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Science of Sound : Things to consider while buying and designing Headphones


Published on: December 6, 2021,

With modern days laptops and mobile phones headphone is a must. Choosing a right headphone can give you good feeling while listening to music. Considering the science of sound what you like to listen is also important for choosing the right pair. Choosing the right headphone involves considering the following aspects.


What is sound really?


Sound is made of air vibrations consisting of series of high and low pressure zones. These are cycles of sound wave. Pitch or frequency of sound depend on number of cycles. To create sound headphones turn electrical audio into cycles of high and low pressure that our ears interpret as sound. The loudness or amplitude is determined by maximum pressure of a wave. The higher is the pressure the louder is the sound.


The Human Air


When sound enters into ear eardrum transfers air vibrations into mechanical preference of the tiny middle ear bones. These mechanical vibrations become fluid vibrations in your inner ear. People can hear a range of pitches from 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz but human hearing does not respond equally well at frequencies. Human ear is more sensitive to middle frequencies more than low or high pitches. This may be due to evolutionary factors. Headphone designers need to consider how human perception differ from pure physics.


How do headphones work?


Headphones sit over ears are just small speakers. They convert electrical signals from phone into vibrations of air. Most speakers are made of four components which are a stationary magnet, a wire coil, a diaphragm that pushes air and a suspension that holds the diaphragm. A speaker converts electrical signals into sound representations. Things like size and material of the magnet and diaphragm prevent a speaker from perfectly matching from output to input. The reason behind why two headphones can sound or feel different is they distort things in different ways. While engineers build headphones they have to consider how human hearing distorts sound but also physical limitations of any speaker.


Listener Preference


Some people prefer bass heavy headphones for hip-hop music. While people who listen to classical music want a less frequency distortion. Music and recreational listening are not things to consider. Headphones for hearing impaired may highlight frequencies form approx. 1,000 Hz to 5,000 Hz. While choosing headphones should match how you are going to use in determining what will sound good.


All of these factors should be considered while designing the headphone. Despite all these pieces there is one way to know when headphones are good. Choose a good song and put a pair on. When the attributes align a good pair can give you opportunity to be transformed by sound.






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