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The Effect of Virtual Environments on Localization during a 3D Audio Production Task

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In a perceptual study of three-dimensional audio for virtual reality (VR), an experiment was conducted to investigate the influence of virtual environments on localization during a production-based panning task. It was hypothesized that performing this task in VR would take longer and be less accurate than if conducted in a real environment. Using a 3D loudspeaker array and hardware panning controls, 80 participants were asked to repeatedly match probe sounds to the location of a randomly positioned target sound. Participants performed the task with and without awareness of loudspeaker position. Half were presented a VR replica of the environment using a head mounted display. Results showed that virtual reality did not significantly inhibit task performance.

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