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Can We Hear The Difference? Testing the Audibility of Artifacts in High Bit Rate MP3 Audio

A new type of listening test for testing very small impairments in audio systems is proposed using audio engineer participants and a mix matching task based approach. A pilot test was conducted in an attempt to reveal perceptual differences between WAV (44.1 k-16 bit) and MP3 (256 kbps) encodings of the same musical material. The participant mixing data was analyzed and trends in the data generally coincide with the hypotheses. Several factors were also found that can influence participant accuracy and speed in completing this type of test: age, experience (production, musical, listening test), and preferred genre for audio work.

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AES - Audio Engineering Society