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1) Audio Quality

1.5 Audio quality

In this white paper we propose the following requirement for audio signals:

Requirement for an Audio signal
An examined audio signal should represent the originally generated audio signal accurately, disregarding the intended changes of an audio system.

If there is no audio system between generating and examining (eg. hearing) an audio signal, the examined signal is exactly the generated signal. The closest we can get is listening to an acoustic signal at very close distance - think millimetres - without any audio disturbances eg. other signals, wind, movement.

In real life there is always a system between the generation and the hearing - even a short distance already constitutes a system as the turbulence in the air between audio source and listener changes the audio signal. Nearby objects or walls, and of course a networked audio system, add further changes.

In this white paper, we propose the following definition for audio quality:

Audio quality
The degree of representation accuracy of an examined audio signal, disregarding the intended changes of an audio system.

‘Audio quality’ describes how accurate an examined audio signal (at the output of a system) resembles the original audio signal generated by the sound source, disregarding the changes applied intentionally by product manufacturers, sound system designers and engineers.

The audio quality of a system between the input audio signal and an examined output signal is called the ‘system audio quality’. It can be described using the same requirement as for audio quality: an audio system should accurately transport and process the audio signal - without limitations or unintended changes. In common speech, ‘audio quality’ is often used to describe a system’s audio quality.

System audio quality
The degree of representation accuracy of an examined audio system, disregarding the intended changes of the audio system

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