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Open AccessArticle

AMBIQUAL: Towards a Quality Metric for Headphone Rendered Compressed Ambisonic Spatial Audio

1
School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Technological University Dublin, D08 NF82 Dublin 8, Ireland
2
Chrome Media, Google, San Francisco, CA 94105, USA
3
School of Computer Science, University College Dublin, D04 N2E5 Dublin 4, Ireland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(9), 3188; https://doi.org/10.3390/app10093188
Received: 4 April 2020 / Revised: 29 April 2020 / Accepted: 30 April 2020 / Published: 3 May 2020
Spatial audio is essential for creating a sense of immersion in virtual environments. Efficient encoding methods are required to deliver spatial audio over networks without compromising Quality of Service (QoS). Streaming service providers such as YouTube typically transcode content into various bit rates and need a perceptually relevant audio quality metric to monitor users’ perceived quality and spatial localization accuracy. The aim of the paper is two-fold. First, it is to investigate the effect of Opus codec compression on the quality of spatial audio as perceived by listeners using subjective listening tests. Secondly, it is to introduce AMBIQUAL, a full reference objective metric for spatial audio quality, which derives both listening quality and localization accuracy metrics directly from the B-format Ambisonic audio. We compare AMBIQUAL quality predictions with subjective quality assessments across a variety of audio samples which have been compressed using the Opus 1.2 codec at various bit rates. Listening quality and localization accuracy of first and third-order Ambisonics were evaluated. Several fixed and dynamic audio sources (single and multiple) were used to evaluate localization accuracy. Results show good correlation regarding listening quality and localization accuracy between objective quality scores using AMBIQUAL and subjective scores obtained during listening tests. View Full-Text
Keywords: virtual reality; spatial audio; Ambisonics; audio coding; audio compression; Opus codec; MUSHRA; audio quality; QoE virtual reality; spatial audio; Ambisonics; audio coding; audio compression; Opus codec; MUSHRA; audio quality; QoE
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Narbutt, M.; Skoglund, J.; Allen, A.; Chinen, M.; Barry, D.; Hines, A. AMBIQUAL: Towards a Quality Metric for Headphone Rendered Compressed Ambisonic Spatial Audio. Appl. Sci. 2020, 10, 3188.

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