The Golden Ears Training Program By Philips

Philips: Golden Ears Training

A few months ago when Mike and I were at the Philips Research Lab in Belgium together with Tyll and Jude, Philips showed us their internal “Golden Ears” testing tool/program. I remember us all being very enthusiast about it, recommending them to make it available to the big public. And guess what? They did!

“We know that we are not alone in this obsession with sound, which is why we are inviting you to take our Golden Ears challenge”.

The Golden Ears website has been online for a few months now even though Philips hasn’t really been marketing it. That shows when you look at the number of finished tests on the website but I’m sure these numbers will increase quickly. So what is it exactly?

The golden Ears training program was designed to develop the listening skills of their audio engineers. Their expertise guarantees the creation of products of superior sound quality that highlight every musical detail. Graduates of the program can reliably detect subtle differences in sound based on 5 key attributes:

Timbre: Differences in tone or the frequency of content of music

Details: The lack of treble, distortion, or noise that can mask the fine details

Spatial Impression: The depth and spaciousness of the sound field

Bass: The quality of low frequencies

Loudness: The perception of sound power, from quiet to loud

This online training program contains elements of their internal program we tried at their facility. To be fair, I do think their internal program is harder to complete than this online training program, but that seems only normal. This online version has four big levels, with short challenges in each of the above mentioned categories: Basic Level –  Bronze Ears –  Silver Ears – Golden Ears

The thing I really liked about the training is that you get to experience a lot of the terms we use to describe sound in our reviews. In example, if you sometimes wonder what a small sound stage or treble cut off sounds like, this is the place to learn.

How long you will take to work your way to the end of the Golden Ears status is hard to predict but with an above average experience in sound like most of our readers have and a good dac/amp/headphone setup, you will (hopefully) go through it fairly quick. Don’t be mistaken however, there are some hard challenges in the Golden part for sure, especially the Timbre section.

Of course you have to start with the Basic level before you can go to the next level but you can do Loudness first and then go to Timbre and mix things up. If you answer any question incorrectly, you will need to go back one step. For your reference, there are 7 chapters in Basic Level; 6 chapters in Bronze Ears; 7 chapters in Silver Ears; 6 chapters and a quiz in the ultimate level – Golden Ears. After you’ve created a log in, the site will remember where exactly you were in the training so you can come back at any given time and continue where you quit. After completing a level you can share that with your friends on the social media. Who wouldn’t want to show off his Golden Ears status with his (audiophile) friends? My non audio friends of course now think of me as an even bigger freak , but what do they know, right?

I sincerely had fun doing all the tests using 2 different setups depending on my location: Cypher Labs Theorem DAC + Beyerdynamic A20 + Sennheiser HD650 and Meier Audio Corda Classic + Daccord + Hifiman HE-500. Philips recommends using the best headphones/setup you have available to complete the program.

You can go have a look at, or even better, participate in the training program right here:

https://www.goldenears.philips.com/

Let us know if you have made it to the end and what you considered the hardest test was. To me the Timbre section in Gold was very tough. I hope you have as much fun as I had. Thank you Philips for making this available to the big crowd, for free! (A mobile version of the site is coming soon)

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Lieven is living in Europe and he's the leader of the gang. He's running Headfonia as a side project next to his full time day job in Digital Marketing & Consultancy. He's a big fan of tube amps and custom inear monitors and has published hundreds of product reviews over the years.

124 Comments

  • Reply February 15, 2014

    Yudha

    Using Beyerdynamic COP and onboard souncard (ALC889) it’s hard on coloration and spaciousness test

    • Reply February 15, 2014

      L.

      At what level?

      • Reply February 15, 2014

        Yudha

        basic level hahaha
        did you know who is the female singer is? i love her voice

        • Reply February 21, 2014

          Nick

          Shazam says it is Claude Pelouse, and the track is called Paradise.

          I agree – lovely voice.

          • Reply February 21, 2014

            Yudha

            thanks

  • Reply February 15, 2014

    dalethorn

    So if any of us were to take the course (just for fun of course), would our results be available for anyone to see? There’s a business and security aspect to that – if other people could view your results they could use that information to disparage your reviews.

    • Reply February 16, 2014

      L.

      It is all private 😉

  • Reply February 15, 2014

    George Lai

    I don’t want to take this test and then be dissatisfied with my audio hardware and my music collection or my hearing ability!

    • Reply February 15, 2014

      dalethorn

      I went through timbre and scored 100 percent. Using desktop, anomalous sound card and Final Audio Pandora VI. The key to this (it seems to me) is to take your time and get an idea of how your headphone’s colorations interact with those that the test presents, and then you can mentally subtract out the difference and guess the correct answer.

      • Reply February 16, 2014

        L.

        IN GOLD?

        • Reply February 16, 2014

          dalethorn

          You have to complete all sections to go gold.

          • Reply February 16, 2014

            L.

            I know that, I figured you were there yet. In the beginning 100% scores are normal imho

            • Reply February 16, 2014

              dalethorn

              It’s not “in the beginning” – each major section is equally difficult.

              • Reply February 16, 2014

                L.

                Equally easy till you reach timbre in Gold 😉

                • Reply February 16, 2014

                  dalethorn

                  Not exactly. If you see what I said about the colorations in the headphone you’re doing the tests with, and you’ve noted what Innerfidelity and others have said – that even flagships vary by up to plus or minus 5 db – then how do you propose to evaluate colorations that are smaller than your own headphone’s coloration?. I’m going to guess in advance that you’re confident you can do that, and maybe you know a trick that works reliably. But outside of using a Harman K812 or Sennheiser 800, I doubt the very premise when the differences in the test examples are small enough. And BTW, if the test really takes 10 times longer than I spent (5 sections times 2 – beginning and advanced), who is going to have that much free time? Experts I’d guess.

                  • Reply February 16, 2014

                    L.

                    I have to say I flew through everything except for Timbre on gold. Of course good gear is important. I mentioned the gear I used in the article. The test might not be perfect and yes headphones can have variations, but if you know your headphone, you know what to listen to and you shouldn’t have to much problems IF your ears are good enough.

                    That may seem like a weird statement but I have friends who can’t even make out a wider sound stage, some people just can’t hear those things so I suppose it will be harder for those trainees

                    • February 16, 2014

                      dalethorn

                      Your observations are right on. I wonder if Philips has any recommendations for users in those areas. They will gather the statistics from their web site, but they won’t even know what headphones were used to generate those results. So many questions….

                    • February 16, 2014

                      L.

                      That would habe been a nice extra but everyone can lie about their setup. No idea why you would but you would be surprised

                  • Reply February 20, 2014

                    John123John

                    so do you believe that using a high end neutral setup (stax bhse/ hd800/ etc) would make it easier than say a mid randge (hd600, crack, etc)?

                    not trying to stir anything, just trying to hear some opinions.

                    • February 20, 2014

                      dalethorn

                      I don’t know how Philips is generating the colorations, but based on my recent experience with Audioforge and how it can improve soundstage and eliminate the ‘constricted’ sound in closed headphones, I’d say they can generate those colorations with freq. response only. And if that’s true, then a very neutral headphone would be needed. The only reason I can think of that people can use very colored headphones in the training is when they’re lucky enough that a coloration in the headphone doesn’t coincide with a coloration in the test sample. Or, using the example from wave coincidence and reinforcement, that the headphone would cancel one real test track example and color another example that’s not colored. You know how it is that people are born seeing upside down and the brain has to reverse the picture? That’s a potential problem with this training – you’ll train your brain to hear critically with a very colored headphone, which isn’t a good idea I don’t think.

  • Reply February 16, 2014

    Dano91

    All done from gold, except “Frequency bands on music” in timbre part, that one is difficult, otherwise it was quite simple.

    • Reply February 16, 2014

      L.

      I fully agree!

    • Reply February 16, 2014

      L.

      O2 and odac with hd600. Brrr 🙂

      • Reply February 16, 2014

        Dano91

        😉

      • Reply February 20, 2014

        John123John

        Question, would it matter what setup you use as long as you are consistent? If your setup is very colored, its still a constant during the training program. obviously switching during the training would not be recommended.

        its much more of an ear test than a gear test, although ofcourse if your headphone cannot accurately produce sound then you have a problem..

        • Reply February 20, 2014

          dalethorn

          Very colored == not accurate.

        • Reply February 20, 2014

          L.

          I think its 65% ear and 35% ear

  • Reply February 16, 2014

    admiralwiem

    For the country with high speed internet connection, this will be kind of awesome experience. For the low speed one………… pretty much taking time… a lot :|.

    • Reply February 20, 2014

      L.

      slow goes too 🙂

  • Reply February 16, 2014

    Dave Zee

    Hey, guys! Great read! I have a question that I’m also trying to decide on, but wanted your input. If you could only base your headphone audio reviews off of 5 key attributes, what would they be? Golden Ears has their own set of words. What would your 5 words be, ie.. timbre, soundstage, etc? -davy

    • Reply February 16, 2014

      dalethorn

      You should start with frequency response. Not only do many pricy headphones have peaks and recesses that you have to somehow compensate for in listening or judging, but frequency response deviations have a major impact on soundstage and other things, especially from the upper mids through the treble.

      One problem I see in Philips’ tests is the female voice, where the colorations they demonstrate involve frequency response deviations that are less than most headphones, then to make matters worse, the fundamentals where those deviations occur are often 10 to 20 db below the average signal. There are very brief moments where the fundamentals rise in volume, but I don’t know if it’s enough, especially given the colorations in our headphones.

      Another problem is the absolute secrecy as L said – we won’t know how any experts or reference people did on the tests, except to take their word for it (which I’d love to hear, but can’t make book on).

      • Reply February 20, 2014

        John123John

        +1 on frequency response.. That’s honestly the most important attribute to a headphone other than its ability to make noise, its comfort and i dunno, imaging and soundstage.

        • Reply February 20, 2014

          dalethorn

          I EQ’d my wife’s ESW9a a few weeks ago using the Audioforge parametric equalizer (which took all of 5 minutes), and when she tried it out she exclaimed “Wow – the sound came alive – the soundstage is huge” etc. etc. The so-called ‘constricted’ sound that’s so common to small closed headphones just goes away with those settings, and it’s frequency adjustment only – no phase shifting or other DSP tricks. I’ve done 18 headphones so far.

    • Reply February 17, 2014

      L.

      We chose not to “select” 5 categories. We’re also against a score system. you should decide on what you think is important to you. Do the test and you’ll have a good idea on what attributes you find important when listening to your music

      Sound stage, detail, air, positioning, dynamics, …

    • Reply February 17, 2014

      Dave Zee

      Generally, I’m trying to get feedback on my question mainly as something fun…think of it as a hypothetical question, such as, what would I do if I won a million bucks :). I understand that you may not use scores or preset criteria, but was hoping to read some feedback as if you were given a class assignment to list 5 attributes you find most important to describe the sound quality of a product. I have an idea of what I would use. Mainly I’m asking this because as a novice reviewer, I make short video reviews. Written reviews can literally be pages upon pages to describe the smallest nuances of how something sounds, which gives the writer a lot of real estate to review something in deep detail. But, If I were to do a quick ‘nugget’ review in which I provide approximately 5 key attributes to quickly describe the most common aspects of what something sounds like, what would they be? This is of course a more subjective question, hence why I’m seeking more input.

      Also, I understand that people who review speakers, will perhaps key in on different attributes when compared to folks who generally only review IEM’s or full sized cans.

      • Reply February 18, 2014

        L.

        good luck

  • Reply February 19, 2014

    Creator Viktor

    Hmm, found most of the test pretty easy, and not very dependent on good gear, but the Timbre part 2 in gold is just annoying – I think there are just a bit too many options… but oh well 😛

    • Reply February 20, 2014

      L.

      I’m sure you learned something. that’s what it is about

  • Reply February 19, 2014

    Mark Sung

    Gee getting hard afte silver, guess my ears are getting old and tired

    • Reply February 20, 2014

      dalethorn

      If you had a Stax SR009 or something equally neutral, I think you would breeze through it. But those subtle colorations interacting with typical dynamic headphones – it’s not possible to separate the colorations in the music samples from the colorations in the headphones. I tried with a $700 FAD Pandora VI and had difficulty beyond the basic level.

      • Reply February 20, 2014

        Dano91

        Pfff, c’mon you certainly don’t need Stax or any other expensive cans..
        I completed test on gold with 130$ etys hf5.. same with dynamic HD 600..
        So don’t blame your headphones, maybe it’s just your hearing that is not that good as you think 🙂

        • Reply February 20, 2014

          dalethorn

          My hearing is perfect. But when someone is trying to whisper in my right ear and someone else is shouting in my left ear, I usually don’t hear the person on the right – not very clearly anyway. The way you claim you can hear perfectly through all of the colorations of your headphone to clearly hear the colorations in the samples – I don’t buy it. It’s unscientific and illogical. Some you can hear, yes, but not all. Think about that some more and then if you have a logical explanation I’m sure interested.

          • Reply February 20, 2014

            George Lai

            For me, normally the whisper in one ear is the seductive allure of a potential new purchase right in front of me whilst the shouting in the other is the conscience. Sometimes it is the other way around and then there goes the wallet. Again.

            • Reply February 20, 2014

              dalethorn

              I used to sell this stuff, so I have the instincts. I have the luxury of having a conscience now, but I try to not let it bother me.

            • Reply February 20, 2014

              John123John

              Question: Is this whisper in one ear and shouting in the other an idiom or common phrase? because I have no idea what that means.
              Or is it just a part of the training. I actually havent attempted it yet…

              • Reply February 20, 2014

                dalethorn

                It just means that when two things are playing at the same time, there are cases where one sound “masks” the other sound, unless the 2 sounds are very different from each other and not too far apart in volume. In regard to the Philips training, if the headphone has enough coloration (i.e. the “really crappy” headphone one user noted), some of those colorations would coincide with colorations in the test music, and then correctly identifying the colored music sample would be just a guess. It’s like using a broken calculator that generates occasional wrong numbers when you’re building a bridge and making measurements.

            • Reply February 20, 2014

              L.

              Most of the time I’m the one seducing him

              • Reply February 20, 2014

                George Lai

                Eeewwwww.

                • Reply February 20, 2014

                  L.

                  to buy new headphones that is. Of course.

          • Reply February 20, 2014

            Dano91

            I’m not sure if I understand you correctly, since english is not my first language, but all I’m saying is that I completed the test on gold difficulty with above mentioned headphones. But I never said that it was easy to do so – 2nd part of timbre test on gold took me like 2 hours.
            And I really don’t know what kind of “logical explanation” are you expecting from me? I simply passed the test and that’s all, but I can post screenshot from it + foto of my pair of HD 600’s / etys hf5 if it helps you somehow..

            • Reply February 20, 2014

              dalethorn

              The problem is, this is a new challenge for me, but much more important than that, it’s a major initiative that’s going to play a big role in defining the preferred sound of flagship (or lower) headphones going forward. It’s not just Philips – Harman is working on this, and so is that pesky guy Paul Barton. So my interest is in finding exactly how people are hearing through one coloration to hear another, especially when (in some cases) it’s a similar coloration and one is going to mask the other. I’m not trying to give anyone a hard time, but we really need to understand some of the basics here instead of just “Hey – I heard it, well, maybe I did”. There is a training aspect to this, but training with very imperfect tools seems at least a little dubious to me.

              • Reply February 20, 2014

                Dano91

                All I was referring to was your statement that you need Stax or other similarly prices headphones to pass the test, which is plainly wrong as me and other guys here and on Innerfidelity already showed.
                Just for curiosity, I’m going to try it with crappy Samsung earphones which were provided with my phone 😛 (Not expecting much from it)

                • Reply February 20, 2014

                  dalethorn

                  I don’t buy it. And you can’t say something is plainly wrong just because Innerfidelity “proved” it wrong or right. What you can do IF you want to is demonstrate how you can have a headphone coloration that’s essentially the same as the coloration in the test track and “listen through” one to hear the other. You can’t demonstrate that by saying “I told you so”. And I don’t consider Innerfidelity to be any more than a testing lab. I find their measurements reasonably accurate and useful, but I don’t value their opinions as to what they hear – they have to stand in that line like everyone else. And it’s a long line.

                  • Reply February 20, 2014

                    Dano91

                    I said it was wrong because I tried it on myself – do I have Stax or other expensive headphones? No, I don’t. I have only HD 600 and etys hf5 with odac+o2.
                    Did I completed the test? Yes I did. Don’t know how for you, but for me it’s clear evidence that one don’t need super expensive headphones to complete that test.
                    Why it is so? I don’t know and to be honest I don’t really care, but just my 2 cents – you don’t need to care about headphones own coloration, you only need to focus for difference between two provided samples since that hp coloration is present in both samples.. sure there are exception to this, like bass/treble extension..
                    Btw, I just finished bronze with super crappy Samsung earphones, going to try silver..

                    • February 20, 2014

                      dalethorn

                      I will take your experience then for what it’s worth.

                    • February 20, 2014

                      L.

                      “you don’t need to care about headphones own coloration, you only need to
                      focus for difference between two provided samples since that hp
                      coloration is present in both samples.”

                      Exactly what I’ve been trying to say. thanks

                    • February 20, 2014

                      dalethorn

                      Er, no. Take the example of a headphone with output at 4 and 6 khz that’s -3 db compared to 5 khz. Then take a ‘colored’ music track that’s had its sound increased by 3 db at 4 and 6 khz. Now that track will cancel out with the colored headphone and the uncolored track will exhibit the coloration from the headphone.

                      So in that particular case, what does training do? Teach us to hear upside down because we have a colored headphone? In the real world, those examples I mention here don’t generally occur with the mathematical exactness I stated, but the principle is the same – the colored headphone will make some of the colored music sound better than the uncolored music, and that fact is proven in a hundred places. Beats is a large example, but there are many others.

                      Philips isn’t doing this as a public service – this is going to feed into their ongoing designs, and that’s what I want to know more about – i.e., what’s the real goal for Philips?

                    • February 20, 2014

                      Dano91

                      Well, exactly.. let’s just mark such a headphones as a “Headphone1”, uncolored music sample as A, colored sample as B.
                      Headphone1’s coloration is -3, sample A is 0, sample B is +3

                      So we have:
                      with sample A: -3 (for hp) + 0 (for sample) = -3 (combined coloration)
                      with sample B: -3 + 3 = 0
                      Difference: -3

                      Now lets take some very heavily colored headphones and mark it as Headphone2, its coloration will be -20:

                      with sample A: -20 + 0 = -20
                      with sample B: -20 + 3 = -17
                      Difference: -3

                      And for last take some absolutely neutral Headphones3, with coloration 0:

                      with sample A: 0 + 0 = 0
                      with sample B: 0 + 3 = +3
                      Difference: again, -3

                      So in all 3 cases, the difference which you will hear in the end is same for all 3 headphones (-3 dB), which means that headphones’s own coloration doesn’t matter. And that’s the reason why one can complete the test with almost any headphones (bass/treble extension would be only limitation).

                    • February 20, 2014

                      dalethorn

                      So in that tremendously long post, you’ve effectively denied EQ altogether as having any effect at all. i.e., by your reckoning, the fact is that a headphone with a dip of 4 db at 4 khz will not in fact net-out a music track that has a plus 4 db bias at 4 khz. In whose universe?

                    • February 21, 2014

                      Dano91

                      Seriously.. wth are you talking about? How this deny EQ at all?
                      You should either read again what I wrote or just stop trolling..
                      L. and I was trying to explain it to you in numerous posts, but no matter what, you are still repeating the same thing that one can’t hear subtle differences because of headphone coloration, but without providing any real evidence to support your theory.
                      Otoh, as L. said, his friend completed that test on gold with koss porta pro, and I did the same with hd600/hf5/samsung mobile earphones.
                      I think you are just afraid to admit, that your hearing is not that good as you thought..

                    • February 21, 2014

                      dalethorn

                      I’ve been here a long time and I don’t know you Mr. Troll. Instead of dealing directly with what I said about waves canceling out or reinforcing when they’re the same wavelength, you post big long texts that say nothing but confuse much. So if you are going to keep arguing, deal with the simple stuff first.

                    • February 21, 2014

                      dalethorn

                      BTW, what I hear you saying about *hearing* makes you sound like a bigot.

                    • February 21, 2014

                      Dano91

                      Ok, I see it’s just pointless to reply to your comments so I will stop here. Have a nice day 🙂

                    • February 21, 2014

                      L.

                      Thanks for all the comments Daniel. Do come back 🙂

                    • February 21, 2014

                      dalethorn

                      It is pointless when you don’t respond to the point. So far, nobody has addressed the specific question as to how to hear a coloration that has been effectively canceled by an opposite coloration in the headphone. I suppose there’s an assumption that it would ‘rarely’ happen, but that’s a potential problem. i.e. in the early days of personal computers, virus scans, and a few other things, some of the ‘smart’ programs would look for certain byte signatures in target data to initiate an action, and if the particular signature were statistically very unlikely to impossible to happen otherwise, the programs would execute their action merrily without a second thought. Oops! The WW2 Germans were confident of their Enigma machine’s security based on their statistics – wrong again! So today the success of certain people using the Philips training with very colored headphones has created a new wave of confidence that the headphone doesn’t matter, but I know it does matter, and so should you.

                    • February 21, 2014

                      L.

                      Alright, let’s close this discussion. You’re both right 😀

                    • March 2, 2014

                      Mu Ho

                      If i understand what you are saying it’impossible to know what kind of coloration someone heard with this test. Nevertheless it is possible to finish the test with poor gear because there are two way to do it. Focus just on the different sample or listen the kind of difference with so to say awareness. I suppose the goal for philips is reach the high level with very good headphone. This is the sense of training i think. In the other case is just a game.

                    • March 2, 2014

                      dalethorn

                      No, not impossible. I’m just saying that since your headphone colors all sounds, it will also color the test. It may be that the average person can still perform the test with 90-95 percent accuracy, and a few individuals can perform it with 100 percent accuracy (sometimes). But to claim that the headphone coloration has no effect in a test to detect coloration is like saying that white is black or up is down.

                    • March 3, 2014

                      Mu Ho

                      I think headphone had no effects to succeed on this test but of course have effects on training purpose. It would be usefull do it with very different sets and listen to the difference (but to have a set reference is better in this case maybe)

                    • March 3, 2014

                      dalethorn

                      Just take a very simple example of a headphone with a 5 db peak at 5 khz, then the test sample has a dip at 5 khz. They will cancel each other out. Really. Test fails. People can imagine all kinds of things, and even learn workarounds for some of these test things, but they can’t invent science. Waves reinforce and cancel, which is why forcing stereo to mono loses actual sounds, and why headphone crossfeed has made very little progress. To the extent that this training works at all, it’s because the colorations don’t coincide exactly. But it isn’t good training to learn to detect colorations with a very colored headphone. Philips didn’t do this as a public service. They want to sell headphones, and not the colored kind.

                    • March 3, 2014

                      L.

                      The test doesn’t fail cause the headphone owner will hear a difference. Sure it’s not the difference Philips intended to show, but it will be audible for this test.

                      Actually Philips tubes there headphones to the warmer side, that was confirmed by them

                    • March 3, 2014

                      dalethorn

                      You can’t say that “it will be audible”. That means every test, every coloration, will always be audible no matter what the case, without even knowing the circumstances or the headphone in advance.

                    • February 21, 2014

                      L.

                      Sent you a message on Facebook, check your inbox.other folder.

                  • Reply February 20, 2014

                    L.

                    it doesn’t have to be the same, you just need to know how it sounds in your headphone. See my comment above

                • Reply February 20, 2014

                  L.

                  hahaha. keep us posted!

              • Reply February 20, 2014

                L.

                Yes and no. If I train with my HD650 I will know the variations for an HD650 but at the same time you know what to listen to. Sure it might be a bit different sounding on let’s say the HE500, but you know what to look for

          • Reply February 20, 2014

            L.

            For some tests I switched to the HE500. You guys are both right

      • Reply February 20, 2014

        L.

        80% of the time I used a HD650, hardly a neutral headphone, right? A friend of mine finished gold with a Koss Portapro even 😀

        • Reply February 20, 2014

          dalethorn

          Nice to know, but what does that tell us, in terms of training? That colorations in music are important, but colorations in headphones don’t matter?

          • Reply February 20, 2014

            L.

            It tells us that you need to know or understand the colorations in your headphone

            • Reply February 20, 2014

              dalethorn

              In spite of all my pesky questions, I have a big curiosity about sound, so I thought this Golden Ears initiative was a great idea. Just excuse my mind running way ahead with a million questions (I know we have few answers at this point). Hopefully someone is pressing Philips for more information, rather than making assumptions that might not pan out.

              • Reply February 20, 2014

                L.

                I could ask, I know the main sound guy there (I live close by) but just don’t have the time

                • Reply February 20, 2014

                  dalethorn

                  Maybe you could have someone else ask. This is a major review or article with involvement of a lot of people.

      • Reply February 23, 2014

        Daniel James

        I completed this with a FiiO X3 and AKG K545. It wasn’t hard, but it wasn’t easy. Goes to show that one doesn’t need ultra expensive headphones to actually… hear the music.

        • Reply February 23, 2014

          dalethorn

          The actual question is, how does one “train” to hear colorations that are heard with colored headphones, if the colorations in the music and the headphone coincide (either reinforce or cancel out, per ordinary wave physics)? 100 people can post their satisfactory experiences here, but we aren’t learning anything from that until someone does a critical analysis which explains it. I know that there are forums where people relate their experiences through 100 to 1000 pages of postings that few people will ever read, but I’ve been hoping that on this excellent forum someone would dig into this and provide some real information.

          • Reply February 23, 2014

            Daniel James

            What’s happening is the coloration adds on to the existing coloration from the headphones themselves and it based off of the resolution of your gear and the hearing health to decipher the differences. You do make a point.

  • Reply February 23, 2014

    Fabio_Rocks

    I just completed the test on GOLD with My Macbook Air and Akg k 404 !!! You really don’t need expensive setup to complete the test, just a good hearing 🙂 I confirm that timbre in gold is extreme difficult! and I lost 1 hour try passing it.

    • Reply February 24, 2014

      dalethorn

      The problem I see (one of many) is this isn’t a test per se, it’s training, and training for what exactly hasn’t been presented yet.

  • Reply March 2, 2014

    Mu Ho

    I completed the golden ears with senn hd449 on imac. I didn’t check how long does it takes but maybe one hour from start to silver then one hour and half or a little more for the gold one.
    The timbre section was without doubt the most ‘difficult’. While certain sessions, like loudness to say one, were too simple in my opinion.
    I think philips made a good work. And it could be better -more difficulandt funny- with little correction. For exemple, Now I don’t remember where, but two different sample were played in sequence and when it changed there was written it was (hope you understand, sorry for my english). I suppose it was more funny if it played the two samples without saying when changes occour.

  • Reply March 10, 2014

    meh

    Sorry, im here want to ask does anybody know the song(before the test) on the spaciousness example/sample?

    • Reply April 22, 2014

      Tommie Färnklint

      Claude Pelouse – Paradise (Female Vocals)

      • Reply April 22, 2014

        L.

        Thanks Tommie

      • Reply April 22, 2014

        meh

        thanks :)))))))))))))))))

      • Reply April 22, 2014

        meh

        oh wait, it not the song for the spaciousness, it for other part

      • Reply April 23, 2014

        Tommie Färnklint

        Hear my prayer (O for the wings of a dove) – Mendelssohn

        • Reply April 23, 2014

          meh

          yep this one correct, thank u~

    • Reply April 23, 2014

      dalethorn

      I went to iTunes and snagged 5 tracks by this guy.

  • Reply July 9, 2014

    L.

    July 9 2014: I’m
    surprised to see only 884 people worldwide have made it to Gold. When I
    achieved gold months ago there weren’t even 200 people with gold. Is it that hard?

    • Reply July 9, 2014

      Marc

      I’m proud to say that I’m the 850th to complete it!! In all honesty it’s not that hard except for Gold timbre due to memory more than hearing differences but I don’t think a lot of people take it seriously or have even tried and wanted to complete it.

    • Reply July 9, 2014

      dalethorn

      Yes, it’s very tedious, especially hearing that voice over and over and over and ……..

  • Reply July 11, 2014

    Yupeng Ji

    Made to Silver, how long does everybody take to achieve Gold?

    • Reply July 11, 2014

      dalethorn

      I never made gold, because my headphone coloration was opposite of song coloration and they canceled out (long story).

      • Reply July 11, 2014

        L.

        We discussed this before and I can’t fully agree but let’s keep it with that 🙂

        • Reply July 11, 2014

          dalethorn

          So when someone new like Yupeng asks a question, only you can answer?

          • Reply July 11, 2014

            L.

            I didn’t say that. At all. You know we highly appreciate your input here. I just said I don’t agree with the coloration canceling out the effects in the test, that’s it. Don’t make anything more of it cause you’re in a bad mood Dale 😉

            • Reply July 11, 2014

              dalethorn

              Accusing me of being in a bad mood – that sounds like you’re in the bad mood and you’re trying to shift the blame to me. I was not being negative here – you were. Go back and look.

              • Reply July 11, 2014

                Yupeng Ji

                hey you guys, stop fighting! Let’s just focus on music, okay? btw, looks like this site is a good place to track latest news, you’re both old members?

                • Reply July 11, 2014

                  L.

                  I am the owner 😉

                  • Reply July 11, 2014

                    Yupeng Ji

                    hmm, looking for portable solution, I don’t want to carry that big device while running 🙁

                    • July 12, 2014

                      dalethorn

                      Let’s assume that you’re outdoors where the ambient noise level is much, much higher than indoors, and indoors is where you hear the most fine detail in your music. So outdoors you don’t need the finest microscopic detail, but you do want quality amplification. For that I’d recommend the FiiO E07k and those bands to strap the amp to the phone. The only downside is you would probably want a better amp for indoor listening. But the FiiO doesn’t cost a lot, and it’s actually very good.

                • Reply July 12, 2014

                  dalethorn

                  We’re not fighting, please. We’re just trying to figure out what’s appropriate to say and when. This training program may seem like a fun public service to some people, but let’s not forget that Philips corporation funded it with serious intent.

              • Reply July 11, 2014

                Yupeng Ji

                Can any of you recommend me a thread about iPhone amp? Looking for one to drive Roxanne.

                • Reply July 11, 2014

                  L.

                  Check the Duet. Dont forget a dac

            • Reply July 11, 2014

              dalethorn

              Addendum: We needn’t argue if we follow a rule. I’m always looking for a rule. I can appreciate how anyone would disagree with my opinion on something, but ….. you usually don’t follow me around (or I follow you around) and correct every opinion we don’t agree with. So I get the idea that this is different, and the reason you were so quick to express disagreement this time is because you can’t let my opinion to this new user go unchallenged for even a short time. So I’m trying to understand why that is. Is it because you’re convinced that there’s no such thing as cancellation? Or that I’m interpreting cancellation incorrectly? Or that I just imagined what I heard? Or is it because this project has some special importance that I’m potentially interfering with? The technical aspects of this regarding cancellation of waveforms was never resolved as far as I know.

    • Reply July 11, 2014

      L.

      Depends how much time and motivation you have. you could do it in a few hours

  • Reply September 30, 2014

    Nickjan Glas

    still stuck at silver at the moment. can’t seem to go past the mp3 artefacts. When I auditioned blind in a store last week I noticed the 320 kbs over the cd in seconds, but that was with a very good extensive setup. I guess I have to wait for the right equipment and in the meantime keep trying.

    • Reply September 30, 2014

      Headfonia_L.

      Keep going man!

    • Reply September 30, 2014

      dalethorn

      If you’ve heard enough of that song, then get the whole album by Claude Pelouse. The song ‘Candy’ is worth the price alone.

  • Reply January 15, 2015

    Nickjan Glas

    have had a couple month break, but just started again. currently at 93%, stuck at timbre at the moment,..will get there
    in the meanwhile some 4830 finished gold.

    • Reply January 15, 2015

      Headfonia_L.

      Keep it up!

    • Reply January 15, 2015

      dalethorn

      I bought the album (by Claude Pelouse).

      • Reply January 16, 2015

        Nickjan Glas

        Still not my favourite 😉 But I do have two vouchers for HD tracks from Canjam still laying here waiting to be spend. Probably something classical…

        • Reply January 16, 2015

          Headfonia_L.

          I can’t seem to find mine. I can suggest “ottmar liebert”

          • Reply January 16, 2015

            Nickjan Glas

            seems like a nice one indeed listening to the samples. I also like Gustavo Santaolalla. Also lots of guitar based, but with more orchestral. this one is not on hdtracks.

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