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Eliciting the most prominent perceived differences between microphones
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The attributes contributing to the differences perceived between microphones (when auditioning recordings made with those microphones) are not clear from previous research. Consideration of technical specifications and expert opinions indicated that recording five programme items with eight studio and two microelectromechanical system
microphones could allow determination of the attributes related to the most prominent inter-microphone differences. Pairwise listening comparisons between the resulting 50 recordings, followed by multi-dimensional scaling analysis, revealed up to 5 salient dimensions per programme item; 17 corresponding pairs of recordings were selected exemplifying the differences across those dimensions. Direct elicitation and panel discussions on the 17 pairs identified a hierarchy of 40 perceptual attributes. An attribute contribution experiment on the 31 lowest-level attributes in the hierarchy allowed them to be ordered by degree of contribution and showed brightness, harshness, and clarity to always contribute highly to perceived inter-microphone differences. This work enables the future development of objective models to predict these important attributes.
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