Of course, but that’s not what I meant. What a reference-grade headphone is meant to do is to represent sound with as little coloration as possible - where it’s me or anybody on this planet, any added coloration or alteration of sound is a fact - not something that is dependent on an individual. We all perceive sound differently, but the manufacturer is probably aiming for something when they decide to make a product, if they are making a reference-grade headphone, they probably have in mind for it to be safely used in studios.
Instead of reminding them, I just go on to carefully explain what I hear, usually with help of reference tracks and detailed minute stamps that explain the exact element I am referring to. I am not one of those people who tries to explain what they hear with descriptive words. There are too many reviews who just say “it’s bright”… how in the world am I supposed to interpret what is “bright” for you…? This is why I carefully explain where I hear “sparkle” or other sound elements. The biggest problem is people writing meaningless words (because they don’t explain a single one of them), this means that the written material is only valid to the person who wrote it, aka the writer. If you write that a headphone has “nice bass”, or it’s “fast”, you did not explain what any of those terms mean, nor where you heard those qualities. Btw when I say “you”, I am referring to people who write like that (>95% of reviewers). This is why I am trying to find an appropriate way to judge these headphones, because they are made to be relied on representing the sound “truly”. And I’m pretty sure you know that reference-grade aren’t made to sound good (audiophile headphones are), but rather to sound true and without the coloration that is present in audiophile-grade headphoes. All I’m trying to figure out is how to test how “true” do they sound.
In terms of your suggestions, I don’t know how well I will be able to use them. How will I be able to tell if there is any coloration? This is something that I would only be able to do if I “knew” (my perception) of how each of these tones and frequencies sounded like. Then I would be able to recognize if any of the tones/freq’s was boosted or decreased. Usually musicians have an instrument and can hear if there is any alteration to the sound of it, but then again… factors like microphone play a role in this coloration too. It is definitely a much more difficult task to be able to tell somebody if a reference-grade headphone is reference… like how do you do it? Coloration can easily have a very very negative impact - if you are a music producer, and you are making a song using a “reference-grade” headphone that has boosted bass, only you will hear this boosted bass coloration, thus the headphone is not reliable to be used as a reference - what will happen is that you will produce a song with less bass than it appears (because it appears that there is bass, while it’s actually just the coloration from the headphones). I hope you get what my goal and aim is.
I would greatly appreciate to hear you out on this. In both scenarios people are using their ears to listen - with speakers there are so many factors that play a major role in how they sound (room acoustics, density of walls, room arrangement, soundproofing, speaker placement, and many more), while headphones don’t suffer from any of those, they sit on everybody’s head and only things like sources can truly affect their sound. So with headphones the only thing that should be present is someones perception of sound, while with speakers not only is there also perception of sound present (perception of sound is how every person individually perceives sound), but also so many other factors that can further affect that perception (I stated some of these factors above). So I’m very interested to hear the deeper explanation as to how speakers sound the same to everybody (you didn’t say this directly, but this is what I concluded from “people literally hear headphones differently from each other”, I could’ve misunderstood you)