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Re: Headphones for testing

Dear Dominic,

You didn't say what the nature of your research is.  It makes a lot of
difference whether you are studying masking of one pure tone by
another or the emotional effects of intonation patterns in speech.
Not all studies require the same quality headphones.

You also have to think about loudness calibration.  Standard
audiometric headphones with hard circumaural cushions are calibrated
with a coupler of known resonance characteristics.  Open-air
headphones, such as many Sennheiser models,  cannot be calibrated this
way.  I have used both types.  The open-air are a lot more
comfortable, but require the use of a flat-plate coupler (which we had
to manufacture ourselves) for intensity calibration, and the
measurement deends on how well centered the headphone is on the
coupler.  All this may be irrelevant for you, depending on how precise
a delivery you require.

If you are using a separate machine for applied EQ, this can produce
phase distortion.  Again, this may be irrelevant for you, depending on
the nature of your research.  If you are digitally synthesizing your
signals, and apply the equalization at this stage, there may be no
phase distortion (except in the headphones themselves).

You have to specify your needs more exactly before you can decide on
the headphones.


--  Al
Albert S. Bregman, Emeritus Professor
Psychology Department, McGill University
1205 Docteur Penfield Avenue
Montreal, QC, Canada H3A 1B1.
Office:  Phone: (514) 398-6103, Fax: (514) 398-4896

On Thu, Jan 21, 2010 at 3:11 PM, dominic ward
<contactdominicward@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> Hi all,
> I am an undergraduate student looking for advice/recommendations on
> suitable headphones (currently available) for psychoacoustic
> experiments as part of my project. I understand on ear frequency
> response is of great importance and is never truly flat, but would
> applied EQ be suitable for compensation? My budget is around £50-£100.
> I have e-mailed manufacturers such as Sennheiser but sadly no response.
> Any support is much appreciated,
> Many thanks,
> Dominic.