What headphone response target does Waves NX expect?

I have been using NX Abbey Road 3 for listening to music, I love the spacious sound, however I don’t own any of the headphones in the EQ options. I was wondering, does the plugin expect a diffuse field headphone by default? Or is NX using a different target? I know there’s a lot of curves out there… would like to know so I can EQ the output for my own headphones with more certainty.

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I can’t speak for Waves but I think their intention is for the NX series of plugins to work with any headphones. Obviously the better your headphones the better the results, but it would just make sense that they built the product to work with a broad spectrum of headphones.

The built in EQ curves are good if you like them. You can also use other headphone correction after NX if you want, or even your own EQ.

If you like Abbey Road Studio be sure to give Ocean Way and CLA NX a try, too. Those are my personal favorites of the NX series.

Thanks for the response! Might try those ocean way and CLA plugins.

I still don’t fully understand though.

I understand that most importantly, the plugin adds the impulse response of the speakers + control room + HRTF…

And with headphone EQ, after adding the room impulse response, it should theoretically (approximately) remove the LTI headphone impulse response after that… which the headphone obviously adds back in, resulting in a sort of bypass of the headphone (in an ideal world), and only giving you the room sound. Is my understanding correct?

I assume they measured the impulse response of Abbey Road studio and the headphone with the same D ummy head, or carefully considered anty mismatch while designing it.

Unfortunately I don’t have any of the headphones on the list. So I was wondering what the “None” option represents in terms of EQ. An “average” headphone of some sort? A diffuse field response? Or flat SPL?.. Or does it simply add the impulse response of the room as measured by their setup without any consideration of what the headphone is going to do on top of that?

Knowing this would help me know how I should EQ my headphones!

Does the headphone EQ feature even work the way I described it? I feel like that would make the most sense. Or was it maybe just an afterthought without much in-depth consideration?

Yeah the idea of the headphone profiles is to effectively counteract their tonal footprint on the audio, leaving just the sound of the monitoring system and the room, as you were saying.

It won’t be perfect, but it will be very close to putting you in the actual room yourself, provided there’s nothing funky going on with your headphones and you have the tracking engaged.

Interestingly, we don’t really need headphone curves as after spending a while listening to a set of speakers or headphones our ears effectively regard what they’re hearing as the new “flat” baseline. So if you spend all day listing to dark and dull speakers the moment you listen to a good set of flat response speakers they will suddenly sound bright and possibly harsh until they reacclimatise to those.

So as long as you have a decent monitoring system in a decent space that you are very familiar with you should be able to make good mix judgements, providing you have context. In practice, this really means having a good set of references and a few different monitoring devices will give your ears this context and more information which you can base your decisions on.

While headphone profiles aren’t really that critical, having the different NX monitoring spaces will help inform you.Though, the addition of the headphone profiles are definitely the icing on the cake.

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Interestingly, we don’t really need headphone curves as after spending a while listening to a set of speakers or headphones our ears effectively regard what they’re hearing as the new “flat” baseline.

That’s good to know. And yeah that explains a lot.

By the way, do you know if these plugins do anything other than impulse response? Like simulating speaker distortion?

(I’m guessing not, as headphones distort already)

Yeah, the head tracking is very important as it’s that information that the NX plugins use to manipulate our brain into thinking its in the actual location.

It’s not so much about the sound moving around as we move our heads, but its how our ears perceive space by all our little micro movements. It’s the constant feedback between our movements and working with them in the NX virtual environment is what will put your head inside the studio space. You’ll notice that if you turn off the tracking, the image becomes more flat and 2 dimensional.

Without that information NX is just a glorified convolution reverb as you suspect.