How easily can you detect distortion on your audio system? An online interactive listening test gives you a chance to find out by testing your listening ability to detect nonlinear distortion for different music signals and loudspeaker types. You can also use it to help train your ears to better hear different kinds of loudspeaker distortion.
The test, at http://www.klippel-listeningtest.de/lt/default.html provides an audible subjective impression of different kinds of loudspeaker distortion sound and asks you to choose between samples of undistorted pure linear signals and those with varying levels of added distortion. At the end of each test, you're shown your test result - that is, your distortion audibility threshold - and how it compares with those of other test participants.
The site's "How it works" page describes the auralization technique used to generate the test's simulated distortion:
In the past, the impact of the linear amplitude and phase response on sound quality have been investigated by using linear filters (equalizer). Linear distortion, however, describe the loudspeaker adequately only at small amplitudes. At high amplitudes, real loudspeakers produce other kinds of distortion, which should be investigated also systematically. This can be done using a nonlinear model of the loudspeaker able to synthesize loudspeaker output in the large signal domain.
Measuring the parameters of the model, we can perform a real-time simulation for any input, like music or artificial test signals, providing the distortion components separated from the ideal linear output.
The rest is simple: we pass the distortion and the linear signal through a mixing console, so we can emphasize or attenuate the distortion, or even listen to the distortion alone. This technique is called Auralization.
When performing the test, it's best to use headphones or a good sound system to avoid any potential added audible distortion from your own system.
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