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A Qualitative Investigation of Soundbar Theory

This study investigated basic acoustic principals and assumptions that form the foundation of soundbar technology. A qualitative listening test compared 12 original soundscape scenes each comprising five stationary and two moving auditory elements. Subjects listened to a 5.1 reference scene and were asked to rate “spectral clarity and richness of sound,” “width and height,” and “immersion and envelopment” of stereophonic, soundbar, and 5.1 versions of each scene. ANOVA revealed a significant effect for all three systems. In all three attribute groups, stereophonic was rated lowest, followed by soundbar, then surround. Results suggest waveguide-based “soundbar technology” might provide a more immersive experience than stereo but will not likely be as immersive as true surround reproduction.

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AES - Audio Engineering Society