As miniDSP explains, the new EARS brings headphone measurement capability to "the masses." It's an extremely affordable measurement rig for headphones and IEMs, built using the same technology as miniDSP's popular UMIK-1 calibrated measurement microphone, which can be used in multiple ways, including as a binaural microphone with USB audio streaming.
Each pair of miniDSP EARS has two low noise omni-directional microphone capsules mounted in a minimal "dummy head". Measurement output is via the driverless USB connection. The EARS are powered from the USB so there is no need for an external power supply. To measure headphones, users just need to mount their headphones on the rig and run a measurement sweep using their headphone amp and favorite measurement program (e.g. Room EQ Wizard).
With each EARS, miniDSP supplies two calibration files - one for large headphones and one for IEM (in ear) - that correct for the response of the microphone capsule and the ear. This makes the miniDSP EARS a perfect tool for creating EQ filters for the also-new miniDSP HA-DSP headphone amplifier or for any other headphone system with EQ capability.
As the company details, combined with the new HA-DSP headphone amplifier, miniDSP allows users to explore headphone equalization and tuning. With the miniDSP EARS users will be able to apply FIR/IIR filters to equalize the response and measure the results, leveraging the amazing DSP capabilities of the HA-DSP headphone amplifier. Available for $325 USD, this new portable device from miniDSP supports PCM and DSD streaming, and features a 500MHz XMOS XCORE200 multicore processor, and a floating point ADSP21489 400MHz SHARC DSP, allowing ten fully programmable parametric EQ bands per channel, and a FIR filtering/cross-feed matrix that allows implementation of extremely sophisticated headphone correction and cross-feed algorithms.
Providing three inputs (USB/Analog/Toslink), the miniDSP HA-DSP not only supports computers, iOS, and Android devices as audio sources in a lightweight and compact enclosure, with a 3300 mAh battery (ten hours) built-in. The DAC section features a 32-bit ESS ES9018K2M Sabre32 reference chip. This creates a perfect platform to combine with the new Earphone Audio Response System, allowing to measure directly the result of any digital processing applied to its output.
The EARS system is a simple USB Audio class 1.0 device that doesn't require any interface to be connected with Windows, Mac or Linux computers, allowing the use of any measurement software. EARS is currently on pre-order for just $159 USD and miniDSP confirms shipments of first units to start end of November 2017. The miniDSP HA-DSP headphone amplifier is now shipping.