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Subjectively Perceived Sound Quality in Audio Systems as a Function of Distribution and Number of Loudspeakers Used in Playback

Many home stereo systems are currently being upgraded to some form of surround sound systems in order to obtain a better listening experience. It is obvious that the sound quality: obtained in the use of such systems depends on the quality of the speakers as well as the: properties of the room. In this paper results are presented from a pilot study on the: subjective preference of non-linear distortion versus playback mode of conventional stereo: recordings. An auralization approach to the evaluation of distortion characteristics of: loudspeakers has been used for the first time. Sound files have been created which were: subject to three different distortion generating non-linearities. The resulting sound files: were then convolved by the proper impulse responses of a simulated anechoic room and a: simulated living room using three different loudspeaker configurations. The resulting: binaural signals were played back via low distortion electrostatic headphones in listening: tests in order to investigate the relationship between distortion and spatial distribution of: sound. Results indicate that some non-linear distortion is preferred and that surround sound: allows less stringent distortion requirements for the loudspeakers than mono or stereo.

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