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Pros and cons of artificial head and ambisonics recordings and reproductions used in design processes

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Artificial head recording and subsequent headphone reproduction have become standard procedures in the automotive sound design process. They are also used in other areas of product sound design and architectural sound design. With an artificial head recording a headphone sound reproduction will be true to life if the listener keeps the head still. Ambisonics recordings capture directional information of the recorded sound field. The ambisonics recording can be binaurally rendered by filtering through Head Related Transfer Functions or rendered for surround sound loudspeaker setups. This study compared artificial head recordings with first order ambisonics recordings. Four conditions, artificial head recording with headphone reproduction, ambisonics recording with headphone reproduction, ambisonics recording reproduced with head tracking headphones (VR), and ambisonics recording with 7.1.4 surround sound reproduction, were compared in a listening test. Stimuli were recorded in public spaces (a restaurant and two lecture halls). The reproductions were compared with respect to perceived pleasantness, listening effort, and realism. The results showed small differences between headphone reproduced artificial head recordings and reproductions based on ambisonics recordings. Therefore, the use of ambisonics recordings could be considered for future sound quality studies and sound design work.

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AES - Audio Engineering Society