Headphone/Audio & Music Library "Power" Tools

This thread is intended to provide for capture, catalog and discussion of various headphone or audio related software tools.

These can be downloadable applications or webpages/sites, and can be as simple as basic db/SPL or power calculators, but they should not include music-player applications nor EQ or DSP tools, both of which have/deserve their own topic(s).

Expect to see various posts from other, more general, threads migrated here.

Master Links

These are the current links to software/tools identified in other posts in this thread, collected here for ease of access:

Headphone Power Tools

Music Library Crud Purge

mlcp

See in-thread commentary for details, usage and evolution of software/links collected here.

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Those charts are generated from a little app I wrote. The app has an internal database of salient gear, with all of the relevant specifications, so you just select the things you want the charts for.

It does a bunch of other things, also, including showing how much power an amplifier can drive into a variety of loads*:

Or how loud (up to a maximum of 120 dB/SPL) a given amplifier can drive a variety of headphones (you can choose what models are in the list), based on how much voltage it can swing, and its current delivery capacity:

It’ll build similar charts for speakers (which also lets you choose the distance your listening position is from the speaker), as well as a variety of other bits.

And if you enter all your gear, and what feeds what, it’ll spit out system diagrams as well (which reminds me, I need to add the Stax SR-X9000 to its database and update this diagram to replace the LCD-4 and RAD-0 with the LCD-5):

At some point, I’ll throw up a web-based version of it. It’s just an iOS app at the moment.


*Some manufacturers only provide power output for one impedance, so the app uses standard electronic and audio formulae to extrapolate results for other values. However, if the manufacturer provides measurements for multiple impedances, the app will use those directly - which is useful when some amps have different current, thermal or voltage rail limitations that supersede the simple application of, say, Ohms law.

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Oh😳
That. Is. Cool.
Is it on the app store yet?

No.

It’d need a couple or three days of focused effort to make it submission-ready, and I don’t really have any motivation to do it. So it’ll probably be something that I don’t fiddle with until I have a day or two with nothing else I’d rather be doing.

I’m more likely to expend the effort to re-submit the macOS app I wrote, that automatically switches output sample rates to allow bit-perfect replay for lossless and hi-res files from Apple Music. But that’d need Apple Silicon support added, which in this case is a bit more involved than just adding the arm64 target and rebuilding.

Though that isn’t to say it’s very likely.

I’d still have to have a couple of days where I had absolutely nothing better to do. Though there’s a bit more motivation to do it, in this case.

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Gotchaaa, that’s all super cool. I’m majoring in electrical engineering in college right now, but computer science and software development have been and still are strong career considerations because (you obviously know this) there are still flaws that need to be fixed in the audio aspects of our modern computers that the big boys like microsoft just don’t seem to care to fix, so being able to create stuff like what you’re talking about that fixes those issues…just sounds amazing.

On windows devices, can you use equalizer APO (going to desktop dac) while also having automatically switching sample rates? I’ve heard of WASAPI Exclusive, ASIO, and WDM/KS, but can you use something like that with equalizer APO? If not, what sample rate & bit depth should I set my laptop to? (95% of what I listen to is 16 or 24 bit 44.1khz)

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The macOS app sounds amazing. I use BitPerfect but it is buggy and hasn’t been updated in years, and no idea if it works with their new chips. Part of why I’ve not been motivated to upgrade my 8 core i9 iMac. I’d definitely be a customer!

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Microsoft don’t seem very serious about a number of things one thinks they should be. It took them, what, 15 YEARS before they built USB Audio 2.0 (UAC2) support into the OS itself?

As far as I know (I’ve not used Windows for anything audio related since about 2008, and have never used Equalizer APO in my own setup), you’re limited to non-exclusive WASAPI and can’t use ASIO, so I’d assume automatic rate/depth switching isn’t possible.

If it was me, I’d choose whatever the native sample rate and bit-depth was for the majority of my content.

Does that actually work correctly when streaming lossless and hi-res files via an Apple Music subscription?

I didn’t even realize it worked with local content on macOS 12.3.

And based on when the last update was made, it’d definitely need Rosetta2 to run on the new Apple Silicon machines - if it works at all.


At this point, all of the software I use, commercial or otherwise, has native Apple Silicon support. Since getting my Studio units, and my 4th MBP 16" (AS), none of those machines even has Rosetta2 installed on it.

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Oh, sorry, just local content in the Music app, and yep using the latest MacOS it works as well as on the Mojave version. I don’t stream, so no way of knowing if bitperfect works with that.

So … today wound up involving a lot of sitting around, waiting on terminally-incapable-of-scheduling types (car service/dealerships, doctors and various contractors … etc.), with not much on hand but a 5G cellular connection, an 11" iPad Pro, a “Magic” keyboard, and several hours to kill.

Not being the “slacker” type (I like to be productive or, at least, mentally-engaged), I decided I’d take a stab at a quick-and-dirty “web/browser” implementation of my “Headphone Power/Drive” tool.

Feel free to play with it.

Notes:

  • As this is just for “fun”, it is running on a dynamic and temporary host/domain, so it might take 30 seconds or so for the host to fire up if it has not been accessed in a while. If, and when, I build out the rest of the thing on the web, I’ll move it to a concrete domain and always-on hosting.

  • The headphone database is just what I had on hand at the time; it is trivial to add manufacturers and their various models. I’ll likely update it with my latest local data later this week, but if there are things you want to see added, send me their manufacturer, name, impedance, sensitivity (and how that is measured … i.e. dB/mW or dB/V).


1. This is “stream-of-consciousness” and “for-the-hell-of-it” code and, as such, is entirely un-optimized.
2. For some reason, externalized JavaScript just isn’t loading on this host, so this version has its “.js” internalized.
3. No “frameworks” nor “libraries”; not even jQuery … as it is more than 10x the size of the entire HTML, CSS, JS and database for this SPA.
4. This is all “from-memory” raw/pure/vanilla HTML, CSS and JS.
5. Yes, this was much less work than finishing my iOS app …

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Thx @Torq! Looks like a great reference tool!

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This is fantastic! Very quick and snappy, with enough information on headphones that most people on this forum own that I think it’ll get a lot of interest! Especially interesting to see the current requirements on some of the planars out there.

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Very nice, thank you for sharing. It would be interesting to have a reverse lookup to list out which headphones can be driven with a given amp’s power capabilities at reasonable levels. I’m finding myself wondering “what other headphones can I use with this OTL?” :slight_smile:

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Very nice, informative and easy to navigate. :beers:

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Hi Ian! This is really incredible and the data you’ve gathered with the efficiency of it, is remarkable. Thank you so much. Right now I’m interested in the Final Audio D-8000 and the DCA Stealth and your data charts allowed me to realize that my desktop system is more than adequate to get the most out of both those headphones. Thanks my friend and much appreciation for doing this.

—Nicholas.

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Thank you very much for sharing this, it is excellent!

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Glad you’re finding it useful.

I updated the database, which added a few manufacturers and added some models to existing manufacturers.

It is not, and will not ever be, exhaustive.

There are various reasons for this including, but not limited to, manufacturers not providing the necessary specifications and/or not doing so consistently (either within their own lineups or in relation to the rest of the industry*), model spam, lack of a single place to retrieve the specs etc.

The iOS app version does that.

There are some limitations though, primarily due to the fact that most amplifier manufacturers do not provide enough information to do the necessary calculations properly and directly.

Most simply provide n mW at r Ohms, often only for 32 and 300 Ohm impedances.

You really need to know how much voltage they can swing, how much continuous current they can supply, how low a load they can drive while remaining stable and what their output impedance is. The first two are rarely published, the third is even less common and the last is often omitted as well.

And that’s without taking thermal limitations into account.

The minute you have to start doing triangulated calculations, or supply “reasonable” values for missing parameters, you can wind up being off by a factor of 20 or more. And that can easily be the difference between having insufficient power, ample power, or a smokily broken amplifier.


So what I may do is simply provide a tool that takes the necessary direct inputs, requires you to find and enter the values yourself, and then it’s on you if you decide to fudge the OI or the voltage swing (etc.) and wind up with a dead amplifier or transducer as a result.

The only “selectable” amplifiers for that function would be ones for which I can get all of the necessary specifications from the manufacturers. That’s a very short list, at the moment.

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Makes sense. Seems better to provide an advanced mode for power users who can source the necessary info from a builder, rather than unreliable results that could lead to a false sense of security informing purchase decisions. Maybe if it became popular enough you could crowdsource known amp/headphone pairings anecdotally from users. I.e. default to show “unverified/might be Ok” but proceed with caution vs “confirmed pairing” statuses.

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Torq:

This tool is magic. So useful. Thank you!

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In addition to the headphone power “calculator” I threw together:

I had some time to kill today, between waiting on the dive boat, riding on the dive boat, surface intervals, and lunch etc. …

So, I did a quick web-implementation of the “Amplifier Power Calculator” from my iOS app:

It only has data from nine manufacturers at the moment, but I’ll remedy that when I have access to my primary databases.

Note that values show in RED are calculated from the best/closest manufacturer-specified data. Values in BLACK are using actual manufacturer specs. In general, above 32 ohms, either should be fine.

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It is worth noting that, the method I am using to extrapolate values from the closest manufacturer-provided specifications don’t always work out. Most of the time they’re appropriate (assuming no voltage rail, current or thermal limitations then Ohm’s law is inviolate), but there are exceptions …

Look at the HEDDphone from the Phonitor X for an example.

In that particular case, I should probably be reverting to the next lowest-impedance manufacturer provided spec. I’ll have to refactor that, and change the color coding for cases of different assumptions.

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