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Test Benches And Ratings
Headphones

Price is not a factor in our scores.

A test bench is a set of tests that we perform on the products we test. In order to come up with the set of tests that will be included in a test bench, a rigorous process is followed during which many factors affect the final decision. Among the most important factors for including a test is whether it answers a few important questions regarding the true capabilities of the product, whether it will answer questions about what most people care about, and how accurately and consistently can it measure a specific feature.

Test benches include some usage performance indicators we call Ratings. Ratings aim at estimating the performance of a product during a specific use. To construct a Rating, we first choose which of the tests matter for the performance of the product during the specific use. Then we assign a weight to its importance. The value of the weights assigned on each test for each Rating is based on our experience regarding the test and its relevance to the specific usage. The numerical value of each Rating is assigned simply by computing the weighted average.

Test benches, ratings, and individual tests are updated on an as-needed basis, but not more than once a year. Once a test bench update is finalized, the tests included in this version and the way their respective score is calculated remains unchanged until the next test bench update is released. Each update tries to encapsulate technological advances/changes that break our current tests, or the introduction of new methodologies that result in more accurate/consistent measurements.

Changelogs

02/16/2018: Test bench 1.2

08/10/2017: Test bench 1.1

02/28/2017: Test bench 1.0

How to interpret the scores

10 to 7.5

This pair of headphones is great for this usage or test. You will be satisfied with it. When we discuss tests or products that fall into this category we usually use adjectives like good, very good, great, impressive, excellent, remarkable, outstanding, superb, amazing, etc.

7.4 to 6.0

It is good enough for most people, but if you care about this usage or test, it will bother you. When we discuss tests or products that fall into this category we usually use adjectives like mediocre, middling, passable, adequate, not bad, unremarkable, decent, okay, alright, acceptable, satisfactory, reasonable, fair, ordinary, etc. We use sub-par or sub-standard when the score is at the lower end of the scale.

5.9 to 0.0

This headphone is below average at this usage or test. It could be an issue even if you aren't particularly picky about this aspect. When we discuss tests or products that fall into this category we usually use adjectives like disappointing, inadequate, poor, inferior, bad, terrible, very bad, awful, etc.

Usage

Mixed Usage
Critical Listening
Commute/Travel
Sports/Fitness
Office
TV
Gaming

Test Results

Design
Controls
Ease of use
Feedback
Call/Music Control
Volume Control
Microphone Control
Channel Mixing
Noise Canceling Control
Talk-Through
Stability
Build Quality
Comfort
Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference
Portability
Volume
Transmitter required
Sound
Treble
Std. Err.
Total Harmonic Distortion
Weighted THD @ 90
Weighted THD @ 100
Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
PRTF Size (Avg.)
PRTF Distance
Openness
Acoustic Space Excitation
Correlated Crosstalk
Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
Mid
Std. Err.
Bass
Std. Err.
Low-Frequency Extension
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
Weighted Phase Mismatch
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Bass
Mid
Treble
Self-Noise
Leakage
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
Microphone
Recording Quality
LFE
FR Std. Dev.
HFE
Weighted THD
Gain
Noise Handling
SpNR
Active Features
Battery
Battery Life
Charge Time
Power Saving Feature
Audio while charging
App Support
Connectivity
Latency
Default Latency
aptX Latency
aptX(LL) Latency
Base/Dock
Optical Input
Line In
Line Out
USB Input
RCA Input
PS4 Compatible
Xbox One Compatible
PC Compatible
Power Supply
Dock Charging
Wireless Range
Obstructed Range
Line of Sight Range
Bluetooth
Multi-Device Pairing
NFC
PS4 Compatible
Xbox One Compatible
Wired
Analog
USB
PS4 Compatible
Xbox One Compatible
PC Compatible

Additional information

Hover over any usage ratings in a review or recommendation page to see the components. Changes in scores due to firmware updates are noted in a yellow banner at the top of a review, and any changes to overall weightings or scoring are listed below. The test bench version each product was tested in is listed on the review, next to the ratings.

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