'Surround synthesis' algorithms are designed to process ordinary 2-channel stereo signals for reproduction over a larger number of loudspeakers, delivering enhanced spatial characteristics. A series of controlled subjective tests was carried out to determine the front imaging and spatial impression qualities of processed material, using conventional unmatrixed 2-channel program material as a source. Compatibility with the 2-channel original was assessed and listener preference was established. Results suggest that in general the front image quality is reduced and the spatial impression slightly improved by processing, and that expert listeners tend to prefer unprocessed material to that which has been processed.
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