• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). Come here to have fun, be ready to be teased and not take online life too seriously. We now measure and review equipment for free! Click here for details.

The Etymotic Target (R.I.P. Harman)

OP
Sharur

Sharur

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 10, 2021
Messages
447
Likes
150
I have a few headphones I tune to DF. My biggest problem is, it doesn't feel "flat" it just feels like treble rape.

Idk who these people are that feel it anemic, but I guess it would be if his test subjects were up there in age that can't even hear 10kHz+
Try Etymotic's negatively slope diffuse-field target. It will sound much better than normal diffuse-field.

By "anemic" I'm pretty sure he meant bass-light.
 
Last edited:
OP
Sharur

Sharur

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 10, 2021
Messages
447
Likes
150
@richard12511
Is the bass boost Amir describes only being added to headphones? The wording is a bit confusing

"This is the response that you get if you have a really good set of speakers that have measurably flat on-axis response in anechoic chamber in a good room and then you add some amount of bass boost to it."
 

richard12511

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 23, 2020
Messages
4,006
Likes
5,765
Where in the Harman papers does it say that the bass boost happens naturally after putting a flat speaker in a normal room?

Is this "preferred listening curve" not real?
View attachment 151784

Are the low frequencies "stacking" on to each other?
View attachment 151785

Toole has talked about before, and goes into detail in his book. It happens because bass frequencies are radiated more omnidirectionally into the room, as well as being harder to absorb. When sitting in a real room at a distance, our brains expect this fact to be true, and actively filters what we hear through this expectation. The high frequency roll off is a big part of how are brains judge distance. A flat response at 1m might sound neutral at 1m, but at 15m would sound horribly bright :). The part of his book where he goes into detail of responses at great distances in live and unamplified concert halls.

This is all for loudspeakers, though. For headphones, things are different.
 

Helicopter

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Aug 13, 2020
Messages
2,462
Likes
3,370
Location
Michigan
Another reason Harman speaker target is just anechoic, is hearing adapts to a room almost instantly. It the target included some estimate of a typical room effects, the target would no longer work in a real typical room, to which listeners would adjust.
 

richard12511

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 23, 2020
Messages
4,006
Likes
5,765
@richard12511
Is the bass boost Amir describes only being added to headphones?

Indeed. Notice that he only adds these huge bass boosts for headphones. For loudspeakers, he almost never boosts it, and if he does, he only boosts it up to flat. The bass boost for the Harman headphone target is a contentious thing. It's a much smaller majority(63% iirc?) that prefers it, and I don't think it claims to be neutral. I could be wrong about that, though. I'm much more into the loudspeaker world. My understanding is they started with what sounded closest to anechoically flat speakers in a room; that got them to something very close to the Etymotic curve you posted. For some reason, though, most listeners seem to rate the headphones better with bass boosted above what sounds most like neutral loudspeakers. Most is not, all, though, many still seem to prefer the more neutral sound(no bass boost).
 
OP
Sharur

Sharur

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 10, 2021
Messages
447
Likes
150
My understanding is they started with what sounded closest to anechoically flat speakers in a room; that got them to something very close to the Etymotic curve you posted.
Does this come down to a difference between "a room" and "a well treated room?" If so, why does the Harman In-Room Target have zero bass uplift?
graph (63).png
 

KeithPhantom

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Forum Donor
Joined
May 8, 2020
Messages
558
Likes
529
I'm just going to post what @Sean Olive answered to me a few days ago:
1630971034826.png

1630971059648.png
 
OP
Sharur

Sharur

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 10, 2021
Messages
447
Likes
150
"This black curve is very close to the preferred headphone target response, which essentially mimics in headphones what people prefer from well-designed loudspeakers calibrated in a good listening room"
So no, the Harman headphone target is not something completely different from the "speaker target"
 
OP
Sharur

Sharur

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 10, 2021
Messages
447
Likes
150
Harman's "Flat In-Room Response" is wrong. The difference at 10 kHz is too great leading to it sounding almost as harsh as diffuse-field.
graph (63).png

graph (64).png
 

richard12511

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 23, 2020
Messages
4,006
Likes
5,765
"This black curve is very close to the preferred headphone target response, which essentially mimics in headphones what people prefer from well-designed loudspeakers calibrated in a good listening room"
So no, the Harman headphone target is not something completely different from the "speaker target"

He's talking about the black curve in the bottom graph. The bottom graph is the one that matters for headphones. The green curve is the "neutral" curve, which is more like the diffuse or Etymotic curve. The black curve is the Harman curve, which has bass boosted above neutral.

The reason the F208 needs to have its bass boosted is because it's not a full range speaker, and starts to fall off below 100Hz. A truly full range "neutral" loudspeaker system would track the light green line in the top left curve, but be perfectly flat all the way to the left of the graph. Such a speaker would probably follow the red dashed line on the top left graph.
 

richard12511

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 23, 2020
Messages
4,006
Likes
5,765
OP
Sharur

Sharur

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 10, 2021
Messages
447
Likes
150
He's talking about the black curve in the bottom graph. The bottom graph is the one that matters for headphones. The green curve is the "neutral" curve, which is more like the diffuse or Etymotic curve. The black curve is the Harman curve, which has bass boosted above neutral.

The reason the F208 needs to have its bass boosted is because it's not a full range speaker, and starts to fall off below 100Hz. A truly full range "neutral" loudspeaker system would track the light green line in the top left curve, but be perfectly flat all the way to the left of the graph. Such a speaker would probably follow the red dashed line on the top left graph.
If the Harman target is only flat in anechoic chamber why is the dashed orange line there?
 
Last edited:

Newman

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Jan 6, 2017
Messages
766
Likes
852
Last edited:

richard12511

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 23, 2020
Messages
4,006
Likes
5,765
If the Harman target is only flat in anechoic chamber why is the dashed orange line there?

The dashed orange line is the preferred in room response "average" response based on whatever room(s) they used. The slope of the line will be different for every room and every listening distance, hence why the only target is the anechoic(left graph) flat(neutral) one. For example, I have speakers that are very anechoic neutral(Genelec 8351b). They're essentially flat (within a couple db) from 30Hz to 18kHz, which is about as close to the Harman target as you can get. If I measure those speakers in my office(at ~1m), they measure almost flat. If I measure them in my living room at ~4m, they have an 8-10dB low to high slope. They sound neutral in both rooms, because they are neutral anechoically, and our brains have learned to "hear through the room".

This is completely different than with headphones, though, which is why I don't think it's a good comparison. Headphones don't have to deal with listening distance or room reflectivity. Honestly, if you're really just concerned with headphones, I would focus on that, and ignore the Harman loudspeaker target. For headphones, the Etymotic curve is aimed towards a more neutral sounding response. The Harman headphone target is a bass boosted response. Harman headphone target and Harman loudspeaker target are very different in that regard.
 

JohnYang1997

Master Contributor
Technical Expert
Manufacturer
Joined
Dec 28, 2018
Messages
6,987
Likes
15,293
Location
China
The dashed orange line is the preferred in room response "average" response based on whatever room(s) they used. The slope of the line will be different for every room and every listening distance, hence why the only target is the anechoic(left graph) flat(neutral) one. For example, I have speakers that are very anechoic neutral(Genelec 8351b). They're essentially flat (within a couple db) from 30Hz to 18kHz, which is about as close to the Harman target as you can get. If I measure those speakers in my office(at ~1m), they measure almost flat. If I measure them in my living room at ~4m, they have an 8-10dB low to high slope. They sound neutral in both rooms, because they are neutral anechoically, and our brains have learned to "hear through the room".

This is completely different than with headphones, though, which is why I don't think it's a good comparison. Headphones don't have to deal with listening distance or room reflectivity. Honestly, if you're really just concerned with headphones, I would focus on that, and ignore the Harman speaker target. For headphones, the Etymotic curve is aimed towards a more neutral sounding response. The Harman headphone target is a bass boosted response. Harman headphone target and Harman loudspeaker target are very different in that regard.
Preferred is not neutral. Why everyone gets it so wrong??
 

JohnYang1997

Master Contributor
Technical Expert
Manufacturer
Joined
Dec 28, 2018
Messages
6,987
Likes
15,293
Location
China
Listeners who vote for such, consider it neutral. It is what sounds "right" to them.
Neutral is flat speakers in well treated room. Also neutral is basically what you eq to in speaker reviews.
This is distinctively different from the Harman target either for speakers or headphones.
 
Top Bottom