Delta's SenseLab---a Danish firm that offers an audio product testing service. I was intrigued at first simply because it was colorful and pretty. After the sessions I looked it up and found it was far more than that.
Tyll Hertsens Posted: Aug 25, 2016 4 comments
It's always a bit Twilight Zone to travel for 20 hours only to arrive at your destination at 9 o'clock in the morning. I walked up to the desk clerk at the Aaborg Hotel to check in.

"I'm sorry, sir. Your room won't be ready until about 2 PM."

Tyll Hertsens Posted: Aug 23, 2016 19 comments's something you probably didn't expect.