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Heyser Lecture

AES Amsterdam 2008
Master Class M2

Monday, May 19, 14:30 — 16:00

Jens Blauert, Institute of Communication Acoustics - Bochum, Germany

The lecture presents a fundamental consideration of the nature of sound quality and offers ways for structuring different aspects of it. It aims at making audio engineers more aware of the various components and complex processes involved in the formation of sound-quality judgments. Thinking of sound quality means thinking of percepts, which brings subjectivity to the fore. To deal with subjectivity scientifically, the first part of the lecture will present a line of epistemological arguments that is stringently based on actual perception and not on fiction. In this way, the place and role of subjectivity in acoustics and audio engineering will be determined. To further elucidate the formation process of sound quality, the second part of the talk starts with the introduction of the character of sounds and then moves on to different aspects of sound quality , starting from sound quality (as such) through sound-transmission quality and auditory-scene quality to product-sound quality. A generalized, system-oriented approach toward sound-quality evaluation is thereupon presented. Finally, the third part of the talk deals exemplarily with sound quality in spaces for musical performances. The question of proper references turns out to be crucial for any further analysis. Consequently, efforts are taken to explore and assess these references systematically. To this end, a hierarchical order for references, based on the amount of abstraction, is proposed and discussed in some detail. Issues like typicalness, functional adequacy, aesthetic form, and tradition are touched upon.

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