2013 Munich High End Show Highlight: NAD VISO HP 50 Sealed Headphones
Ever since I started measuring headphones I've wanted a compensation curve based on what the measurement head would hear from two very flat speakers in an acoustically treated room. Headphone compensation curves based on Diffuse Field or Free Field measurements aren't at all what speakers deliver. I mean, it just makes sense doesn't it? Stereo music is mixed on and made for two speakers in a room. Isn't that what headphones should emulate? Problem is, good sense isn't necessarily good science.
Both Paul Barton working at Canada's NRC Labs and Sean Olive at Harman have been working on developing better sounding headphones. Both extensively use rigorously controlled subjective listening tests, and both have seemingly come to the same conclusion: the right Head Related Transfer Function (HRFT) for headphones is derived from a head listening to two speakers. Man I love it when science and intuition just make good sense.
Paul explains it beautifully in the video, but basically the new NAD VISO HP 50 is designed with that concept in mind: Headphones should sound like two good speakers in an acoustically well designed room. NAD is calling that "Room Feel", and the HP 50 haz it. On quick audition, I thought the cans sounded pretty good, and moreover they seemed comfortable, good looking, and nicely featured. Totally stoked to get my hands on these sometime soon.
Seriously, Pauls explanation in the video is dandy.