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Lab 2 audio thought

lostboykev
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If you are watching the YouTubes, you'll know Linus is investing money in ear microphone technology for I believe only headphones. I could be wrong since I'm not employed there. I saw a great video from "this is tech today" specifically https://youtu.be/DAm4jcrLC8U

 

 

They have a retrofitted audio intake device with high quality mics to test ear buds. It seems very interesting since it was to give an audio comparison of the Sony Linkbuds S which I own. Watching and listening through the video I feel it gave a good representation of the sound scape for each competing earbuds.

 

I'd hope earbuds would be a part of Lab 2 and I'd hope they will eventually have a solution for testing them...

 

Also if your were in the marking for Linkbuds S, this video is a great resource.

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This sort of thing has been being done for years, it's nothing new. Industry insiders also recognize that sound demos don't actually give accurate representations of what a product sounds like, they're mainly used to take measurements for tonality. This is far more useful data to extract information from.

 

Otherwise, you're just listening to some random set, through microphones, through your own device, through your own headphones. Which will not sound remotely like the end product.

 

If you'd like to see the measurements for a wide variety of headphones, and IEMs, I'd recommend checking out In Ear Fidelity. It's run by Crinacle, and it's the single largest online database of headphone/IEM measurement graphs.

 

Another fair point to be made, is that all measurement rigs measure differently. Not just by model/manufacturer, but there's also unit variance to a certain extent. Same goes for the headphones/IEMs themselves. The industry standard mic for conducting measurements is the GRAS. Pretty much anything else is considered more or less consumer-level and should not be used to take professional measurements, etc.

 

If Linus is investing in this technology, he's a solid 5 years late at least. He'd have a lot of catching up to do if he decided to conduct measurements of his own, and if he's planning on doing sound demos he's ill-informed. I like Linus, he's a cool dude, but I wouldn't trust him to review anything audio related unfortunately. He says stuff like "The iMAC's speakers have an impressively wide soundstage", which is just irritating to hear as an audiophile objectivist.

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While this type of demo can be a decent resource for comparisons, it also has the potential to be extremely misleading.

 

For instance, assume that you prefer a slightly brighter than normal earphone, and you indeed own a slightly brighter than normal earphone. Listening to the demo, a bassier headphone might sound neutral through your listening setup (even if it's in fact the least neutral headphone in the comparison), while a brighter than normal headphone might sound the worst because your playback setup makes it sound unbearably bright – when in actuality it would have been your favorite if you had listened directly.

 

The other major problem is that for headphones (unlike speakers), the acoustic coupling between your ears and the headphone determine the sound of the headphone, not the headphone alone. There are only a handful of headphones (the HD650 being a notable one) that sound substantially the same to most listeners.

 

For instance, the reviewer in the video uses straight tubing for his ear canal coupler, which will cause the recorded sound output to be highly unrepresentative for the majority of listeners. There is a common industry standard, IEC711, for microphone setups that match the acoustic impedance of human ears, for use with IEM measurements.

 

Below is a graph from Soundstage Solo demonstrating this effect on an IEM. The green line is a standardized test rig; the red and yellow lines are from a common ear simulator microphone that does not conform to any standards. This effect cannot be corrected by simply adding and subtracting errors because the acoustic impedance will differ for every single headphone tested; in other words, the method used in the video may undermeasure bass for one headphone by 10dB and overmeasure it by 5dB for another headphone, and you would have no way of knowing without verifying on a standardized rig.

image.png.c2a8a99707e3eb6db2017a5104276e9e.png

2 hours ago, OfficialTechSpace said:

Another fair point to be made, is that all measurement rigs measure differently. Not just by model/manufacturer, but there's also unit variance to a certain extent. Same goes for the headphones/IEMs themselves. The industry standard mic for conducting measurements is the GRAS. Pretty much anything else is considered more or less consumer-level and should not be used to take professional measurements, etc.

GRAS is what Harman uses, so that's what the de facto industry standard has ended up being. B&K's implementation is arguably more accurate for a different set of "average" listeners but as a result is less comparable to preexisting data. There are also a few other manufacturers with standards-conforming setups. Even the generic IEC711 coupler Crinacle used to use had good compliance with GRAS results; the slight treble deviations are largely attributable to Crinacle trying to standardize insertion depth to shift the coupler's resonance to 8kHz instead of the typical 13.5kHz.

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