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Evaluation of Spatial Audio Reproduction Methods (Part 2): Analysis of Listener Preference

A paired-comparison preference rating experiment was performed in combination with a free-elicitation task for eight reproduction methods (consumer and professional systems with a wide range of expected quality) and seven program items (representative of potential broadcast material). The experiment was performed by groups of experienced and inexperienced listeners. Both groups preferred systems with increased spatial content; nine- and five-channel systems were most preferred. The use of elicited attributes was analyzed alongside the preference ratings, resulting in an approximate hierarchy of attribute importance. Three attributes (amount of distortion, output quality, and bandwidth) were found to be important for differentiating systems where there was a large preference difference; sixteen were always important (most notably enveloping and horizontal width); and seven were used alongside small preference differences. Although the presence of more spatial content increases preference, adding loudspeaker channels does not necessarily give a corresponding increase in preference.

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JAES Volume 65 Issue 3 pp. 212-225; March 2017
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AES - Audio Engineering Society