Subjective quality is a critical indicator of the suitability of bit-rate reduction codecs for digital audio contribution/distribution applications. Accordingly, a formal double-blind test was conducted to evaluate the subjective quality of a contribution/distribution cascade (eight Dolby E audio codecs in tandem), both separately and when combined with three standardized stereo emission codecs. In this test, the contribution/distribution cascade exceeded the ITU-R basic audio quality requirements for broadcast applications. The results further indicate that when using the contribution/distribution cascade in tandem with any one of the emission codecs, audio quality is effectively limited by the emission codec alone. The test methodologies conformed to Recommendation ITU-R BS.1116, and hence represent an estimate of worst-case performance.
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