I think we all know how important it is to match volume levels before comparing headphones or other audio equipment. I’d like to start a discussion on what procedure you like to use to level match your headphones.
But also I worked out my own procedure over the weekend and I’d appreciate your thoughts:
I use REW software with a miniDSP EARS rig. I’m not sure it’s necessary but I start by calibrating the REW SPL meter to 84 db as per EARS documentation for measuring frequency response. Then I use REW to play pink noise over the headphones and REW’s SPL meter to measure the level. I use the SPL meter in C weighted mode and the pink noise type I use is what REW suggests for speakers. I’m not sure these are the correct choices for headphones, though. Maybe I should use full spectrum pink noise and Z weighted mode or some combination of the above.
I start with whichever headphone is less sensitive than the other so that I’m always reducing the gain on the second pair to match it. The measured SPL does tend to fluctuate but I turn the volume knob on my amplifier up until it hovers around 84.0 db.Then I put the second pair of headphones on and use my equalizer to lower the gain until it also hovers around 84.0 db. I don’t think it matters that I use 84.0 db here as long as it is the same.
At this point my understanding is that I can change the volume on my amp in either direction and as long as I continue to switch the equalizer gain to match the headphone being played, the headphones will have the same perceived volume.