Soundbar reduces listening effort

News / 24.10.2017

The Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology IDMT in Oldenburg has compared the speech intelligibility and sound quality of a Samsung smart TV and a Samsung soundbar. The results show that using the soundbar considerably reduces listening effort in comparison to using only the TV set.

© Photo Samsung/Benjamin Pritzkuleit

15 adults aged between 25 and 55 were invited to the Fraunhofer IDMT’s Sound Technologies Lab (STL) in Oldenburg for the study. The STL is a smart home environment that is used to evaluate new technologies and operating concepts in cooperation with partners from research and industry. The laboratory is certified in accordance with DIN 18041 "Acoustic Quality in Small to Medium-sized Rooms".

© Photo Samsung/Benjamin Pritzkuleit

The Fraunhofer IDMT has compared the speech intelligibility and sound quality of a smart TV and a soundbar in a study. Tests revealed that using the soundbar considerably reduces listening effort in comparison to using the TV set.

The Fraunhofer IDMT has compared the speech intelligibility and sound quality of the Samsung smart TV “UE65MU6179UXZG” and the Samsung soundbar “HW-MS650” in a study commissioned by the manufacturer. Tests revealed that using the soundbar considerably reduces listening effort in comparison to using the TV set.

“When speech and background noise are equally loud, the subjectively perceived listening effort between TV and soundbar drops by 15 percent,” explains Dr. Jan Rennies-Hochmuth, Head of Group, Personalized Hearing Systems at Fraunhofer IDMT. The variables measured were subjective perception of speech quality, speech intelligibility, listening effort and general sound quality. Hörzentrum Oldenburg GmbH assisted in the study.

Kai Hillebrandt, Vice President Consumer Electronics Samsung Electronics GmbH, explains the relevance of speech intelligibility for the TV market: “With the increasing variety and popularity of streaming products, viewers’ needs and their demand for good sound quality also change. That’s why we wanted to examine the question of whether viewers who watch long, action-packed series and films can follow events on screen in a more relaxed manner with our soundbar than if they only hear the sound via the TV’s built-in loudspeakers. With the Fraunhofer IDMT and Hörzentrum Oldenburg we’ve got competent partners at our side who can help us to find a sound scientific answer to this question – the institute’s experts are specialists in precisely such applications.”

15 adults aged between 25 and 55 were invited to the Fraunhofer IDMT’s Sound Technologies Lab in Oldenburg for the study which comprised two parts. In the first part, listening effort was measured using the ACALES method developed at Hörzentrum Oldenburg. In the second part, the sound quality of the TV set and the soundbar were rated with the help of a questionnaire.
 

The Sound Technologies Lab at the Fraunhofer IDMT in Oldenburg

The Sound Technologies Lab of the Fraunhofer IDMT in Oldenburg is a smart home environment that is used to evaluate new technologies and operating concepts in cooperation with partners from research and industry. The laboratory is certified in accordance with DIN 18041 »Acoustic Quality in Small to Medium-sized Rooms«. The Sound Technologies Lab uses acoustic localization as well as speech and event detection technologies to simulate various application scenarios. Voice control of multimedia, lighting and technical installations is standard here as is acoustic speaker localization. Intelligent sound detectors or emergency alarm systems can also be tested and demonstrated.


About the Project Group Hearing, Speech and Audio Technology of the Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology IDMT in Oldenburg

The objective of the Project Group Hearing, Speech and Audio Technology is to transpose scientific findings related to hearing perception in normal and impaired hearing into technological applications. On behalf of industrial enterprises and public bodies, the group’s researchers conduct applied research and development for the following sectors: Telecommunications, multimedia, healthcare, building technology, transport, industrial production and safety. The project group was set up in Oldenburg in 2008 as a field office of the Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology IDMT. Through scientific partnerships, it has close links within the »Hearing4all« Cluster of Excellence with the Carl von Ossietzky University and other institutions in Oldenburg engaged in hearing research.