Headphone 101

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Posted: Jun 28, 2016 6 comments
I arrived at Harman International Northridge at the appointed time of 9 am, sharp. After being conducted to the Harman Reference Room, I found Tyll Hertsens already busily setting up his gear, focused on collecting all the necessary interconnects to begin his Head Acoustics simulator measurements. Tyll's next stop was T.H.E. Show, Newport later that day and he didn't want to waste any precious time.
Tyll Hertsens Posted: Jun 25, 2016 39 comments
I don't think I'd make a very good researcher. I get too pissed when the numbers don't look like I'd like. Guess that's why so many engineers are less in touch with their feelings than the average Joe. Oh well, here we go.
Posted: Jun 10, 2016 22 comments
I'm up against a bit of a wall here as I'm going on vacation next week—John Grandberg will have a headphone amp review going up, so stay tuned—so I haven't been able to do all the number crunching I'd like. None the less, I'm far enough in to provide some cool graphs of the results so far.
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Tyll Hertsens Posted: Jun 03, 2016 38 comments
Sweet! Had a great day at Harman yesterday with Warren TenBrook (his conversation with Sean Olive here) and the Harman engineers. Two series of measurements were made, one with both speaker channels being driven, and one with only the left speaker driven. Fifteen measurements were made for each series at +/-20 degrees, +/-10 degrees, and 0 degrees azimuth at elevations +/-10 and 0 degrees.
Tyll Hertsens Posted: May 30, 2016 23 comments

Thursday I will be at Harman's research laboratories to measure what my head hears when in front of a very highly calibrated speaker system. It's an effort to drill into the measurements and, slowly but surely, come to a better understanding of what's going on.

Tyll Hertsens Posted: May 13, 2016 7 comments
In this article, we're primarily going to discuss the dynamic nature of the headphone driver as an electrical load on the amplifier driving it, which is expressed as impedance and is essentially additive to the resistance of the voice coil. Impedance is somewhat like resistance in that it can be expressed in Ohms, but it's quite different in that it is "reactive" and the impedance in Ohms can change depending on the frequency applied.
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Tyll Hertsens Posted: May 22, 2015 12 comments

In Part 1 of this article, I explained what total harmonic distortion is and how it's measured. Here in this second part, we will take a look at various THD+noise plots and interpret them.

Tyll Hertsens Posted: Mar 17, 2015 33 comments

In part one we will look at how the THD+noise plot is acquired and what it means. In part two we will look at a variety of measured data with an eye towards interpretation.

Tyll Hertsens Posted: Feb 21, 2015 28 comments

A bunch of concepts about how a target response is developed and what it might look like were introduced in Part One of this article. Here, in Part Two, we look at a variety of plots and make observations based on what we learned in Part One.

Tyll Hertsens Posted: Feb 06, 2015 34 comments

It's taken me a long time to feel like I had enough knowledge about this subject to attempt a serious overview. Lots more to learn, of course, but here's my current understanding of headphone frequency response measurements.

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Tyll Hertsens Posted: Dec 15, 2014 26 comments

Ever wonder how those tiny little drivers in custom IEMs work? This Headphone 101 article will help you get a grip on this surprisingly complex subject.

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Tyll Hertsens Posted: Oct 06, 2014 27 comments
Many will be aware of Magnepan and their speakers, for which they've coined and registered the name "Magneplanar" referring to their planar magnetic operating principle. Most won't know, however, that Yamaha similarly branded their planar magnetic headphones as "Orthodynamic" headphones, with a U.S. introduction in 1976. Just like with planar magnetic speakers, Yamaha's Orthodynamic headphones (and those by Fostex, MB Quart, and others) never gathered a wide following, but both have gathered cults of rabid fans...with good reason, as it turns out.
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Tyll Hertsens Posted: Sep 20, 2014 17 comments
The most common transducer type in headphones is the dynamic driver. It's basically a miniature version of the large driver you'd see in a typical speaker in the home. There are other headphone driver types, but for this article we'll focus on the dynamic driver.

Headphone101_DynamicDriver_DiaphragmAnimationThe dynamic driver is a transducer that converts an electrical signal into an acoustic signal. The image above shows a partially disassembled headphone capsule with the earpad and driver grill removed. The shiny circular transparent object is the driver diaphragm—it's like the speaker cone in a regular speaker. The electrical signal to the headphones causes it to move in and out (as show at right) and creates the sound you hear in the headphones.

To understand exactly how wire, electrical signal, and magnets cause the diaphragm to move, we'll need to start with electromagnetic principles...and I'll have to break out the Dremel tool and distroy some perfectly good headphones. RIP V-Moda Crossfade LP, you died for a good cause.

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Tyll Hertsens Posted: Sep 08, 2014 20 comments
Woot! Here we go, InnerFidelity's first Headphone 101 page. Sure, it's mostly simple stuff for headphone enthusiasts, but I bet there's a few tidbits of info you won't have heard before. I know there were a few new things for me as I read the IEC headphone spec and "Loudspeaker and Headphone Handbook" to brush up before writing the article.

Enjoy!

Tyll Hertsens Posted: Aug 20, 2012 50 comments

Square waves are a cool signal. They contain lots of frequency response info, but, unlike the frequency response plot, also contain some visible information on the phase and time response of the headphones. I highly recommend them...

...but not for listening. Yeeeesh!