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Listener Preferences and Perception of Digital versus Analog Live Concert Recordings

John M. Geringer and Patrick Dunnigan
Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education
No. 145 (Summer, 2000), pp. 1-13
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40319018
Page Count: 13
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Listener Preferences and Perception of Digital versus Analog Live Concert Recordings
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Abstract

This paper reports the results of a study that investigated listener perception and preferences for analog and digital recordings. Recordings were produced during concerts of three ensembles (mixed choir, string orchestra, and wind ensemble) and solo piano. Master tapes were recorded in the same concert hall using identical microphones and mixed to both digital audio tape and to analog tape using Dolby B noise reduction. Experimental excerpts were presented in digital and analog formats with a switching device that enabled listeners to alternate between the synchronized versions during the entirety of each excerpt. MANOVA and subsequent analyses indicated that digital presentations were rated higher in quality than the analog presentations (p <.001). Listeners demonstrated a greater difference in preference between digital and analog versions for wind band and piano concert examples than for choir and string orchestra examples.

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