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Realism and Immersion in the Reproduction of Audio-Visual Recordings for Urban Soundscape Evaluation

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Within the framework of the Urban Soundscapes of the World project, a comprehensive database of high quality immersive audio-visual recordings is being collected at various urban locations worldwide. The recordings combine 360-degree video, for presentation using a head-mounted display, with spatial audio, including binaural and first order ambisonics. Recording sites are being selected trough a perception-based protocol that consists of an online questionnaire conducted among panels of local experts, leading to a range of urban sites with a wide variety of soundscapes. This paper reports on the results of two immersive perception experiments, conducted using a subset of the audio-visual recordings already in the database. In the first experiment, the audio-visual recordings are assessed in terms of pleasantness and eventfulness of the soundscape, allowing to validate the perception based site selection protocol. In the second experiment, both binaural and first order ambisonics spatial audio techniques are assessed in terms of the degree of realism and immersion they provide, for the different types of urban soundscapes considered. The results of these benchmark listening tests will steer the design of future experiments on the effect of soundscape interventions and on the effect of inter-cultural differences on soundscape perception.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Ghent University

Publication date: December 18, 2018

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