When buying a pair of headphones, it's important to find ones that sound the way you like. But how can you know what they sound like without listening to them? You can look at their raw frequency response, which tells you how accurately the drivers reproduce each frequency in amplitude. However, if you're just learning to read sound graphs, it can be challenging to interpret this information. Our Sound Profile test is designed to simplify this process.
We use a target based on Harman's target response, which is based on the idea that a good pair of headphones should sound similar to a good stereo speaker setup in an ideal room. This target is applied to the headphones' frequency response and is level-matched to 90 dB. This turns our target curve into a straight line, making it easier to see the sound of the headphones that are under or overemphasized compared to our target. If you prefer more thump, rumble, and boom in your audio, you'll want headphones that have big peaks throughout the bass range. Conversely, if you like vocals and instruments to sound clear and natural, you'll want to look for a more neutral and flat response across the range.
Although we don't score this test, if you want to know how well the frequency response follows our target curve, you'll want to check out Bass Accuracy, Mid Accuracy, and Treble Accuracy instead. If you're looking to understand audio quality lingo, take a look at our sound quality glossary too.