AES Journal Forum

Is High-Frequency Intermodulation Distortion a Significant Factor in High-Resolution Audio?

Document Thumbnail

Intermodulation distortion (IMD) arises when a nonlinearity causes two or more signals to interact. This paper investigated this distortion mechanism by measurement and listening tests using three models of high-quality loudspeaker. The authors investigated IMD arising in combinations of amplifiers and loudspeakers, concentrating particularly on circumstances where very high frequency signals might induce audible distortions. Using selected ultrasonic signals (i.e., above 20 kHz) higher than 80 dB-SPL, IMD could be measured in all three loudspeaker systems tested, and it was just audible in the absence of any signals below 20 kHz. The aim was to discover whether IMD of ultrasonic signal elements could lead to their detectability and thereby confound listening tests or otherwise modify the listening experience. The results show that while such distortion can be found and must be accounted for in some psychoacoustic threshold experiments, it is not pertinent to playback of current high-resolution recordings, since the level of ultrasonic signals tends to be significantly lower.

Open Access


JAES Volume 67 Issue 5 pp. 310-318; May 2019
Publication Date:

Download Now (1.0 MB)

This paper is Open Access which means you can download it for free.

No AES members have commented on this paper yet.

Subscribe to this discussion

RSS Feed To be notified of new comments on this paper you can subscribe to this RSS feed. Forum users should login to see additional options.

Start a discussion!

If you would like to start a discussion about this paper and are an AES member then you can login here:

If you are not yet an AES member and have something important to say about this paper then we urge you to join the AES today and make your voice heard. You can join online today by clicking here.

AES - Audio Engineering Society