Differences in Performance and Preference of Trained versus Untrained Listeners in Loudspeaker Tests: A Case Study
Listening tests on four different loudspeakers were conducted over the course of 18 months using 36 different groups of listeners. The groups included 256 untrained listeners whose occupations fell into one of four categories: audio retailer, marketing and sales, professional audio reviewer, and college student. The loudspeaker preferences and performance of these listeners were compared to those of a panel of 12 trained listeners. Significant differences in performance, expressed in terms of the magnitude of the loudspeaker F statistic FL, were found among the different categories of listeners. The trained listeners were the most discriminating and reliable listeners, with mean FL values 3-27 times higher than the other four listener categories. Performance differences aside, loudspeaker preferences were generally consistent across all categories of listeners, providing evidence that the preferences of trained listeners can be safely extrapolated to a larger population. The highest rated loudspeakers had the flattest measured frequency response maintained uniformly off axis. Effects and interactions between training, programs, and loudspeakers are discussed.
Click to purchase paper or login as an AES member. If your company or school subscribes to the AES Journal then you can look for this paper in the institutional version of the Online Journal. If you are not an AES member and would like to subscribe to the E-Library then Join the AES!
This paper costs $20 for non-members, $5 for AES members and is free for E-Library subscribers.