The Hidden Meaning | headphone certification logos (Pt 1)
Headphones have become a necessity for most of us. Whether it’s on the road, during a commute, or during a workout, they are everywhere.
This rise in demand has also seen a parallel increase in certification which has only served to confuse consumers. Today, we decipher the mysterious certification logos printed on your headphone packaging.
Generally, the highest certification level; we see this on many headphones created by brand giant, Sony.
Also known as "High Resolution Audio", this is a high-quality audio product standard that Sony has developed and defined. It certifies high-end music and original sound reproduction.
Sony gives its own definition: "Sound quality higher than 44.1kHz / 16bit (CD quality) with 192kHz / 24bit or higher resolution, that is, the sampling rate is higher than 44.1KHz, the bit depth is deeper than 16 bits."
Simply put: better sound quality performance. The higher the sampling rate, the more accurate the sound description and revivification.
Hi-Res standard Headphone examples:
Sony's own MDR-Z7 high-fidelity headphones are certified as Hi-Res standard headphones. Other examples: Philips Fidelio headphones, Xiaomi dynamic-coil headphones and other brand, e.g. Onkyo and Audio-Technica.
AAC (Advanced Audio Coding)
Not an actual real standard, AAC is a high-level audio encoding format. Originally developed by Fraunhofer IIS, Dolby Laboratory, AT&T, Sony and other companies.
Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) uses a totally new algorithm for efficient encoding and smaller file sizes compared to standard MP3. While sound quality is not compromised, this format is still a "lossy format", so there is a quality gap compared to lossless formats such as the popular APE and FLAC.
AAC is compatible with a large number of smart devices and headphones; the logo on packaging illustrates the headset supports the AAC format.
THX certification from Lucasfilm
Familiar with anybody who has ever watched the "Star Wars" series of films, LHX certification from Lucasfilm signifies exceptional sound performance.
THX's full name is Tomlinson Holman eXperiment, this is different from DTS or Dolby Digital audio format. A formal certification, it is mainly used in home theater equipment.
This well-regarded surround sound standard (developed by Lucasfilm) improves on the Dolby Pro Logic Surround system, further enhancing the surround sound effect.
To qualify for certification, the THX standard has a set of stringent requirements for replay equipment such as audio and video sources, amplifiers, speakers and even connecting wires. Only when the specific criteria have been met will THX certification be awarded.
Even higher certification standards – THX Ultra, THX Select and THX Ultra2 – exist and each can be regarded as upgraded versions of THX.
Traditionally used for loudspeaker certification, THX certification is now applied to headphones. Up to now, only a few headphones available on the market have been THX certified – instead, this certification is mainly used to assess cinema theaters and loudspeakers.
Apt-X – mainstream lossless Bluetooth protocol
Apt-X is a lossless wireless transmission protocol used by many Bluetooth wireless headphones.
Apt-X is a digital audio compression algorithm based on sub-band ADPCM (SB-ADPCM) technology – originally used in the field of professional audio and broadcasting. However, with the rapid development of wireless Bluetooth technology, especially headphones, many are adopting the apt-x Bluetooth protocol because of low latency, good fault tolerance, high sound quality and other advantages.
Now more and more Bluetooth headsets on the market use this protocol which can reach up to 48kHz sampling rate. For example, Meizu's latest Bluetooth EP-51 headphones.
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|The hidden meaning | headphone certification logos (Pt 2)|
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