Research & Development


The next generation of audio reproduction technology has the potential to deliver immersive and personalised experiences to the user; multichannel with-height loudspeaker arrays and binaural techniques offer 3D audio experiences, whereas objectbased techniques offer possibilities of adapting content to suit the system, context and user. A fundamental process in the advancement of such technology is perceptual evaluation. It is crucial to understand how listeners perceive new technology in order to drive future developments. This thesis explores the experience provided by next generation audio technology by taking a quality of experience (QoE) approach to evaluation. System, context and human factors all influence QoE and in this thesis three case studies are presented to explore the role of these categories of influence factors (IFs) in the context of next generation audio evaluation. Furthermore, these case studies explore suitable methods and approaches for the evaluation of the QoE of next generation audio with respect to its various IFs. Specific contributions delivered from these individual studies include a subjective comparison between soundbar and discrete surround sound technology, the application of the Open Profiling of Quality method to the field of audio evaluation, an understanding of both how and why environmental noise influences preferred audio object balance, an understanding of how the influence of technical audio quality on overall listening experience is related to a range of psychographic variables and an assessment of the impact of binaural processing on overall listening experience. When considering these studies as a whole, the research presented here contributes the thesis that to effectively evaluate the perceived quality of next generation audio, a QoE mindset should be taken that considers system, context and human IFs.

Tim Walton's PhD project was sponsored by the BBC through an EPSRC Industrial CASE award.

Tim's thesis is available from the University of Newcastle at

This publication is part of the Immersive and Interactive Content section

This publication is part of the Future Experience Technologies section