Identifying the dominating perceptual differences in headphone reproduction

Christer P. Volk, Mathieu Lavandier, Søren Bech, Flemming Christensen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


The perceptual differences between the sound reproductions of headphones were investigated in a pair-wise comparison study. Two musical excerpts were reproduced over 21 headphones positioned on a mannequin and recorded. The recordings were then processed and reproduced over one set of headphones to listeners, who were asked to evaluate their perceived degree of dissimilarity. The two musical excerpts were used in separate experiments. The processing of the recordings consisted of compensating for the influences of the playback headphones worn by the listeners as well as for the mannequin's ear canals. A multidimensional scaling analysis revealed two dominating perceptual dimensions used by the listeners to differentiate the reproductions of the headphones. These dimensions were similar for the two musical excerpts. Objective metrics are proposed to describe them, leading to correlations ranging from 0.89 to 0.97 between the dimensions and metrics. The first perceptual dimension was associated with the relative strength of bass, while the second dimension was related to the relative strength of the lower midrange.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3664-3674
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2016
Externally publishedYes


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