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Categorization of Broadcast Audio Objects in Complex Auditory Scenes

Because object-based audio is becoming an important framework for the representation of complex sound scenes, this research describes a series of experiments to determine a categorization framework for broadcast audio objects. Categorization is a fundamental human strategy for reducing cognitive load, and knowledge of these categories should be beneficial for the development of perceptually based representations and rendering strategies for object-based audio. In this study, 21 expert and non-expert listeners took part in a free card sorting task using audio objects from a variety of different types of program material. Hierarchical agglomerative clustering suggests that there are 7 general categories, which relate to sounds indicating actions and movement, continuous background sound, transient background sound, clear speech, non-diegetic music and effects, sounds indicating the presence of people, and prominent attention-grabbing transient sounds. A three-dimensional perceptual space calculated via multidimensional scaling suggests that these categories vary along the dimensions of semantic content, continuous-transient, and presence-absence of people. The position of an audio object along the dimensions of the perceptual space relates to its perceived importance.

Open Access


JAES Volume 64 Issue 6 pp. 380-394; June 2016
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AES - Audio Engineering Society