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Just Noticeable Difference for Dynamic Range Compression via "Limiting" of a Stereophonic Mix

This study focused on the ability of listeners to discern the presence of dynamic range compression (DRC) when applied to a stereo recording. Past studies have primarily focused on listener preferences for stereophonic master recordings with varying levels of DRC. A modified two-down one-up adaptive test presented subjects with an increasingly “limited” stereophonic mix to determine the 70.7% response threshold. Results of this study suggest that DRC settings considered “normal” in recorded music production may be imperceptible when playback levels are loudness-matched. Outcomes of this experiment indicate the use of so-called “limiting” for commercial purposes, such as signal chain control, may have no influence on perceived quality; whereas, uses for perceived aesthetic advantages should be reconsidered.

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AES - Audio Engineering Society