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Identification of Discriminative Acoustic Dimensions in Stereo, Surround and 3D Music Reproduction

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This work is motivated by the question of whether different loudspeaker-based multichannel playback methods can be robustly characterized by measurable acoustic properties. For that, underlying acoustic dimensions were identified that allow for a discriminative sound field analysis within a music reproduction scenario. The subject of investigation is a set of different musical pieces available in different multichannel playback formats. Re-recordings of the stimuli at a listening position using a spherical microphone array enable a sound field analysis that includes, in total, 237 signal-based indicators in the categories of loudness, quality, spaciousness, and time. The indicators are fed to a factor and time series analysis to identify the most relevant acoustic dimensions that reflect and explain significant parts of the variance within the acoustical data. The results show that of the eight relevant dimensions, the dimensions "High-Frequency Diffusivity," "Elevational Diffusivity," and "Mid-Frequency Diffusivity" are capable of identifying statistically significant differences between the loudspeaker setups. The presented approach leads to plausible results that are in accordance with the expected differences between the loudspeaker configurations used. The findings may be used for a better understanding of the effects of different loudspeaker configurations on human perception and emotional response when listening to music.

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JAES Volume 71 Issue 7/8 pp. 420-430; July 2023
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AES - Audio Engineering Society