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Perceptual Quality Improvement and Assessment for Virtual Bass Systems

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Because of size limitation and cost constraints, small loudspeakers cannot efficiently reproduce the sound in the low-frequency range, resulting in poor bass perception and a lack of strong rhythms. A psychoacoustic bass enhancement system, known as the virtual bass system (VBS), enhances the perception of bass reproduced by small loudspeakers by tricking the human auditory system into perceiving bass that does not physically exit. A VBS is based on the psychoacoustic phenomenon called the missing fundamental effect, wherein the higher harmonics of the fundamental frequency can produce the sensation of the fundamental frequency. However, these harmonics can result in perceived distortion. This report describes two techniques to improve the audio quality of the VBS, including an improved hybrid VBS and the timbre matching weighting. Objective and subjective tests are presented to compare the performance of the proposed and the conventional VBS techniques.

JAES Volume 63 Issue 11 pp. 900-913; November 2015
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AES - Audio Engineering Society