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In-Vehicle Audio System Sound Quality Preference Study

In-vehicle audio systems present a unique listening environment. Listeners were asked to adjust the relative bass and treble levels as well as fade and balance levels based on preference on three music programs reproduced through a high quality in-vehicle audio system. The audio system frequency response was initially tuned to a frequency spectrum similar to that preferred for in-room loudspeakers. The fade control was initially set to give a frontal image with some rear envelopment using two different rear speaker locations, rear deck and rear door, while the balance control was set to give a center image between the center of the steering wheel and rearview mirror. Stage height was located on top of the instrument panel (head level). Results showed that on average listeners preferred +13 dB bass and –2 dB treble compared to a flat response while fade was +3.5 dB rearward for rear deck mounted speakers,+2.6 dB rearward for rear door mounted, and balance was 0 dB. Significant variations between individual listeners were observed.

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