Amplitude compression is often used to match the dynamic range of music to a particular playback situation so as to ensure continuous audibility in a noisy environment. Since amplitude compression is a nonlinear process, it is potentially very damaging to sound quality. Three physical parameters of a feed-forward amplitude compression process were investigated for their influence on sound quality: the degree of compression, the time constant for sound reduction, and the time constant for sound enhancement. A subjective multidimensional comparison experiment suggested that only the two first names are prerceptually significant. By means of a multidimensional scaling test, optimum values were determined for these parameters in two simulated acoustic environments. Finally, these optimum values were tested with a variety of musical material.
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