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Perceptual Assessment of Headphone Distortion

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A perceptually-driven distortion metric for headphones is proposed that is based on a critical-band spectral comparison of the distortion and noise to an appropriate masked threshold, when the headphone is excited by a sine wave signal. Additionally, new headphone-based masking curves for 20, 50, 100, 200, 315, 400, and 500 Hz sine waves are derived by subjective tests using bands of narrow-band noise being masked by a sine wave signal. The ratios of measured distortion and noise levels in critical bands over the appropriate masking curve values are compared, with the critical bands starting at the second harmonic. Once this is done the audibility of all these contributions are combined into a single audibility value. Extension to loudspeaker measurements is briefly discussed.

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AES - Audio Engineering Society