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Hyper-Compression, Environmental Noise and Preferences for the Ear Bud Listening Experience

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The notion that compressed music performs more effectively in automobiles as a consequence of the background noise present has been widely accepted and particularly relevant to classical music with a very large dynamic range. The environmental noise can act as a masking agent that can interrupt the listening experience when sections of the music fall below the noise level. Similarly, it is assumed that the hyper-compression of contemporary popular music fulfills a similar function when using ear bud headphones in noisy environments. This study examines this assumption and can find no evidence to support the practice. It is suggested that contemporary music most likely does not have a sufficiently large enough dynamic range regardless to support its use in this instance.

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AES - Audio Engineering Society