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Influence of Level Setting on Loudspeaker Preference Ratings

The perceived audio quality of a sound-reproduction device such as a loudspeaker is hard to evaluate. Industrial and academic researchers are still focusing on the design of reliable assessment procedures to measure this subjective character. One of the main issues of listening tests is about their validity in regard to real comparison situations (Hi-Fi magazine evaluations, audiophile, sound engineer, customer...). Are the conclusions of laboratory tests consistent with these almost informal comparisons? As an example, one of the main differences between listening test and real-life comparisons is about the loudness matching. This paper is aimed at comparing paired-comparison tests that are commonly accomplished under laboratory conditions with a procedure assumed to be closer to real-life conditions. It shows that differences in the test procedures led to differences in the subjective assessments.

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