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1) Audio Quality

1.4 Quality

Quality is conformance to requirements

This definition of quality comes from the renowned quality management guru Philip B. Crosby(*1A). His idea is that quality management should focus on setting well defined and realistic requirements - and then design clever management processes to make sure that an organisation’s output is meeting up to these requirements.

Crosby's definition states that quality is always related to requirements set for the output of the process. To enable the organisation to achieve the desired output quality, process requirements are set. And this area is where quality discussions in many of the debates in the audio industry go wrong: two individuals seldom agree on the requirements of both the process and the output - not even on the definition of the parameters that represent the requirements.

In this white paper, the term 'audio quality' refers to the physical characteristics of an audio signal, the term ‘sound quality' refers to the perceptional characteristics of the invoked hearing sensation.

Using Crosby's definition of quality, stating (system) audio quality means stating to what degree the audio signal (system) conforms to set requirements. Audio quality requirements can be stated as physical characteristics, for example in the form of electrical system specifications based on international standards (ISO, AES, IEC). If not otherwise specified,100% accurate representation can be assumed as audio (system) quality requirement.

Stating sound quality means stating to what degree a hearing sensation conforms to an individual listener's requirements - which can be either a preferred hearing sensation, or an expected hearing sensation if the individual is assessing the hearing sensation on behalf of an audience, or for use in an external context. Sound characteristics are often discussed using terminology such as 'warmth', 'transparency', 'definition' - which are not always standardized terms. Assumed that a group of persons agree on the definition of these terms, the degree of conformance will still differ from person to person, depending on individual hearing abilities and preferences.

>>1.5 Audio quality

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