in the lab – audio listening tests

AKG K 702 and the Benchmark DAC 1

AKG K 702 and the Benchmark DAC 1 (behind)

Most people have no idea where probably most “development time” is actually spent: it’s in the audio listening tests and not the coding.

Around end of July we’ve already had a release candidate for the upcoming compressor plug-in but some pro’s from the beta crew still insists concerning an audio quality issue. And to me that means: back into the lab for some more audio tests and re-calibration of the compressor engine (and so is today). Most audio tests in my lab here were typically performed via speakers which are currently KS Digital C88 monitors.

I’ve recently ditched the Adam P11a and Sub10 mainly because bass response issues (the P11 were already sold and the Sub10 does a wonderful job now in my home theatre arrangement and is getting my housemates on the nerves). The C88 has a much stronger and focused bass response without the need for an additional subwoofer and that is performing way better in my room situation here (which is not fully treated unlike in the studio), especially if dance oriented audio material is on the play-list.

This is complemented by listening by cans. I do have several types here but for detailed A/B listening I do prefer the AKG K 702 at the moment. The signal chain for this is: RME Hammerfall -> Benchmark DAC 1 -> AKG K 702 which gives incredible resolution and clarity and I even do like to listen to some favourite recordings through this chain from time to time. It’s kind of a sonic microscope to detect all the gory details. Proper RMS volume matching is then the premise in front of actual A/B tests and the “rest” is hearing ability and experience.


  1. Getting THE sound is not as easy sometimes, isn’t it 😉 ?

    It’s good to have “real” professionals in the beta-team. That way you can be sure your plugins will be top-quality sound-wise.

    Ah, golden ears…

  2. This “going back into lab” is the same as in composition, mixing, mastering. Of course only for people, who want to get better on their way.

  3. Those K702’s look so sweet! I own K701’s personally, but the black 702’s are just yummy. + the detachable cable is a really neat thing to have.

  4. Drin Ishmaku says:

    Well,what you are assuming here is that the math is the same for everyone but the ears are not. Based upon that we can deduce that if I got some plugins with straight linear math but I got good ears than I should trust the ears and dial in the best I hear. Than what’s the point of another plugin? Wouldn’t it be better if you made 64bit versions instead of just throwing in another model? After all it depends on ears not math, and the real math in audio is 64 bit ,all other stuff is taste , right?


  1. […] in the lab – audio listening tests […]

  2. […] the desired overall interaction and sound must be targeted which has to be judged manually by audio listening tests since no math formula can get you around […]

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