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A Multidimensional Technique for Sound Quality Assessment

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One approach to improving sound quality is to create a preference map on the basis of several acoustic parameters relevant to auditory perception. The map is derived from several stages of subjective testing, acoustic analysis, and auditory modeling. The multidimensional scaling technique CLASCAL reveals common perceptual dimensions shared by sets of sounds samples, perceptual features specific to each sound, and the different subject classes among listeners. The listeners are asked to judge the degree of dissimilarity of all pairs of sounds on a continuous scale. The analysis gives a perceptual spatial representation of the sounds. From this analysis, acoustic and auditory modelling analyses can be performed to determine the stimulus parameters that are strongly correlated with different perceptual dimensions and, where possible, with the specific features. The next stage in the analysis involves determining the probability of one sound being preferred to another. An analysis of the data allows a projection of the structure of listeners' preferences onto the physical parameter space underlying the previously determined multidimensional perceptual space. In many cases, it is found that the physical parameters having the most effect on the listeners' preferences are dependent on the set of stimuli being compared. Furthermore, when one stimulus parameter is kept constant across trials, this may alter the effects of other parameters on the listeners' preferences. Therefore context effects must be taken into account in multidimensional sound quality analysis, particularly since the qualitative aspects of most sounds are clearly multidimensional.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 1999

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  • Acta Acustica united with Acustica, published together with the European Acoustics Association (EAA), is an international, peer-reviewed journal on acoustics. It publishes original articles on all subjects in the field of acoustics, such as general linear acoustics, nonlinear acoustics, macrosonics, flow acoustics, atmospheric sound, underwater sound, ultrasonics, physical acoustics, structural acoustics, noise control, active control, environmental noise, building acoustics, room acoustics, acoustic materials, acoustic signal processing, computational and numerical acoustics, hearing, audiology and psychoacoustics, speech, musical acoustics, electroacoustics, auditory quality of systems. It reports on original scientific research in acoustics and on engineering applications. The journal considers scientific papers, technical and applied papers, book reviews, short communications, doctoral thesis abstracts, etc. In irregular intervals also special issues and review articles are published.
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