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Use of the Magnitude Estimation Technique in Reference-Free Assessments of Spatial Audio Technology

Magnitude estimation is a technique developed in psychophysics research in which participants numerically estimate the relative strengths of a sequence of stimuli along a relevant dimension. Traditionally, the method has been used to measure basic perceptual phenomena in different sensory modalities (e.g., "brightness," "loudness"). We present two examples of using magnitude estimation in the domain of audio rendering for different categories of consumer electronics devices. Importantly, magnitude estimation doesn’t require a reference stimulus and can be used to assess general ("audio quality") and domain-specific (e.g., "spaciousness") attributes. Additionally, we show how this data can be used together with objective measurements of the tested systems in a model that can predict performance of systems not included in the original assessment.

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AES - Audio Engineering Society