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The Effect of Loop Length and Musical Material on Discrimination Between MP3 and WAV Files

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Listening test results generally show that for bit-rates higher than 128 kbps listeners can rarely distinguish between MP3 and WAV files with any statistical significance while many audio professionals agree it is possible. This project attempts to explain some of the reasons why typical AB and ABX tests often fail by looking at the effects of loop length and music choice on listener success. An informal take-home AB listening test was used with varying musical material and music looping at different lengths. The results show that performance drops significantly with short loop lengths (<2sec, p = .02) and that the participants were able to discriminate between these two different file formats with great significance (p < .001).

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