Author(s): Leite RP, Paul S
AbstractUsing methods and techniques of sound quality engineering, the noise of the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system (HVAC) of an automobile model was studied. Such noise has a great influence on vehicle acoustical comfort and on overall quality perception of a vehicle. The study was divided into two steps. The first step aimed to identify the most significant attributes that contribute to the perception of similarity or dissimilarity of this kind of noise, using the paired comparison technique and correlation of the results with psychoacoustic models. Loudness, spectral composition and tonality, represented by the psychoacoustic models of loudness, sharpness, tone-to-noise ratio and prominence were found to be the most important dimensions for the perception of similarity and dissimilarity of HVAC-noise.In the second step of the study a model to predict subjective response to HVAC sounds using the semantic differential technique was developed. In particular the perception of annoyance was studied and it is shown that the annoyance caused by the HVAC noise can be satisfactorily described by Zwicker’s stationary loudness model, provided that the HVAC noises do not present tonal components. The loudness model also predicts scores on a quiet/loud scale. Both results confirm the power of the loudness dimension and its model introduced by Zwicker for the overall quality of stationary broadband sounds without slow fluctuations or tonal components. From the annoyance model developed in this study a maximum acceptable loudness level for HVAC-systems can be determined.