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Audio quality evaluation by experienced and inexperienced listeners

: Schinkel-Bielefeld, N.; Lotze, N.; Nagel, F.


Proceedings of Meetings on Acoustics 19 (2013), Art. 060016, 8 pp.
ISSN: 1939-800X
International Congress on Acoustics (ICA) <21, 2013, Montreal>
Acoustical Society of America (Meeting) <165, 2013, Montreal>
Canadian Acoustical Association (Meeting) <52, 2013, Montreal>
Journal Article, Conference Paper
Fraunhofer IIS ()

Basic perceptual quality of coded audio material is commonly evaluated using ITU-R BS-1534 MUSHRA (Multi Stimulus with Hidden Reference and Anchors) listening tests. MUSHRA guidelines call for experienced listeners. However, the majority of consumers using the final product are no expert-listeners. Also the degree of expertise in a listening test may vary amongst listeners in the same laboratory. It would be useful to know how the audio quality evaluation differs between trained and untrained listeners and how training and actual tests should be designed in order to be as reliable as possible. To investigate the rating differences between experts and non-experts, we performed MUSHRA listening tests with 13 experienced and 11 inexperienced listeners using 5 speech and audio codecs delivering a wide range of basic audio quality. Except for the hidden reference, absolute ratings of non-experts were consistently higher than those of experts. However, rank order only rarely changed between experts and non-experts. For lower quality values, confidence intervals were significantly larger for non-experts than for experts. Experienced listeners set more than twice as many loops as non-experts, compared more often between codecs and listened to high quality codecs for a longer duration than non-experts.