Podcast 69: Tyll Hertsens

Our own Tyll Hertsens, editor-in-chief of InnerFidelity.com, talks about the surprisingly social hobby of headphones, measuring the performance of headphones and how that relates to the subjective experience of listening to them, in-ear versus on-ear versus over-the-ear designs, simulating surround in headphones, how sound levels impact sound quality and hearing safety, noise cancelling, breaking in headphones, answers to chat-room questions, and more.

Run Time: 58:21

Click here to listen to this podcast.

As the son of two ballet dancers, Tyll Hertsens has been exposed to music all his life. Fortunately for headphone listeners, his two left feet and a penchant for gadgetry kept him out of the theater. Tyll discovered headphone listening in high school with a pair of Koss Pro-4AA headphones and spent countless hours listening to Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and the like. Later in life, as a scanning electron-microscope repairman, he improved his listening with a DIY headphone amp with a crude crossfeed circuit.

In 1992, Tyll took his idea for a portable headphone amp to heart and started HeadRoom, introducing the world to the pleasures of well-amplified personal listening. HeadRoom went on to create the first commercially available portable headphone amplifier and the first balanced-drive headphone amp. Tyll also spent countless hours promoting the hobby of headphone listening, and today a thriving community exists much to his credit.

After 17 years of operation, Tyll decided to leave HeadRoom and put his full attention on promoting headphone listening to a wider audience. To that end, he has recently joined Source Interlink Media's Home Tech group (which includes Stereophile.com, HomeTheater.com, and UltimateAVmag.com) to create a website dedicated to personal audio: InnerFidelity.com. The site focuses on headphones, headphone amplifiers, portable players, internet radios, and all manner of personal audio devices.

Here's the YouTube video of this podcast:

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WazNeeni's picture

I just wanted to point out the irony of the unfortunate quality of the podcast audio for this week's show, especially while listening through my stock iPhone earbuds. I'm pretty sure it's because all the good equipment is being moved to the Brickhouse (from what Tom Merritt said on TNT).

Anyway, Scott, awesome show!!! PLEASE have Tyll on again ASAP. It was obvious there was so much more you guys could have talked about, and the topic of headphones is so incredibly interesting!

Right now, I have a set of KOSS TD80's with a lifetime warrantee. I've sent them in for repair, I think, 4 times, and a replacement pair is always sent back with the exact same problem. The stupid volume knobs keep shorting out!! I'll never understand why they can't just replace them w/ a new model without the stupid knobs. If I knew how, I would crack 'em open and solder the wires together to make a solid/closed circuit. They were $50 16 years ago, but maybe it's time to ditch them and get something new.

lawsonjl's picture

I just wanted to say I loved this episode. I typically listen to music on my stereo system and only use headphones(iPod ear buds) when I'm on the go or don't want to disturb others. After listening to this podcast I would really like to get a $100 or so pair of headphones and do some listening.

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