This study investigates into the perceptual consequence of phase change in conventional magnitude-based source separation. A listening test was conducted, where the participants compared three different source separation scenarios, each with two phase retrieval cases: phase from the original mix or from the target source. The participants’ responses regarding their similarity to the reference showed that (1) the difference between the mix phase and the perfect target phase was perceivable in the majority of cases with some song-dependent exceptions, and (2) use of the mix phase degraded the perceived quality even in the case of perfect magnitude separation. The findings imply that there is room for perceptual improvement by attempting correct phase reconstruction in addition to achieving better magnitude-based separation.
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