Review: Funko Darth Vader Headphones Page 2


To measure the performance of the Funko Darth Vader, I used a G.R.A.S. 43AG ear/cheek simulator, a Clio FW audio analyzer, a laptop computer running TrueRTA software with an M-Audio MobilePre USB audio interface, and a Musical Fidelity V-Can headphone amplifier. Measurements were calibrated for ear reference point (ERP), roughly the point in space where your palm intersects with the axis of your ear canal when you press your hand against your ear. I experimented with the position of the earpads by moving them around slightly on the ear/cheek simulator, and settled on the placement that gave the best bass response and the most characteristic result overall.

The frequency response of the Darth Vader looks rather weird, with a large midrange boost between 400 Hz and 2 kHz, and a large treble peak in the 6 to 7 kHz range. My guess is that most listeners will perceive the Darth Vader as light in the bass, which seems to me an inappropriate tuning choice given the likely market demographics of this headphone. Adding 70 ohms output impedance to the V-Can’s 5-ohm output impedance to simulate the effects of using a typical low-quality headphone amp boosts bass by +2 dB at 55 Hz, which might actually make the Darth Vader sound better.

Total harmonic distortion (THD) at 100 dBA is pretty high in the low bass. It measures 3% at 100 Hz, which isn’t unusual, but rises to 24% at 20 Hz, which is far more than I usually measure. Impedance averages 38 ohms, while average sensitivity from 300 Hz to 6 kHz measures 104.0 dB. Isolation is typical for an over-ear headphone: nothing in the bass, -9 dB at 1 kHz, maxing out at about -20 dB at higher frequencies. —Brent Butterworth