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Open AccessArticle

Auditory Localization in Low-Bitrate Compressed Ambisonic Scenes

1
AudioLab, Communication Technologies Research Group, Department of Electronic Engineering, University of York, York YO10 5DD, UK
2
Google, San Francisco, CA 94105, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Appl. Sci. 2019, 9(13), 2618; https://doi.org/10.3390/app9132618
Received: 15 May 2019 / Revised: 19 June 2019 / Accepted: 26 June 2019 / Published: 28 June 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mobile Spatial Audio)
The increasing popularity of Ambisonics as a spatial audio format for streaming services poses new challenges to existing audio coding techniques. Immersive audio delivered to mobile devices requires an efficient bitrate compression that does not affect the spatial quality of the content. Good localizability of virtual sound sources is one of the key elements that must be preserved. This study was conducted to investigate the localization precision of virtual sound source presentations within Ambisonic scenes encoded with Opus low-bitrate compression at different bitrates and Ambisonic orders (1st, 3rd, and 5th). The test stimuli were reproduced over a 50-channel spherical loudspeaker configuration and binaurally using individually measured and generic Head-Related Transfer Functions (HRTFs). Participants were asked to adjust the position of a virtual acoustic pointer to match the position of virtual sound source within the bitrate-compressed Ambisonic scene. Results show that auditory localization in low-bitrate compressed Ambisonic scenes is not significantly affected by codec parameters. The key factors influencing localization are the rendering method and Ambisonic order truncation. This suggests that efficient perceptual coding might be successfully used for mobile spatial audio delivery. View Full-Text
Keywords: spatial audio; perceptual evaluation; listening tests; ambisonics; binaural; bitrate compression; auditory localization; audio codec; opus; streaming spatial audio; perceptual evaluation; listening tests; ambisonics; binaural; bitrate compression; auditory localization; audio codec; opus; streaming
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Rudzki, T.; Gomez-Lanzaco, I.; Stubbs, J.; Skoglund, J.; Murphy, D.T.; Kearney, G. Auditory Localization in Low-Bitrate Compressed Ambisonic Scenes. Appl. Sci. 2019, 9, 2618.

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