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Equalization of Studio Monitor Headphones

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The frequency response of high-quality studio monitor headphones should provide the same sound colour neu-trality as demanded for loudspeaker monitoring in listening rooms according to ITU-Rec. BS 1116. This is obtained by a probe measured frequency-independent diffuse-field transfer function in accordance with ITU-Rec. BS 708. Spectrum level based calibration requires a reference sound field that provides sufficient diffusity as well as a flat frequency response in order to avoid coloration. Headphone manu¬facturers are interested in an attractive sound designed in accordance with actual preferences of consumers. Alternative target responses have been designed to simulate what a listener hears from a high-quality multichannel loudspeaker system in a reference listening room (in-room equalization). It is shown that this intention can only be realized with binaural room synthesis implementation that ensures accurate binaural rendering of the spatial cues, ideally including head tracking and personalization methods. A corres¬ponding suitable standard based on a neutral listening room is desirable, not least in view of multichannel sound headphone reproduction. The virtual 3D listening room would avoid inadequate in-head perception of sub¬optimal two-channel stereo downmix material. Instead, it would ensure the intended perception of the recording in terms of space and colour. However, alternative in-room based equalization target curves should be documented with measures according to ITU-Rec. BS 708 Annex 2 that offer clear information for the assessment of tone colour, as well as comparability of headphone frequency responses.

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