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Loudness Matching Multichannel Audio Program Material with Listeners and Predictive Models

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Loudness measurements are often necessary in psychoacoustic research and legally required in broadcasting. However, existing loudness models have not been widely tested with new multichannel audio systems. A trained listening panel used the method of adjustment to balance the loudness of eight reproduction methods: low-quality mono, mono, stereo, 5-channel, 9-channel, 22-channel, ambisonic cuboid, and headphones. Seven program items were used, including music, sport, and a film soundtrack. The results were used to test loudness models including simple energy-based metrics, variants of ITU-R BS.1770, and complex psychoacoustically motivated models. The mean differences between the perceptual results and model predictions were statistically insignificant for all but the simplest model. However, some weaknesses in the model predictions were highlighted.

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