Psychological measurement for sound description and evaluation
Several domains of application require one to measure quantities that are representative of what a human listener perceives. Sound quality evaluation, for instance, studies how users perceive the quality of the sounds of industrial objects (cars, electrical appliances, electronic devices, etc.), and establishes speci•cations for the design of these sounds. It refers to the fact that the sounds produced by an object or product are not only evaluated in terms of annoyance or pleasantness, but are also important in people’s interactions with the object. Practitioners of sound quality evaluation therefore need methods to assess experimentally, or automatic tools to predict, what users perceive and how they evaluate the sounds. There are other applications requiring such measurement: evaluation of the quality of audio algorithms, management (organization, retrieval) of sound databases, and so on. For example, sound-database retrieval systems often require measurements of relevant perceptual qualities; the searching process is performed automatically using similarity metrics based on relevant descriptors stored as metadata with the sounds in the database.