A study of preferred listening environments among fifteen sound engineers illustrates the universal principle that “one size does not fit everyone.” By using the measured impulse responses of nine studio control rooms that were then encoded using the Spatial Decomposition Method, each space was simulated in an anechoic chamber with a 30-channel reproduction system. Preferences depended on the occupation of the sound engineer and on the nature of the song. While mixing engineers preferred acoustically dry environments with high clarity, mastering engineers preferred more reverberant environments with less clarity. Reverberation and clarity appear to be the dominant dimensions for preference. Extensive interviews with the subjects provided more nuanced explanations of how the sound engineers experience a listening space.
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