Well executed listening tests often require a great deal of time and resources for the creation or acquisition of appropriate stimuli, design of a testing interface, selection of subjects, and implementation of the experiment in an environment that is acoustically and technologically appropriate. The use of experienced, trained, or practiced subjects in listening tests has been shown in numerous previous studies to allow for a reduction in the number of subjects necessary to gather consistent, meaningful data. This study examined the effect of audio production experience, musical training, technical ear training, age, and previous experience listening to 3D music recordings on listener performance within the context of 3D audio evaluation. The results showed: (a) audio production was the most valuable type of previous experience for predicting listener consistency in making preference or ranking judgments; (b) music training was also found to be a good predictor of subject consistency; (c) technical ear training and previous experience hearing 3D music recordings had no influence on listener consistency; and (d) subjects in their early to mid 30s appear to occupy an optimal age range in terms of ability to focus on the types of listening test tasks described in this study. Stimuli used in this study were limited to orchestral music.
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