First ISCA ITRW on Auditory Quality of Systems

April 23-25, 2003
Akademie Mont-Cenis, Germany

Auditory Quality of Systems: Towards a Unified Approach

Jens Blauert

Institut für Kommunikationsakustik, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany

In this contribution, the basic concepts behind sound quality will be reconsidered in a systemic way. This appears to be of some use, as sound quality is a mental construct which is very often insufficiently defined and, consequently, not understood properly by many. Ambiguous usage of the term - even among experts - provides ample evidence of this fact.

The discussion will start from the problems associated with product-sound quality. Here, it is often the mission of the sound of a product to prompt confidence in the quality of the product. Thus, the "Sound of Quality" is the real issue. The next step will be a discussion of the auditory quality of speech. Here, either the quality of something or someone that the speech is standing for, or - alternatively - the quality of the speech sounds themselves is the object of judgement.

From speech quality in the second sense it is relatively easy to generalise to the auditory quality of other sounds, such as of music or environmental sounds. The issue now is the "Quality of Sound".

Finally, the quality of audio transmission will be discussed - with or without a reference signal being available - were we should talk about "Sound-Transmission Quality" rather than sound quality.

Special effort will be put into an attempt to discuss all these different aspects of sound quality in a unified way, such that the general concept of sound quality does not change due to a specific application. Rather, it is only the frame of reference that has to fit a particular application.

It is hoped that such a unified view of the formation process of sound quality will support current attempts to estimate sound quality instrumentally.

Bibliographic reference.  Blauert, Jens (2003): "Auditory quality of systems: Towards a unified approach", In AQS-2003, 9 (abstract).