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Listening and Conversational Quality of Spatial Audio Conferencing

We present the results of a listening and a conversation test on the quality of spatial and non-spatial audio conferences. To this aim, we have developed conversation test scenarios for audio conferences with three remote participants in order to carry out quality evaluation tests for audio-conferences that are comparable with similar scenarios for traditional one-to-one telephone conversation assessment. We have applied the test scenarios during a conversation test, to (i) validate the test scenarios, (ii) in a realistic usage context measure the advantages of spatial versus non-spatial audio conferencing, and in relation with the quality-impact due to the transmitted speech bandwidth, and (iii) provide recordings of conferences for later use in listening tests. In the conversation test, we have compared different bandwidths (narrowband/NB, 300-3400 Hz; wideband/WB, 50-7000 Hz; fullband/FB, 20-22000 Hz), spatial versus non-spatial headphone-based rendering, and channels with and without talker echo. In a subsequent listening test using recorded conferences, we have attempted to assess the quality of spatial and non-spatial audio-conferencing in a more detailed fashion, including aspects such as speaker identification and memory.

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