Influence of the Quality of Consumer Headphones in the Perception of Spatial Audio
Hypothesis and Planning of the Study
2. Headphones Measurements and Virtual Headphone Simulation
2.1. Headphone Selection
- REF, Reference, Sennheiser HD800 headphone (open and circumaural)
- HQop, High Quality open headphone (circumaural)
- MQcl, Medium Quality closed headphone (circumaural)
- BDso, Big Diaphragm semi-open headphone (circumaural)
- LCmul, Low Cost multimedia headphone (supra-aural)
- AirL, Airline headphone (supra-concha)
- Woh, Wireless open headphone (circumaural)
- LCmul2, Low Cost multimedia headphone 2 (supra-aural)
2.2. Frequency Responses Measures
2.3. Headphones Frequency Response Simulation
2.4. Non-Linear Distortion Simulations
2.5. Binaural Room Impulse Responses Measurements
3. Test 1. Sensitivity Disparity between Left-Right Transducers
3.1. Test Description
4. Test 2. Frequency Response about Quality and Spatial Impressions
4.1. Test Description
5. Test 3. Non-Linear Distortion
5.1. Test Description
6. Test 4. Frequency Response about Azimuth Localization
6.1. Test Description
- The sensitivity disparities between left and right transducers affect the localization of sound sources, starting from level differences of 1 dB.
- The quality and uniformity of the frequency response have an important influence in the spatial impression.
- Additionally, the spatial impression has a high correlation with the subjective perceived quality.
- The binaural recordings do not obtain significant better results for the parameter spatial impression compared to two-channel stereo mixes.
- The distortion introduced by consumer level low quality headphones does not affect the perception of the spatial sound image.
- It has been ratified that much front-back confusion is produced, both for high and low quality headphones.
- We found that irregularities of the frequency response in the band of 100 to 1600 Hz seem to especially affect the front-back discrimination.
- We also found that a poor response in the band of 4 to 7 kHz degrades the accuracy in lateral position localization.
Conflicts of Interest
Analysis of Variance
Binaural Room Impulse Responses
Sound Pressure Level dB
Fast Fourier Transform
Graphical User Interface
Head and Torso Simulator
Interaural Level Difference
Interaural Time Difference
International Telecommunication Union, recommendation by Radiocommunication sector
Low Pass Filter
Matrix Laboratory, MathWorks software
MUltiple Stimuli with Hidden Reference and Anchor
Original film Soundtrack
Vector Base Amplitude Panning
Wave Field Synthesis
- Pulkki, V. Virtual sound source positioning using vector base amplitude panning. J. Audio Eng. Soc. 1997, 45, 456–466. [Google Scholar]
- Berkhout, A.; de Vries, D. Acoustic control by wave field synthesis. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 1993, 93, 2764–2778. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Blauert, J. Spatial Hearing: The Psychophysics of Human Sound Localization; MIT Press: Cambridge, MA, USA, 1997. [Google Scholar]
- Begault, D.R. 3D Sound for Virtual Reality and Multimedia Applications; Academic Press Professional Inc.: San Diego, CA, USA, 1994. [Google Scholar]
- Bech, S.; Zacharov, N. Perceptual Audio Evaluation—Theory, Method and Application; John Wiley & Sons Ltd.: Sussex, UK, 2006. [Google Scholar]
- Olive, S.E.; Welti, T. The relationship between perception and measurement of headphone sound quality. In Proceedings of the 133rd AES Convention, San Francisco, CA, USA, 26–29 October 2012.
- Opitz, M. Headphones listening tests. In Proceedings of the 121st AES Convention, San Francisco, CA, USA, 5–8 October 2006.
- Hirvonen, T.; Vaalgamaa, M.; Backman, J.; Karjalainen, M. Listening test methodology for headphone evaluation. In Proceedings of the 114th AES Convention, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 22–25 March 2003.
- Briolle, F.; Voinier, T. Transfer function and subjective quality of headphones: Part 2, subjective quality evaluations. In Proceedings of the 11th AES International Conference, Portland, OR, USA, 29–31 May 1992.
- Olive, S.E.; Welti, T.; McMullin, E. A virtual headphone listening test methodology. In Proceedings of the 51st AES International Conference, Helsinki, Finland, 22–24 August 2013.
- Farina, A. Simultaneous measurement of impulse response and distortion with a swept-sine technique. In Proceedings of the 108th AES Convention, Paris, France, 18–22 February 2000.
- Lindau, A.; Brinkmann, F. Perceptual evaluation of headphone compensation in binaural synthesis based on non-individual recordings. J. Audio Eng. Soc. 2012, 60, 54–62. [Google Scholar]
- Farina, A.; Armelloni, E. Emulation of not-linear, time-variant device by the convolution technique. In Proceedings of the Congresso AES Italy 2005, Como, Italy, 3–5 November 2005.
- Pulkki, V.; Karjalainen, M. Communication Acoustics: An Introduction to Speech, Audio and Psychoacoustics; John Wiley & Sons Ltd: Sussex, UK, 2015. [Google Scholar]
- Rumsey, F. Spatial Audio; Focal Press: Oxford, UK, 2001. [Google Scholar]
- Gutierrez-Parera, P.; Lopez, J.J.; Aguilera, E. On the influence of headphones quality in the spatial immersion produced by binaural recordings. In Proceedings of the 138th AES Convention, Warsaw, Poland, 7–10 May 2015.
- Rec. ITU-R BS. 1534-2. In Method for the Subjective Assessment of Intermediate Quality Level of Audio Systems; International Telecommunication Union (ITU): Geneva, Switzerland, 2014.
- Rumsey, F. Spatial quality evaluation for reproduced sound: Terminology, meaning and a scene-based paradigm. J. Audio Eng. Soc. 2002, 50, 651–666. [Google Scholar]
- Rec. ITU-R BS. 1116-2. In Methods for the Subjective Assessment of Small Impairments in Audio Systems; International Telecommunication Union (ITU): Geneva, Switzerland, 2014.
- Letowski, T. Sound quality assessment: Cardinal concepts. In Proceedings of the 87th AES Convention, New York, NY, USA, 18–21 October 1989.
- Zacharov, N.; Koivuniemi, K. Unravelling the perception of spatial sound reproduction. In Proceedings of the 19th AES International Conference, Bavaria, Germany, 21–24 June 2001.
- Shinn-Cunningham, B. Learning reverberation: Considerations for spatial auditory displays. In Proceedings of the International Conference on Auditory Display (ICAD), Atlanta, GA, USA, 2–5 April 2000.
- Minnair, P.; Olesen, S.K.; Christensen, F.; Møller, H. Localization with binaural recordings from artificial and human heads. J. Audio Eng. Soc. 2001, 49, 323–336. [Google Scholar]
- Santala, O.; Pulkki, V. Directional perception of distributed sound sources. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 2011, 129, 1522–1530. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]
- Mendoça, C.; Campos, G.; Dias, P.; Santos, J.A. Learning auditory space: Generalization and long-term effects. PLoS ONE 2013, 8, e77900. [Google Scholar]
- So, R.H.Y.; Ngan, B.; Horner, A.; Braasch, J.; Blauert, J.; Leung, K.L. Toward orthogonal non-individualised head-related transfer functions for forward and backward directional sound: Cluster analysis and an experimental study. Ergonomics 2010, 53, 767–781. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]
- Zhang, P.X.; Hartmann, W.M. On the ability of human listeners to distinguish between front and back. Hear. Res. 2010, 260, 30–46. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]
- Temme, S.; Olive, S.E.; Tatarunis, S.; Welti, T.; McMullin, E. The correlation between distortion audibility and listener preference in headphones. In Proceedings of the 137th AES Convention, Los Angeles, CA, USA, 9–12 October 2014.
|Bettina Flater||Haugebonden||Women en Mi||female voice and guitar|
|Paco de Lucía||Zambra Gitana||Canción Andaluza||male voice and guitar|
|Jerry Glodsmith||Night Boarders||OST The Mummy||high dynamic orchestral|
|The Chad Fisher Group||Basin Street Blues||live||jazz (binaural)|
|Smashing Pumpkins||audience sound||live||audience and drums (binaural)|
© 2016 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Gutierrez-Parera, P.; Lopez, J.J. Influence of the Quality of Consumer Headphones in the Perception of Spatial Audio. Appl. Sci. 2016, 6, 117. https://doi.org/10.3390/app6040117
Gutierrez-Parera P, Lopez JJ. Influence of the Quality of Consumer Headphones in the Perception of Spatial Audio. Applied Sciences. 2016; 6(4):117. https://doi.org/10.3390/app6040117Chicago/Turabian Style
Gutierrez-Parera, Pablo, and Jose J. Lopez. 2016. "Influence of the Quality of Consumer Headphones in the Perception of Spatial Audio" Applied Sciences 6, no. 4: 117. https://doi.org/10.3390/app6040117