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The Influence of Stereophonic Width on the Perceived Quality of an Audiovisual Presentation Using a Multichannel Sound System

Most audiovisual program materials are produced with the intention that the audio information from the front direction should originate from the same area in space as the video information. However, the domestic multichannel system using a television set will not be able to fulfill this requirement, and this could be expected to lower the quality of spatial reproduction. The purpose of the present experiments has thus been to study the influence of the stereophonic width on the perceived quality of an audiovisual reproduction using a multichannel sound system. The influence of the stereophonic width was expected to be dependent on a number of factors. Of these, the following were examined: low-frequency reproduction, listening position, program material, and reproduction level. The experiments were conducted in a standardized environment using a standardized 3/1 loudspeaker setup, including a television set. A pilot experiment was conducted to test various experimental procedures and subjective questions. Two audiovisual programs and one audio-only program were used, and six subjects assessed the quality of the spatial impression. The results of the pilot experiment showed that the paired-comparison procedure should be used for the main experiment. The results also showed that the quality of spatial impression increases linearly with an increase in the stereophonic width. The main experiment confirmed the findings of the pilot experiment for stereophonic width and, in addition, showed that reproduction level, listening position, and program material were significant factors for either both types of program material of the audio-only material alone.


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