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Evaluation of Multichannel Audio in Automobiles versus Mobile Phones

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Multichannel surround and 3D audio are slowly gaining popularity and eventually commercial content in these formats will become common. Many automobiles still have a stereo sound system with some firmware or software that is capable of rendering multichannel audio into stereo. This paper shows the results of a listening test for multichannel audio conducted in a medium-sized car. The results of this test are compared to the results of a listening test for the same audio excerpts but conducted on a mobile phone with headphones. The results show that on mobile phones, multichannel audio clearly outperforms stereo in terms of perceived audio quality as rated by a user. However in automobiles, multichannel audio only shows marginal improvement in the rated audio quality.

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AES - Audio Engineering Society