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Subjective Evaluation of Multichannel Sound with Surround-Height Channels

In this paper we report results from an investigation of listener perception of surround-height channels added to standard multichannel stereophonic reproduction. An ITU-R horizontal loudspeaker configuration was augmented by the addition of surround-height loudspeakers in order to reproduce concert hall ambience from above the listener. Concert hall impulse responses (IRs) were measured at three heights using an innovative microphone array designed to capture surround-height ambience. IRs were then convolved with anechoic music recordings in order to produce seven-channel surround sound stimuli. Listening tests were conducted in order to determine the perceived quality of surround-height channels as affected by three loudspeaker positions and three IR heights. Fifteen trained listeners compared each reproduction condition and ranked them based on their degree of appropriateness. Results indicate that surround-height loudspeaker position has a greater influence on perceived sound quality than IR height. Listeners considered the naturalness, spaciousness, envelopment, immersiveness, and dimension of the reproduced sound field when making judgments of surround-height channel quality.

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