An acoustical study of IPOD output: Effects of headsets and control settings

Desiree Pereira, Shaun Sharma, Kathy Pichora-Fuller


An acoustical study was conducted to investigate the level of sound output of Apple iPod using different kinds of headsets and how output depends on factors such as equalizer and volume control settings. Three factors that differentiate one set of headphones from another are sensitivity, impedance, and frequency response. The acoustical output measurements were compared for samples of two genres of music played at four volume settings and different equalizer settings for three different headsets. Two 30 second sound clips were used for the tests, one from the Hip hop genre and the other from Electronica. Hip Hop songs are known for their strong precussion, thus most of their energy is concentrated in the low-frequency range between 1 and 4 KHz whereas Electronica song features synthetically produced sounds spanning a frequency range from 1 to 12 KHz. The largest and smallest differences at each volume level were used to determine which equalizer settings made the most differences. These physical measurements can be used to estimate the risk to human hearing.


Equalizers; Frequency response; Headphones; Natural frequencies; Physical properties; Sensitivity analysis; Acoustical output measurements; Control settings; Headsets

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