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On the Influence of Headphone Quality in the Spatial Immersion Produced by Binaural Recordings

The binaural recordings obtained using an acoustic manikin produce a realistic sound immersion played through high quality headphones. However, most people commonly use headphones of inferior quality as the ones provided with smartphones or music players. Factors such as frequency response, distortion, and the disparity between the left-right transducers could be some of the degrading factors. This work lays the foundation for a strategy for studying what are the factors that affect the end result and what level do. A first experiment focuses on the analysis of how the disparity in levels between the two transducers affects the final result. A second test studies the influence of the frequency response. A third test analyzes the effects of distortion using a Volterra kernels scheme for the simulation of the distortion using convolutions. The results of this work reveal how disparity between both transducers can affect the perception of direction. In the case of frequency response the results are more difficult to quantify and further work will be necessary. Finally the study reveals that the distortion produced by the range of headphones tested does not affect to the perception of binaural sound.

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AES - Audio Engineering Society