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Last Updated: 20060831, mei

Thursday, October 5, 4:30 pm — 6:30 pm


Tim Nind, Harman/Becker Automotive Systems - Bridgend, UK
Kristina Busenitz, Harman/Becker Automotive Systems - Bridgend, UK
David Clark, DLC Design - Wixom, MI, USA
Sean Olive, Harman International Industries, Inc. - Northridge, CA, USA
Francis Rumsey, University of Surrey - Guildford, Surrey, UK
Richard Stroud, Delphi Delco Electronics - Kokomo, IN, USA

In recent years there has been an increasing level of debate as to whether preference or reference investigations (for instance, fidelity tests) are most appropriate when evaluating the quality of automotive audio products.

With the aim of faithfully recreating an original audio event, many manufacturers turn to fidelity-testing as a means of establishing a (quasi-objective) measure of perceived audio quality. Although beneficial where an obvious reference exists (for example, when comparing a degraded sample with an unprocessed original), the rationale for conducting fidelity testing in automotive audio is less clear: What, for example, are the elements which constitute utmost fidelity in terms of automotive audio? Does a measure of audio quality (with respect to a known reference) provide the ultimate gauge of a successful automotive audio system? What do the numbers on a fidelity scale actually mean? In measuring the fidelity of an automotive reproduction, is there a danger of overlooking qualities in the sample that are different to the reference and yet potentially more pleasing to the listener? Would an indication of unstructured listener preference be more useful?
In considering the above questions, workshop panelists will reflect on the goals of automotive audio and how the attainment of these goals can be achieved using subjective methods. Following a brief introduction to the arguments and questions of interest, individual panelists will present their rationale for conducting fidelity or preference testing. Limitations to both methods will also be provided and research suggesting similarities between audio quality and preference will be summarized. The workshop will conclude with a brief discussion on why the question of what we should be measuring depends on our specific goals at the time. Methods for conducting the most appropriate test to fit the circumstances will be outlined at this stage.

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