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Comparison of Loudspeaker-Room Equalization Preferences for Multichannel, Stereo, and Mono Reproductions: Are Listeners More Discriminating in Mono?

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Digital loudspeaker-room correction products are more popular than ever, despite the general lack of perceptual studies on their performance over a wide range of different playback conditions. This paper describes the first of several experiments that explore the influence of important acoustical and perceptual factors on their performance. In this experiment, a panel of trained listeners gave comparative preference ratings for three different loudspeaker equalizations based on anechoic and in situ measurements evaluated in a semi-reflective room, using three multichannel music recordings reproduced in surround, stereo, and mono. These equalizations were compared to the unequalized loudspeaker. The results are summarized as follows: all three equalizations were equally preferred over the unequalized system. The differences in preference ratings increased as the number of playback channels was reduced from 5 channels (surround) to 1 (mono).

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