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- PublicationStreaming VR for Immersion: Quality aspects of Compressed Spatial AudioDelivering a 360-degree soundscape that matches full sphere visuals is an essential aspect of immersive VR. Ambisonics is a full sphere surround sound technique that takes into account the azimuth and elevation of sound sources, portraying source location above and below as well as around the horizontal plane of the listener. In contrast to channel-based methods, ambisonics representation offers the advantage of being independent of a specific loudspeaker set-up. Streaming ambisonics over networks requires efficient encoding techniques that compress the raw audio content without compromising quality of experience (QoE). This work investigates the effect of audio channel compression via the OPUS 1.2 codec on the quality of spatial audio as perceived by listeners. In particular we evaluate the listening quality and localization accuracy of first-order ambisonic audio (FOA) and third-order ambisonic audio (HOA) compressed at various bitrates (i.e. 32, 64, 128 and 128, 256, 512kbps respectively). To assess the impact of OPUS compression on spatial audio a number of subjective listening tests were carried out. The sample set for the tests comprises both recorded and synthetic audio clips with a wide range of time-frequency characteristics. In order to evaluate localization accuracy of compressed audio a number of fixed and dynamic (moving vertically and horizontally) source positions were selected for the test samples. The results show that for compressed spatial audio, perceived quality and localization accuracy are influenced more by compression scheme, bitrate and ambisonic order than by sample content. The insights provided by this work into factors and parameters influencing QoE will guide future development of a objective spatial audio quality metric.
- PublicationAMBIQUAL - a full reference objective quality metric for ambisonic spatial audioStreaming spatial audio over networks requires efficient encoding techniques that compress the raw audio content without compromising quality of experience. Streaming service providers such as YouTube need a perceptually relevant objective audio quality metric to monitor users' perceived quality and spatial localization accuracy. In this paper we introduce a full reference objective spatial audio quality metric, AMBIQUAL, which assesses both Listening Quality and Localization Accuracy. In our solution both metrics are derived directly from the B-format Ambisonic audio. The metric extends and adapts the algorithm used in ViSQOLAudio, a full reference objective metric designed for assessing speech and audio quality. In particular, Listening Quality is derived from the omnidirectional channel and Localization Accuracy is derived from a weighted sum of similarity from B-format directional channels. This paper evaluates whether the proposed AMBIQUAL objective spatial audio quality metric can predict two factors: Listening Quality and Localization Accuracy by comparing its predictions with results from MUSHRA subjective listening tests. In particular, we evaluated the Listening Quality and Localization Accuracy of First and Third-Order Ambisonic audio compressed with the OPUS 1.2 codec at various bitrates (i.e. 32, 128 and 256, 512kbps respectively). The sample set for the tests comprised both recorded and synthetic audio clips with a wide range of time-frequency characteristics. To evaluate Localization Accuracy of compressed audio a number of fixed and dynamic (moving vertically and horizontally) source positions were selected for the test samples. Results showed a strong correlation (PCC=0.919; Spearman=0.882 regarding Listening Quality and PCC=0.854; Spearman=0.842 regarding Localization Accuracy) between objective quality scores derived from the B-format Ambisonic audio using AMBIQUAL and subjective scores obtained during listening MUSHRA tests. AMBIQUAL displays very promising quality assessment predictions for spatial audio. Future work will optimise the algorithm to generalise and validate it for any Higher Order Ambisonic formats.
660Scopus© Citations 18
- PublicationAMBIQUAL: Towards a Quality Metric for Headphone Rendered Compressed Ambisonic Spatial AudioSpatial audio is essential for creating a sense of immersion in virtual environments. Efficient encoding methods are required to deliver spatial audio over networks without compromising Quality of Service (QoS). Streaming service providers such as YouTube typically transcode content into various bit rates and need a perceptually relevant audio quality metric to monitor users’ perceived quality and spatial localization accuracy. The aim of the paper is two-fold. First, it is to investigate the effect of Opus codec compression on the quality of spatial audio as perceived by listeners using subjective listening tests. Secondly, it is to introduce AMBIQUAL, a full reference objective metric for spatial audio quality, which derives both listening quality and localization accuracy metrics directly from the B-format Ambisonic audio. We compare AMBIQUAL quality predictions with subjective quality assessments across a variety of audio samples which have been compressed using the Opus 1.2 codec at various bit rates. Listening quality and localization accuracy of first and third-order Ambisonics were evaluated. Several fixed and dynamic audio sources (single and multiple) were used to evaluate localization accuracy. Results show good correlation regarding listening quality and localization accuracy between objective quality scores using AMBIQUAL and subjective scores obtained during listening tests.
131Scopus© Citations 10