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Listener-Preferred Headphone Frequency Response for Stereo and Spatial Audio Content

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When spatial audio content is presented over headphones, the audio signal is typically filtered with binaural room impulse responses (BRIRs). An accurate virtual auditory space presentation can be achieved by flattening the headphones’ frequency response. However, when presenting stereo music over headphones, previous studies have shown that listeners prefer headphones with a frequency response that simulates loudspeakers in a listening room. It is as yet unclear if headphones that are calibrated in such a way will be preferred by listeners in the context of spatial audio content as well. This study investigates how listeners’ preferences for headphone frequency response may differ between stereo audio content and spatial audio content, which was rendered by convolving the same stereo content with in-situ-measured BRIRs of loudspeakers in a room.

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