A User Study on User Experience of Spatial Audio in 360 Degree Music Videos
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With the continuous growth and improvements of visual displays and the high qualities easily accessible by consumers, a need for supporting audio formats grows as well. One of the growing trends over the past few years has been vir-tual reality and 360° video. Spatial audio provides enhanced perceptions of presence and immersion and thus is crucial to continuous success and ex-pansive VR and 360° applications. This study focuses on the perceptions of spatial audio in a 360° music video setting, and compares it to the perceptions of stereo audio; both using flat dis-play and head-mounted display. The approach in this thesis is to evaluate four different test conditions with each participant, and compare the results of each participant, as well as between the participants. The four scenarios consist of a music video watched twice on a flat display, once with spatial audio and once with stereo audio at no particular order. Then twice using a head mounted dis-play, once with spatial audio and another with stereo audio in no particular or-der. The test used evaluation forms with a 7-point Likert scale, in addition to semi-structured interviews. The interviews aim to gauge music listening habits and the impact they may have on spatial and stereo audio perceptions. The interviews also allow the participants to explicitly state their preference and why, thus providing a better look into the connections between all the different answers. The results show that spatial audio paired with a head mounted display scored the highest in all our metrics. However, the results from the interviews held af-ter the tests concluded showed less interest in becoming active users of spatial audio. Participants prefer the familiar experience for their day-to-day listening. The participants predominantly listen to music as a secondary task which works better with stereo audio and is unpleasant with spatial audio. Spatial au-dio needs to provide a higher value and serve in areas where stereo audio is found lacking. Future studies may focus on that as a topic of research to find the right audience and the right applications for spatial audio.