WHAT IS HPEX PLAY AND WHY SHOULD I CARE?
Headphones have the potential to provide extremely high quality and immersive music reproduction, even on the go. Unfortunately, there is one major drawback which is called “In Head Localization”. Listening to a piece of music via headphones creates the effect of having all the instruments within the head. It gets even worse if the Audio Engineer pans dedicated instruments far to the left or right, creating effects tolerable for loudspeaker but quite disturbing on headphones.
There are quite some hardware and software solutions on the market, claiming to reduce the “In Head Localization” by applying different algorithms and especially dedicated “Head Related Transfer Functions (HRTFs)”.
Unfortunately, these solutions have further disadvantages by introducing tonal coloration, strong room reverberations or ambiguous sound location. Most of those products are focused on movie or gaming sound, neglecting the transparent reproduction demands of a classical HiFi setup where a minimum of tonal changes is crucial.
HPEX PLAY has been developed with the HiFi–Enthusiast in mind. Our main goals are the preservation of the timbre with a minimum of tonal changes, achieving a strong reduction of “In Head Localization” and therefore less “Headphone Listening Fatigue”.
WHAT DO I NEED TO DO TO LISTEN TO HPEX PLAY AND HOW DOES IT WORK?
Just load your music into the HPEX PLAY playlist by clicking on the Plus-Icon.*
There are two settings to optimize the sound stage. We believe that the default setting of 75% works for nearly all recordings:
Allows the setting of the externalization strength.
Sets the width of the virtual sound stage.
A HPEX label layered over the cover picture indicates an active headphone DSP.
If the HPEX Digital Signal Processor (DSP) is switched off then the app works as a standard audio player.
The free version of HPEX provides 30 seconds of headphone externalization for each track.
*Attention: The current Apple implementation (iOS 8.4) of the Media Picker does not indicate that an album has been added to the play list. That can be a bit confusing.
If you want to use our HPEX technology on your computer with the additional feature of music file transcoding then please go to the HPEX – headphone experience product page.
WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF HPEX PLAY?
HPEX PLAY does not use “Head Related Transfer Functions” because those introduce tonal changes and if the modeled HRTF differs from yours, defined by head size and especially the pinna, then the localization of sound sources can be way off. That can go as far as you locate an instrument behind your head even if it is in front of you.
The best solution would be the measurement of the listeners HRTF. That approach could lead to nearly perfect binaural listening. Well, unfortunately it is quite difficult and cumbersome to measure individual HRTFs, therefore that approach needs to be dismissed for time being.
HPEX PLAY simulates the listening through HiFi speakers by introducing the acoustic effects of speakers within a listening room. The key effects are cross talk as well as small reverberations and early reflections.
The algorithm we use moves the sound stage from between the ears to a more comfortable forward position with a wider natural sound field. Those subtle changes assure that HPEX transformed music reduces the effect of Headphone Listening Fatigue by a great deal and makes headphone listening a real pleasurable and immersive experience.
HPEX PLAY works in a very subtle way to enhance the headphone listening of HiFi stereo recordings. It does not provide the heavy effects of 3D around the head sound stages with all their disadvantages.