Three flat-panel loudspeakers and two conventional loudspeakers were evaluated in a blind listening test. Two of the flat-panel loudspeakers used in the test were prototypes employing both array-based excitation methods and constrained viscoelastic damping to eliminate modal resonant peaks in the mechanical response of the vibrating surface. The remaining flat-panel speaker was a commercially available unit. A set of 21 listeners reported average preference ratings of 7.00/10 and 6.81/10 for the conventional loudspeakers, 6.48/10 and 5.90/10 for the prototype flat-panel loudspeakers, and 2.24/10 for the commercial flat-panel speaker. The results are consistent with those given by a predictive model for listener preference rating, suggesting that designs aimed at smoothing the mechanical response of the panel lead to improved preference ratings.
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