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Audibility of Lossy Compressed Musical Instrument Tones

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The aim of the conducted study was to evaluate differences in the audibility of different instruments by three commonly used lossy codecs. Seven instrument tones were compressed using MP3-LAME, Vorbis, and Opus to determine how the detection of compressed sounds varies with bit rate, instrument, and compression formats. Audibility of lossy compression was examined on six naïve subjects during 60 hours of listening. At the bit rate of 32 kbps the compressed signals were easily discriminable with significant differences between subjects. With magnifying the bit rate audibility decreased, the signal becoming inaudible at 64–96 kbps. Discrimination varied significantly from instrument to instrument.

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AES - Audio Engineering Society