Author(s): Moore BC
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Abstract This article reviews a series of studies on the factors influencing sound quality preferences, mostly for jazz and classical music stimuli. The data were obtained using ratings of individual stimuli or using the method of paired comparisons. For normal-hearing participants, the highest ratings of sound quality were obtained when the reproduction bandwidth was wide (55 to 16000 Hz) and ripples in the frequency response were small (less than ± 5 dB). For hearing-impaired participants listening via a simulated five-channel compression hearing aid with gains set using the CAM2 fitting method, preferences for upper cutoff frequency varied across participants: Some preferred a 7.5- or 10-kHz upper cutoff frequency over a 5-kHz cutoff frequency, and some showed the opposite preference. Preferences for a higher upper cutoff frequency were associated with a shallow high-frequency slope of the audiogram. A subsequent study comparing the CAM2 and NAL-NL2 fitting methods, with gains slightly reduced for participants who were not experienced hearing aid users, showed a consistent preference for CAM2. Since the two methods differ mainly in the gain applied for frequencies above 4 kHz (CAM2 recommending higher gain than NAL-NL2), these results suggest that extending the upper cutoff frequency is beneficial. A system for reducing "overshoot" effects produced by compression gave small but significant benefits for sound quality of a percussion instrument (xylophone). For a high-input level (80 dB SPL), slow compression was preferred over fast compression.
This article was published in Trends Amplif
and referenced in Advances in Robotics & Automation