Audio Industry Updates

Sound Quality in Headphones Explained

Headphone sound quality is usually a measurement of accuracy and enjoyability.

There is no absolute reference for sound quality. It’s entirely a matter of personal taste.
The accuracy of sound quality can be measured by people or tools. But the most objective and accurate audio quality results always come from using tools. This is the most objective way of measuring it.

Enjoyability, on the other hand, is totally subjective. Every person has their own preference for what good sound quality is.

WHEN IT COMES TO HEADPHONES A LOT OF PEOPLE LIKE DEEP, STRONG BASS BUT MOST AUDIOPHILES USUALLY PREFER MORE ACCURATE, NATURAL SOUND.

Subjective Categories of Sound Quality/Sound Signatures

There are many different categories of audio quality that people like.
The 3 most common are:
Bass-heavy, strong emphasis on lower range to get strong, deep bass
V-shaped, emphasis on bass and treble to give a more lively and dynamic sound
Flat, balanced and neutral sounding with all frequencies being equal
Here’s a spreadsheet of other common types of sound signatures and how they sound.


Is Music Format Important for Sound Quality?

Yes, the format your music is in is very important. If you’re lossy formats you’re losing sound quality. Try to use lossless audio format for the best experience.
If you care about saving bandwidth the most, MP3 is still the go-to choice while only losing the parts of sound most people can’t hear.
But if you care about sound quality more, use FLAC as it’s most efficient while not losing any sound quality. Keep in mind, you need good headphones to be able to hear the difference.

Most common audio formats:
MP3 – lossy compressed, the go-to format for “good enough” sound quality
AAC – lossy compressed, newer and more efficient than MP3
WMA – lossy compressed, competition to MP3, similar to AAC
WAV – usually uncompressed
FLAC – lossless compressed, the go-to format for all audiophile who like high sound quality
ALAC – lossless compressed, Apple alternative to FLAC, a bit less efficient but supported by Apple products


LOSSY FORMATS DAMAGE THE SOUND QUALITY TO MAXIMIZE DISK SPACE SAVINGS.
LOSSLESS FORMATS SAVE SOME DISK SPACE BUT DON’T TAKE AWAY FROM THE SOUND QUALITY.