The perceived sound quality of small loudspeaker systems with and without digital optimization was empirically evaluated in a listening experiment. Further, it was investigated how the presentation order in the performed paired comparisons influenced the results, as well as whether a self-evaluation was of potential use for variance reduction. The systems were optimized by means of FIR filters. The two versions of each loudspeaker system were rated in a paired comparison test for music stimuli. For the purpose of analysis a linear Gaussian model was applied, resulting in an interval scale revealing interesting information about certainty and discrimination ability of the listeners. The test investigated whether linear pre-compensation of small and inexpensive loudspeaker systems results in a significant improvement of the perceived audio quality in a typical listening situation. The results indicated a significant preference for the optimized version and a significant dependency on the presentation order was detected. The self-evaluation was found to be uncorrelated to the test results.
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