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Evaluation of Spatial Enhancement Systems for Stereo Headphone Reproduction by Preference and Attribute Rating

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The quality of spatial enhancement systems for stereo headphone reproduction is investigated with three different methods. Five musical programs were processed with eighteen algorithms representing different approaches to spatial enhancement for headphones. A preference test was designed to assess the comparative performance of these systems with respect to an unprocessed stereo reference. A sensory profiling experiment was also performed to explore the perceptual characteristics of sound reproduced over headphones. A panel of twelve listeners developed sixteen attributes and used these descriptive scales to evaluate a subset of eight algorithms for three of the musical programs. Finally, several objective measures were applied to all test stimuli in order to study differences between the spatial enhancement systems. Results of the three studies are analysed and compared in this paper.

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