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Design of a Headphone Equalizer Control Based on Principal Component Analysis

Unlike for loudspeakers, the optimal frequency response for headphones is not flat. A perceptually optimal target equalization curve for headphones was identified in a previous study. Moreover, strong variability in the frequency characteristics of 13 popular headphone models was observed. Model-specific equalization filters can be implemented but would require the headphone to be known. For most consumer applications this seems impractical. Principal component analysis was applied to the measured headphone equalization data, followed by a reduction of the degrees of freedom. The remaining error is identified objectively. It can be shown that using only one principal component, the sum of a fixed and a weighted filter curve can replace model-specific equalization.

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