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Headphone Measurements

Reviewed on: SoundStage! Solo, October 2018

I measured the Elegias using a G.R.A.S. Model 43AG ear/cheek simulator/RA0402 ear simulator, a Clio 10 FW audio analyzer, a laptop computer running TrueRTA software with an M-Audio MobilePre USB audio interface, and a Musical Fidelity V-CAN amp, with an Audio-gd NFB-1AMP used for distortion measurements. On the Model 43AG, I used the new KB5000 anthropomorphic simulated pinna for most measurements, and the original KB0065 pinna for certain other measurements, as noted. These are “flat” measurements; no diffuse-field or free-field compensation curve was employed.

Frequency response

The above chart shows the Elegias’ frequency response measured with the new KB5000 and KB5001 anthropomorphic simulated pinnae. This is the best match I was able to achieve between the left and right channels. They match very closely in the midrange, where it counts most. There is a pretty big difference in the bass, which I have to suspect may be due to the way the earpads seal on the face of the ear/cheek simulator (which has to be turned 180 degrees when doing left-ear measurements), but the bass response you see here was very consistent as I moved the headphones around on the simulator, and I usually get a better match than this. Caveats aside, this is an unusual measurement in that the peak in the 3kHz region (which is generally considered to make headphones sound more like speakers in a room) is very mild, only about 4dB above the response at 500Hz; often, the peak is more like 12dB above the 500Hz response.

Frequency response

This chart shows the Elegias’ right-channel frequency response measured with the old KB0065 pinna (which I’ve used for years) and G.R.A.S.’s new KB5000 pinna, which I recently switched to because it more accurately reflects the structure and pliability of the human ear. This is just for sake of comparison with older measurements of mine.

Frequency response

Here you can see how the Elegias’ tonal balance changes when they’re used with a high-impedance source, such as a cheap laptop or some cheap professional headphone amps. It’s a significant effect; the higher-impedance source produces a broad boost that maxes out at 2.6dB at 90Hz, enough to audibly tilt the tonal balance (and in a way I think would likely be to most people’s taste).

Frequency response

This chart shows the Elegias’ right-channel response compared with two other high-end closed-back headphones (the Audeze LCD-XCs and the MrSpeakers Æon Flows with their two-hole white filter installed), as well as the Sony MDR-7506es, a standard fixture in audio production work that generally conform to the “Harman curve,” shown in research by Harman International to be the preferred over-ear headphone response for most listeners. These measurements use the older KB0065 pinna, because that’s the only measurement I have for the LCD-XCs. You can see how unusually flat the Elegias’ response is here.

Waterfall

The Elegias’ spectral decay (waterfall) chart shows a fairly strong resonance at 3.2kHz, which doesn’t seem to correspond to any particular feature of the frequency response. It’s well-damped, though, and nearly gone after about 5ms.

THD

Measured total harmonic distortion (THD) of the Elegias is almost non-existent above 150Hz, and barely breaches 2% in the bass even at the extremely loud level of 100dBA.

Isolation

In this chart, the external noise level is 85dB SPL, and numbers below that indicate the degree of attenuation of outside sounds. The Elegias’ isolation is very good for a passive closed-back model, generally beating the MrSpeakers Æon Flows and easily beating the smaller NAD Viso HP50s. I threw in the Focal Clear isolation measurement to show the advantage in isolation gained by the closed-back design of the Elegias.

Impedance

The Elegias’ impedance response is typical for closed-back, dynamic-driver headphones, with the impedance generally hovering close to the rated 35 ohms and rising to 57 ohms peak at the 70Hz system resonance. The phase response is fairly flat for large dynamic-driver headphones.

The sensitivity of the Elegias, measured between 300Hz and 3kHz with the leatherette pads using a 1mW signal calculated for 35 ohms impedance, is 102.9dB. That’s quite high for audiophile-oriented headphones, and it should be enough to get loud volumes from almost any source device.

. . . Brent Butterworth
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Reviewed on: SoundStage! Solo, September 2019

I measured the MX4 Pros using laboratory-grade equipment: a G.R.A.S. Model 43AG ear/cheek simulator/RA0402 ear simulator with KB5000/KB5001 simulated pinnae, and a Clio 10 FW audio analyzer. For isolation measurements, I used a laptop computer running TrueRTA software with an M-Audio MobilePre USB audio interface. The headphones were amplified using a Musical Fidelity V-CAN. Except as noted, all measurements were made using the supplied medium-sized, single-flange silicone eartips, as these fit the ear/cheek simulator best. These are “flat” measurements; no diffuse-field or free-field compensation curve was employed. If you’d like to learn more about what our measurements mean, click here.

Frequency response

The above chart shows the MX4 Pros’ frequency response, which is a fairly “textbook” response except for a boost of about 4dB centered at 4kHz. This looks like a very deliberate voicing decision, and it’s the reason for the lower-treble emphasis noted in the review.

Frequency response

This chart shows how the MX4 Pros’ tonal balance changes when they’re used with a high-impedance (75 ohms) source, such as a cheap laptop or some cheap professional headphone amps, or some exotic tube amps. There’s about 1dB more bass at 20Hz and 1dB more treble above 3kHz; my guess is that using a high-impedance source will make these sound just a tad brighter overall. Note that this is much less variance than I normally see with earphones using balanced armatures.

Frequency response

This chart shows the MX4 Pros’ right-channel response compared with the Campfire Comet (single balanced armature), 1More Quad Driver (one dynamic driver with three balanced armatures), and the AKG N5005 (one dynamic driver with four balanced armatures; when used with their reference filter, these earphones are said to best conform to the so-called “Harman curve,” the response that research shows delivers what most listeners consider the most natural sound) earphones. Clearly, the MX4 Pros’ deviation from the norm is that big 4kHz peak.

Waterfall

The MX4 Pros’ spectral decay (waterfall) chart looks mostly clean, except for some well-damped resonances at about 3.2 and 11kHz.

THD

The total harmonic distortion of the MX4 Pros is fairly mild, not even breaking 2% at the extremely loud listening level of 100dBA. What’s unusual, though, is that the distortion tends to be higher in the midrange than in the bass; this is probably because the balanced armatures can’t match the power handling of the dynamic driver.

Isolation

In this chart, the external noise level is 85dB SPL, and numbers below that indicate the degree of attenuation of outside sounds. I chose silicone tips for this measurement to ensure a level playing field; some of these models (especially the Campfire Comet earphones) will achieve much better isolation with foam tips. Isolation of the MX4 Pros with the silicone tips is outstanding, probably because of the ear-filling design and the over-ear cable routing.

Impedance

The impedance magnitude of the MX4 Pros is admirably flat for a hybrid model. It’s about 9 ohms when you’re in the range of the dynamic driver, and once the armatures kick in (apparently around 1kHz), the impedance rises to 19 ohms at 20kHz, measuring about 33 ohms up to 1.5kHz, with a couple of slight impedance peaks that correspond with the frequency response peaks in the treble. Impedance phase is fairly flat, as well.

Sensitivity of the MX4 Pro earphones, measured between 300Hz and 3kHz, using a 1mW signal calculated for 12 ohms rated impedance, is 100.7dB. That’s a little low for earphones, but still plenty enough to ensure loud volumes from almost any source device.

. . . Brent Butterworth
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Reviewed on: SoundStage! Solo, September 2019

I measured the TWS600 earphones using laboratory-grade equipment: a G.R.A.S. Model 43AG ear/cheek simulator/RA0402 ear simulator with KB5000/KB5001 simulated pinnae, and a Clio 10 FW audio analyzer. For isolation measurements, I used a laptop computer running TrueRTA software with an M-Audio MobilePre USB audio interface. A MEE Audio Connect Bluetooth transmitter was used to send signals from the Clio 10 FW to the earphones. These are “flat” measurements; no diffuse-field or free-field compensation curve was employed. Note that because of the latency introduced by Bluetooth, I wasn’t able to do a spectral decay measurement, and of course my usual impedance and sensitivity measurements are irrelevant for wireless earphones. If you’d like to learn more about what our measurements mean, click here.

Frequency response

The above chart shows the TWS600s’ frequency response measured with the KB5000 and KB5001 anthropomorphic simulated pinnae. You’ll note right away that the mids and lower treble are super-strong, and there’s not much bass. I worried that this might be an artifact due to Bluetooth latency, so I ran the same measurement using pink noise and a real-time analyzer, and compared that measurement with similar ones I’ve taken of other earphones with a subjectively flatter response, and it appears that the curve you see here is representative. Moving up from the bass, if the peaks you see in the 1.8kHz and 4kHz ranges were shifted up by about half an octave, to about 2.8 and 5.3kHz, and there were more bass, these earphones would have a “normal” response. As it is, the relatively low frequency of the 1.8kHz peak is what gives these earphones their strong midrange emphasis. Note also that output between about 5 and 12kHz is low relative to the 1.8kHz peak.

The impulse response shows that the latency with the MEE Audio Connect is 260ms. This isn’t bad for true wireless earphones; the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 earphones measured 320ms. In my opinion, though, it’s not a low-enough figure to justify the claim of low latency that HiFiMan makes on the TWS600 web page, and it will create lip-sync problems with video content and will create lag problems when playing some video games.

Frequency response

This chart shows the TWS600s’ right-channel response compared with the 1More E1026BT-I and Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless earphones. Obviously, the response curve of the TWS600s is anomalous; the others are much flatter.

THD

Because of the latency of the Bluetooth connection, I could not use Clio’s sine sweep function to measure total harmonic distortion (THD) versus frequency, so I did discrete THD measurements of sine tones in one-octave steps. This is a little more demanding than a swept tone because the tones have to play longer and the voice coil in the driver gets a lot hotter. Note that distortion is very low at all frequencies, and that the TWS600s can easily play at 100dBA -- something not true of some true wireless models. Note also that for some reason, I wasn’t able to get a valid measurement at 32Hz/90dBA.

Isolation

In this chart, the red line indicates an external noise level of 85dB SPL, and numbers below that indicate the degree of attenuation of outside sounds. The TWS600s’ isolation (with the medium-size, single-flange silicone tips, which gave me the best results) is well above average compared with its true wireless competitors.

. . . Brent Butterworth
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Reviewed on: SoundStage! Solo, August 2019

I measured the Beyerdynamic Lagoon ANC headphones using a G.R.A.S. Model 43AG ear/cheek simulator/RA0402 ear simulator with the KB5000 and KB5001 anthropomorphic simulated pinnae, a Clio 10 FW audio analyzer, a laptop computer running TrueRTA software with an M-Audio MobilePre USB audio interface, and a Musical Fidelity V-CAN amp. For measurements in Bluetooth mode, I used a MEE Audio Connect Bluetooth transmitter to get the signal to the headphones. These are “flat” measurements; no diffuse-field or free-field compensation curve was employed.

Frequency response

The above chart shows the Lagoon ANCs’ frequency response measured in what I expect will be the headphones’ most-used mode: Bluetooth and noise canceling in ANC 2 mode. This curve is unusual in a few ways. First is the channel mismatch, which varied a lot with different positionings of the headphones on the ear/cheek simulator, and to some extent with the different usage modes, but remained pretty consistent throughout my measurement session (and wasn’t seen in the other headphones I measured in the same session). Second is the very broad peak centered at 2kHz in the right channel; it’s common to see a peak like this, but usually it’s only about an octave wide, rather than about 3.5 octaves wide as seen here. Third is that the high-frequency peak, in this case between 5 and 7kHz, is higher in magnitude than the 2kHz peak; usually it’s the reverse.

Frequency response

This chart shows how the noise canceling affects the response of the Lagoon ANCs. The response is the same in both ANC modes, and while the sound with ANC off is definitely different (and flatter in response), the character of the sound should remain quite similar. We often see much larger differences on this measurement.

Frequency response

This chart compares the response with the Lagoon ANCs in three modes with ANC off: wired passive (power off), wired active (power on), and Bluetooth. There are slight differences, but overall, the sound character remains largely the same in all modes.

Frequency response

This graph confirms what I noted above. The AKG, Bose, and NAD noise-canceling Bluetooth headphones shown here have a remarkably similar frequency response, and the Lagoon ANCs are a clear outlier. Of course, the Lagoon ANCs’ equalization app may bring them closer to the other headphones’ response.

Waterfall

The Lagoon ANCs’ spectral decay (waterfall) chart -- measured with a wired connection because of Bluetooth’s latency -- shows a distinct resonance at about 650Hz. But the Q of the resonance is extremely high (i.e., its bandwidth is narrow), and it’s down to -30dB within just a few milliseconds, so I doubt it’d be audible.

THD

The Lagoon ANCs’ distortion is measured here with a wired connection; the internal amps of the headphones may add some distortion, but my analyzer can’t compensate for Bluetooth’s latency when doing distortion measurements. The distortion in the bass, below about 180Hz, is somewhat on the high side. At 90dBA it’s about 2%, which is unlikely to be audible, but it’s about 6% in the bass, which would probably be audible -- although 100dBA is louder than almost anyone really wants to (or should) listen for long.

Isolation

In this chart, the external noise level is 85dB SPL, and numbers below that indicate the degree of attenuation of outside sounds. According to my measurements (and my ears), the Lagoon ANCs’ isolation is modest in the “airplane band” between about 100Hz and 1kHz, reducing noise by an average of about 5dB in ANC 1 and maybe 6dB in ANC 2. You’ll hear some noise canceling, but nothing like the near-silence that you hear from Bose models and the later Sonys.

Impedance

The Lagoon ANCs’ impedance magnitude measurement in wired mode is unusual in that it’s only slightly higher when the headphones are in active mode: about 22 ohms with the headphones off (passive mode) and 47 ohms in active mode. This is unusual -- typically the impedance in active mode might be 300 to 1000 ohms -- but it’s no cause for concern. Impedance phase in both modes is essentially flat.

Bluetooth latency of the Lagoon ANCs used with the MEE Audio Connect transmitter (which, like the Lagoon ANCs, is equipped with the aptX Low Latency codec) was 36ms, which is typical for headphones using aptX LL. Thus, you will not experience lip sync problems using them for video or gaming. Sensitivity of the Lagoon ANCs with a wired connection with ANC off, measured between 300Hz and 3kHz using a 1mW signal calculated for the rated 32-ohms impedance, is 99.9dB in passive mode and 97.2dB in active mode. So if you have to use a wired connection, they should play fairly loud.

. . . Brent Butterworth
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Reviewed on: SoundStage! Solo, August 2019

I measured the Periodic Audio Carbon earphones using laboratory-grade equipment: a G.R.A.S. Model 43AG ear/cheek simulator/RA0402 ear simulator with KB5000/KB5001 simulated pinnae, and a Clio 10 FW audio analyzer. For isolation measurements, I used a laptop computer running TrueRTA software with an M-Audio MobilePre USB audio interface. The headphones were amplified using a Musical Fidelity V-CAN. Except as noted, all measurements were made using medium-sized, single-flange silicone eartips, as these fit the ear/cheek simulator best. These are “flat” measurements; no diffuse-field or free-field compensation curve was employed. If you’d like to learn more about what our measurements mean, click here.

Frequency response

The above chart shows the Carbons’ frequency response, which in terms of the shape of the curve is fairly textbook. There’s more bass than usual, though, and a little more energy around 5.5kHz than I’m used to seeing, but all of this is still fairly close to industry norms. Incidentally, substituting one of the supplied medium-sized foam tips had very little effect on the frequency response.

Frequency response

This chart shows how the Carbons’ tonal balance changes when they’re used with a high-impedance (75 ohms) source, such as a cheap laptop or some cheap professional headphone amps, or some exotic tube amps. As I usually see with earphones employing no balanced armatures, there’s very little difference in response with the high-impedance source, which means the Carbons should sound about the same no matter what you plug them into.

Frequency response

This chart shows the Carbons’ right-channel response compared with another single-dynamic-driver model, the Campfire Comets. I also included the recently reviewed Simgot EN700 Pro earphones, as well as the AKG N5005s, which, when used with their reference filter, are the earphones said to best conform to the so-called “Harman curve,” the response that research shows delivers what most listeners consider the most natural sound. Again, there’s more bass than usual, and a little more energy around 5.5kHz -- although also less around 7.5kHz, and less at higher frequencies. This might be the reason John Higgins and I described the Carbons as lacking a bit of “air” in the upper treble.

Waterfall

The Carbons’ spectral decay (waterfall) chart looks pretty clean, except for some resonance between 200 and 300Hz, and a very high-Q (i.e., narrow) resonance centered at about 5.2kHz. This seems to correspond with the second treble peak in the frequency response plot.

THD

Periodic Audio’s claims about the Carbons’ ultra-low distortion seem to bear out. I can’t say with confidence that this is the lowest distortion I’ve measured, as once the distortion levels get this low, noise starts to intrude on the measurement. But I can say that the Carbons’ distortion ranks among the lowest I’ve ever measured. Without a doubt, 1% THD at 20Hz/100dBA is exceptional performance.

Isolation

In this chart, the external noise level is 85dB SPL, and numbers below that indicate the degree of attenuation of outside sounds. Isolation of the Carbons with the silicone tips is so-so, but with the foam tips, it’s excellent.

Impedance

The impedance magnitude of the Carbons is largely flat, measuring about 33 ohms up to 1.5kHz, with a couple of slight impedance peaks that correspond with the frequency response peaks in the treble. Impedance phase is very close to flat.

Sensitivity of the Carbons, measured between 300Hz and 3kHz, using a 1mW signal calculated for 32 ohms-rated impedance, is 112.6dB, way higher than the rated 98dB, thus the Carbons will deliver ample volume from any source device.

. . . Brent Butterworth
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Reviewed on: SoundStage! Solo, July 2019

I measured the Campfire Audio IO earphones using laboratory-grade equipment: a G.R.A.S. Model 43AG ear/cheek simulator/RA0402 ear simulator with KB5000/KB5001 simulated pinnae, and a Clio 10 FW audio analyzer. For isolation measurements, I used a laptop computer running TrueRTA software with an M-Audio MobilePre USB audio interface. The headphones were amplified using a Musical Fidelity V-CAN. All measurements were made using medium-sized silicone eartips, as these fit the ear/cheek simulator much better than the supplied foam tips did. These are “flat” measurements; no diffuse-field or free-field compensation curve was employed. If you’d like to learn more about what our measurements mean, click here.

Frequency response

The above chart shows the IOs’ frequency response. If you pushed those peaks at 1.7 and 3.9kHz up by about 1kHz each, this would look like a very typical measurement for high-quality earphones.

Frequency response

This chart shows how the IOs’ tonal balance changes when they’re used with a high-impedance (75 ohms) source, such as a cheap laptop or some cheap professional headphone amps. As usual with earphones using balanced-armature drivers, there’s a significant change in tonal balance when you switch to a source device with relatively high output impedance. In this case, a high-impedance source will give you several dB less bass and a couple dB less treble.

Frequency response

This chart shows the IOs’ right-channel response compared with two other Campfire Audio earphones: the affordable Comets and the super-high-end Solarises. I also included the AKG N5005 earphones, which when used with their reference filter are the earphones said to best conform to the so-called “Harman curve,” the response that research shows delivers what most listeners consider the most natural sound. It appears that the dip at 3kHz (the only very clear difference between the IOs and the other models) is what gives them a subjectively brighter tonal balance.

Waterfall

The IOs’ spectral decay (waterfall) chart shows that any resonances are well-damped and die out within a couple of milliseconds.

THD

The IOs’ measured total harmonic distortion (THD) is surprising. Between 900Hz and 1.7kHz, it’s a little on the high side, at about 2%. However, the amount of distortion didn’t significantly change when I raised the level from 90dBA (which is very loud) to 100dBA (which is crazy loud). The Clio analyzer told me this is almost all second-order harmonic distortion -- which means it’s adding harmonics between 1.8 and 3.4kHz. I thought this might be spurious noise entering the measurement system, so I remeasured it a week later after a fresh setup and calibration, but I got the same result, and a check with a real-time spectrum analyzer told me there was no unusual noise in the room. I’m not sure if you’d notice this distortion, because 2% isn’t much for an audio transducer, but it is right in the most sensitive range of the human ear, so it might be an issue with some recordings.

Isolation

In this chart, the external noise level is 85dB SPL, and numbers below that indicate the degree of attenuation of outside sounds. Isolation of the IOs is excellent, especially considering that I had to use the silicone tips; you’ll likely get even better results with the foam tips, assuming one of the supplied sizes fits you well.

Impedance

The impedance magnitude of the IO earphones ranges from 13.5 ohms in the bass to 27 ohms in the midrange, with corresponding (but fairly mild) swings in phase. This is why the tonal balance changes when the output impedance of the source device changes.

Sensitivity of the IOs, measured between 300Hz and 3kHz, using a 1mW signal calculated for 26-ohms rated impedance, is 115.7dB, which is exceptionally high, so the IOs will deliver ample volume from any source device.

. . . Brent Butterworth
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Reviewed on: SoundStage! Solo, July 2019

I measured the Melomania 1 earphones using laboratory-grade equipment: a G.R.A.S. Model 43AG ear/cheek simulator/RA0402 ear simulator with KB5000/KB5001 simulated pinnae, and a Clio 10 FW audio analyzer. For isolation measurements, I used a laptop computer running TrueRTA software with an M-Audio MobilePre USB audio interface. A MEE Audio Connect Bluetooth transmitter was used to send signals from the Clio 10 FW to the earphones. These are “flat” measurements; no diffuse-field or free-field compensation curve was employed. Note that because of the latency introduced by Bluetooth, I wasn’t able to do a spectral decay measurement, and of course my usual impedance and sensitivity measurements are irrelevant for wireless headphones. If you’d like to learn more about what our measurements mean, click here.

Frequency response

The above chart shows the Melomania 1s’ frequency response measured with the KB5000 and KB5001 anthropomorphic simulated pinnae. This is a fairly standard response for earphones, with a large peak centered at 2.6kHz and a smaller one centered at 8kHz. The unusual aspect of it is that the bass response in the two earphones seems to be different -- something we sometimes see in active headphones and earphones, because the bulk of the internal electronics sometimes changes the acoustics. (This result held up through repositionings and remeasurements of the two earphones.) According to my measurements, the bump is centered at about 120Hz in the right channel, and 80Hz in the left channel. The 120Hz bump is consistent with our impressions that the bass is a little bloated; pushing the bump down to 80Hz or lower tends to reinforce the bass without making it sound bloated. The impulse response (from which the Clio derives the frequency response) shows that the latency with the MEE Connect is 320ms. This is a high number, but true wireless earphones usually have a lot of extra latency. However, because the MEE Connect and the Melomania 1s both have aptX, and Cambridge Audio’s spec is 70ms, I’d expect this to be a lot lower. This long latency is no problem for music listening, but it will create lip-sync problems with video content and will create lag problems when playing some video games.

Frequency response

This chart shows the Melomania 1s’ right-channel response compared with the 1More E1026BT-I, Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless, and the Jabra Elite Active 65t earphones. The Melomania 1s are pretty much in the ballpark with the rest of them, except for a little less overall treble energy.

THD

Because of the latency of the Bluetooth connection, I could not use Clio’s sine sweep function to measure total harmonic distortion (THD) versus frequency, so I did discrete THD measurements of sine tones in one-octave steps. This is a little more demanding than a swept tone because the tones have to play longer and the voice coil in the driver gets a lot hotter. Normally I take this measurement by setting levels at 90 and 100dBA using pink noise, but the Melomania 1s wouldn’t play at 100dBA; the best they could muster was 97dBA (which is still very loud). Regardless, the distortion is very low at all frequencies.

Isolation

In this chart, the red line indicates an external noise level is 85dB SPL, and numbers below that indicate the degree of attenuation of outside sounds. The Melomania 1s’ isolation is above average, comparable to that of the very secure-fitting Akoustyx R-220s.

. . . Brent Butterworth
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Reviewed on: SoundStage! Solo, June 2019

I measured the Jade IIs using a G.R.A.S. Model 43AG ear/cheek simulator/RA0402 ear simulator with the KB5000 and KB5001 anthropomorphic simulated pinnae, a Clio 10 FW audio analyzer, and a laptop computer running TrueRTA software with an M-Audio MobilePre USB audio interface. These are “flat” measurements; no diffuse-field or free-field compensation curve was employed. Note that because electrostatic headphones can operate only in conjunction with a dedicated amplifier, I was unable to run my usual sensitivity and impedance tests -- but they’re irrelevant in this case, because you’d probably always use these headphones with this amp.

Frequency response

The above chart shows the Jade IIs’ frequency response. It looks typical of what I’ve measured from other planar (in almost all cases, planar magnetic) headphones, except for the Jade IIs’ bass roll-off below 50Hz and extra-potent peak around 3.3kHz.

Frequency response

This chart shows the Jade IIs’ right-channel response compared with several high-end planar-magnetic headphones, including the HiFiMan HE1000 V2s, the Audeze LCD-Xes, and the Meze Empyreans. All of the planar-magnetic models have deeper bass extension and a less-pronounced peak in the 3kHz region.

Waterfall

The Jade IIs’ spectral decay (waterfall) chart looks typical of most open-back planar headphones, with lots of very high-Q (i.e., narrow) resonances in the range between 2 and 5kHz, and negligible resonance in the bass.

THD

The Jade IIs' distortion is very low at the loud listening level of 90dBA, but unusually high at the extremely loud level of 100dBA. This suggests that the amplifier began clipping; transducers rarely, if ever, show such an abrupt change in distortion behavior. So if you want to crank heavy rock music to extreme levels, these aren’t the headphones for you, but they’ll work for anyone who listens at non-dangerous levels.

Isolation

In this chart, the external noise level is 85dB SPL, and numbers below that indicate the degree of attenuation of outside sounds. The Jade IIs’ isolation is among the poorest I’ve measured, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, because open-back headphones aren’t supposed to isolate the listener from outside sounds, and that lack of isolation suggests a very lightweight (and, presumably, responsive) diaphragm.

. . . Brent Butterworth
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