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Preferred Spatial Post-Processing of Popular Stereophonic Music for Headphone Reproduction

The spatial imagery experienced when listening to conventional stereophonic music via headphones is considerably different from that experienced in loudspeaker reproduction. While the difference might be reduced when stereophonic program material is spatially processed in order to simulate loudspeaker crosstalk for headphone reproduction, previous listening tests have shown that such processing typically produces results that are not preferred by listeners in comparisons with the original (unprocessed) version of a music program. In this study a double blind test was conducted in which listeners compared five versions of eight programs from a variety of music genres and gave both preference ratings and ensemble stage width (ESW) ratings. Out of four alternative postprocessing algorithms, the outputs that were most preferred resulted from a nearfield crosstalk simulation mimicking low-frequency interaural level differences typical for close-range sources.

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