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Like music? Want to help with some research for my degree?

Discussion in 'Studio Lounge' started by JackTraveller, Jan 4, 2015.

  1. JackTraveller

    JackTraveller Member

    Hi everyone,

    First of all, I wasnt quite sure where to post this so if it's in the wrong forum, could a kindly mod move it for me?

    As part of my degree Im conducting a study on the relationship between listening fatigue, how we perceive audio quality, genre preference and listening experience.

    Some studies have suggested a link between genre preference and how sensitive listeners are to audio quality, but little practical research has been done on it, so Im conducting my own study. There are also studies that point to a relationship between audio training and listening fatigue. According to studies in the AES journal by Pras, Hjortkjaer & others, It seems that more experienced listeners (i.e. an experienced mastering engineer) are much more sensitive to listening fatigue (that is to say, physical discomfort and loss of attention induced by certain pieces of music). Listening fatigue itself is poorly understood, but it is speculated that it is closely related to dynamic range in music and other factors like artefacts induced by lossy compression.

    If anyone can spare two minutes to take this survey on the topic I'd really appreciate it, and you'd be helping contribute to research on a poorly understood topic in audio engineering. It's nothing too strenuous, only a few pages, and no sensitive data is required smile.gif

    Here's the survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/listeningfatigue

    I would ask that you answer all the questions though, please don't skip anything as I can only use complete answers in my data. I've embedded help for potentially confusing questions in the survey itself, but I'll put all the definitions and stuff here in a spoiler box too.

    heres the definitions for certain terms Im using in the survey and advice for answering any potentially confusing questions:

    Q3 Do you work in the music industry? If so please describe your occupation

    If you have multiple roles in the industry (for example, you are both a musician and producer) please select the role you have most experience with. If you are equally experienced, choose the role you prefer. For the purposes of this survey “working in the music industry” includes amateur and non professional work, this is dealt with in the next question.

    Q4 If you work in the music industry, what is your level of experience?

    If music industry work is not your main source of income or you only take it on very occasionally please select Amateur/Hobbyist. If you graduated with a music industry related degree and take minimal freelance work, or are in training for a full time music industry role, please select graduate or trainee.

    Q9 Do you think listening fatigue has changed music consumption habits among ordinary consumers?

    ”Music consumption habits” refers to the way people buy and subsequently listen to music. For example, both a change in the amount of music a person buys and a change in how often they listen to that music would be changes to music consumption habits.

    Q10 Do you think there is a correlation between how susceptible a person is to listening fatigue and their level of listening experience?

    In this survey, ”Listening Experience” refers to a person’s ability to perceive artefacts in audio and nuances of production, NOT ability to perceive musical nuances. For example, a mastering engineer with 30 years experience could be said to have a high level of listening experience, while a musician with 30 years experience but no studio experience could be said to have a low level of listening experience.

    Q13 What devices do you most often use to listen to music?

    “Devices” refers to the kind of speakers you use to listen to music.
    “Low end” refers to devices like ipod docks, shelf mounted speakers, portable CD players and car speakers.
    “High end” refers to large, expensive or specialist domestic audio speakers, including home surround systems, freestanding floor mounted speakers, and electrostatic speakers. If you are unsure please choose ‘low end’.

    If you listen an equal amount of time across multiple devices, please choose the device you prefer.

    Q14 What is the audio format you most often use for listening to music?

    “Format” refers to the way an audio file is stored. They include physical formats like vinyl, CD and tape and digital formats like mp3. Formats vary in quality.

    Uncompressed formats like vinyl, CD quality audio, and .WAV files are high quality formats.

    Formats with ‘lossy’ compression, for example mp3 and the formats used by spotify, youtube and other streaming services do not preserve the entirety of the audio information they encode and are low quality formats.

    Q16 How noticeable do you find the difference between low and high quality audio formats?

    For the purposes of this survey, an ‘obvious difference’ would mean you could tell the format within a few seconds of hearing the song (for example, experienced listeners can hear artefacts in audio induced by mp3 encoding). A ‘noticeable’ difference would be obvious after a brief comparison or extended listening time, and a ‘subtle’ difference would require the listener to concentrate hard on side by side comparisons of different formats.

    Q17 How do you do most of your listening?

    if you listen equal amounts of time in different ways, please choose your preferred listening method

    Q20 Given the choice, how loud do prefer to play music when listening? (assume you would not be disturbing anybody)

    If you mainly listen via headphones consider how loud you would have to play music via speakers to achieve the same volume you experience via headphones and choose the appropriate answer.

    If anyone has any questions about the specifics of the study, please feel free to ask and I can provide answers & sources. smile.gif


    - Jack

    Attached Files:

  2. Space

    Space Well-Known Member

    I was certain I was about to have to purchase a cd...kind of a lame survey over all. When you push people in specific cookie cutter blocks, as this survey does, you lose the interest of the survey taker. While I will admit to fatigue in small untreated rooms I wasn't given that option. Also specific frequencies may bother me after while depending on multiple factors due to tinnitus, which this Industry has many persons that deal with it. This also was not on the survey.

    I would like to see a survey on useless surveys, which is the category this one would fall under.

    Oh, and I gave the first answer to the question on all but one of the questions, so the data is corrupt.
  3. paulears

    paulears Well-Known Member

    A bit harsh - compared to some, a reasonably well thought through survey, but some odd flaws. It goes into great details about the type of job you do, musician, producer, engineer etc, but then later assumes you listen to music for 'fun' and then asks about how you get your music - when for many of us, we make it ourselves. We don't buy it or download it, it's made in the box. Quality pops up as in 128K Mp3s, described as low quality, when although that's not brilliant, it certainly isn't terrible quality, as perhaps we had years ago with hiss, wow and flutter - mp3s in 128K variety are much easier to listen to than hissy old tapes. I'm in the oldest box (thanks so much - odd how you stopped differentiating at 50 - so I'm in the box with a person 50 years possibly older than me???) The genres were also very peculiar, some were totally new to me - and for pleasure recently, I've been investigating ambient music on spotify, and I've now got quite a lot of really great artistes I'd never heard of. Is the genre not crucial to the quality issue? If you are looking at listening fatigue, then 70s/80s punks with deliberate distortion and grungy sound presumably tire the listener more. When I'm recording music I don't like much, I tire quicker, no matter the volume, but somebody who produces rock will have to monitor louder than somebody doing jazz, so processing your data won't make much sense. I did answer honesty and truthfully where I could, but I'm not certain my data will produce much as a conclusion.

    With my ex-college lecturer hat on, your data will have serious errors in it because of the type of member here, and as we're all into recording and many are musicians, we are atypical. The questions about repeat playing, for example - I answered as a 'leisure listener', because in my job I may have to listen to the same track over and over again, but your survey doesn't take that into example. There is also a 'feel' that you are asking the questions in a manner designed to support a conclusion you have already reached and have your mind already made up on - the questions having a certain spin to them?

    It's not rubbish, but it is flawed in many areas, which will mess up the data distribution.
  4. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    well, I tried to take your survey, ( somewhat skewed, I might add) but it considered my response to question 8 as an "invalid response" when I specified "other" and then attempted to explain.

    If your program didn't like my answer, that's not my fault. It can kindly go ***k itself.
  5. Space

    Space Well-Known Member

  6. paulears

    paulears Well-Known Member

    The problem is not the people posting, it's the worldwide education system that seems to have taken the need for serious research into the fantasy land. Older ones amongst us can remember when research meant actually going to places and doing it - maybe that mean specialised libraries, or into the relevant community to collect primary data that was absolutely rock solid, plus secondary data that generally supported it. Now, with the internet, research is a couple of hours of collecting data, that is in the main, useless - the educational requirements of it being robust and reliable being missed totally. Internet forums are excellent collections of people with common interests, at all levels, but the anonymity means that the background of contributors is very lost. In this questionnaire, the contributors are sorted into age - as if this means anything nowadays, and then pre-determined fields, which seem very flawed and show no understanding of the industry. If listening fatigue is really the point of the research, then it MUST be quantifiable. It will require analysis of the test music, and detailed logging of SPLs plus probably a breakdown of the audio bands in energy terms.

    Complaints at this point will generate the response that this is initial research, and the detailed stuff comes later. This of course is simply rubbish. There is no point generating deliberately controversial evidence that you have to disprove later.

    Maybe it's just me, but when I was doing this kind of thing, we had a supervisor who ripped most research proposals into shreds before they were aired - now, almost any tinpot subject, no matter how pointless seems to be allowed, and on one forum I moderate, we get many of these requests, with exactly the same response, and as the forum has many university staff members, they get beaten with sticks for letting these rubbish things get through - their response of course, is simply that the students went off on their own, half-cocked and messed up the research research badly.

    Sometimes there are good ones, but so many are so plainly down to lack of substance that the good ones do shine through. The fact that so many people who have industry experience and little/none of academic experience spot these as rubbish, does say something about experience really counting more than academia. Maybe the universities are also staffed by people who have no idea? Somebody somewhere thinks that the internet is magic and full of accurate data source- ha!
  7. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    The only thing that resulted from me attempting to take this survey, was the 7 minutes deducted from my life that I'll never get back. ;)

    I have no problems with the idea of a survey. It's just that I've never seen one that isn't skewed to some degree; asymmetric questions, the surveyor leading the surveyed to predetermined conclusion(s), or even giving questions in an order that isn't fluid, even some with questions that are very often irrelevant... all of these things are common in the majority of surveys that I've seen.

    The other ever-present feature, the all-too-common parameter that seems to appear on 99% of any surveys I've ever seen - is the box at the bottom of the questions that is titled "All of the above" ....

    This option alone can destroy data.

    And then, there are those surveys - such as the one that the OP provided a link to - that won't let you answer the way you want to.

    I don't mind helping, but please, at the very least, provide a survey system that works.

    Better yet, know what questions to ask and how to present them - before you ask them.
    Space likes this.
  8. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    It is very true that you can make a Survey say anything depending on the questions and how they have been written.
    So what do we do ?? Take a Survey only if we could rewrite the questions ?
    Refuse all Survey on this forum ?
  9. paulears

    paulears Well-Known Member

    Do the surveys, if they interest you, but point out the potential problems the data will cause - those that hate them, can just ignore them. One good one restores faith, but is just a rarity!

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