This study investigates the importance of both the auditory and visual modalities when evaluating subjective quality. Bimodal experiments comprising audiovisual and unimodal presentations were used to explore the interaction between modalities. Audio stimuli of varied degradation were coupled with both actual loudspeakers of different visual appearance and scaled photographs of the same loudspeakers. As would be expected, the factor audio had the strongest influence on quality in the audiovisual session. However, in visual only presentations, the factor visual was statistically significant. This indicates that when presented in isolation, the differences between the visual stimuli are perceived clearly and are judged to be substantial but become obscure in the presence of audio stimuli. From a product design perspective, the results suggest that the modalities are independent and that a change in subjective quality in either modality would combine linearly.
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