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Overall listening experience for binaurally reproduced audio

This work formulates a simple experiment to examine listener preference for binaurally recorded music reproduced via headphones in three different formats: mono, stereo and surround. This paradigm introduces a framework that can associate prior listener preferences to the music content (referred to as cognitive factor) to perceptual factors associated with its presentation format, here due to the different Envelopment perceived by the listener for each of the three reproduction systems. A test procedure was employed to register the individual listener preference and perceived Envelopment for different music samples, presented in these alternative spatial audio systems. A simple empirical perceptual model for predicting with high accuracy the Envelopment of each sample is proposed, using features extracted directly from the binaural signal. Utilizing the listener preference for the stereo reproduced samples and incorporating the output of the above perceptual model, a linear model is implemented which can accurately predict the individual listener preference for samples reproduced via the other two tested systems, i.e. for mono and surround. At present, additional affective factors which can also contribute towards listener preference have not been considered. However, the proposed model achieves high accuracy for predicting individualized preference, showing also that the cognitive factors are dominant on listener preference decisions whilst a lesser impact was registered by the perceptual factors introduced by the audio system.

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AES - Audio Engineering Society