A recent “Sound Matters” study was carried out by Neuro-Insight in New York which involved over 100 men and women age 18-35 who use mobile phones and tablet PCs regularly for mobile entertainment. The study was in order to determine whether audio quality or video quality triggered more significant reactions in the brain. The test group was shown 4 video clips with varying audio and video quality settings. All content was viewed on a tablet with each user wearing earbuds. Next, neuro-reactions were measured for each viewer using a proprietary technology Neuro-Insight developed. The data was analyzed using five different metrics:
- Long-term memory encoding: A measure of how much the brain is remembering
- Engagement: A measure of content’s personal relevance
- The Hedonic Index: A measure that equates broadly to how likeable an experience is
- Emotional Intensity: The strength of any emotional response
- Attention: Measures how much visual attention is being paid to the content
After the testing was completed, the study found that switching to DTS Headphone:X from standard-quality audio generated an average increase of 42% more activity in the Hedonic Index. This demonstrated a greater enjoyment of the content by the test subject. What surprised us the most, however, was that the biggest measured increase in enjoyment was found when DTS’ Headphone:X audio was added to medium quality video. This yielded a 66% spike. That could be construed to mean that there is a minimum amount of video quality required, but then audio becomes the most important metric in the enjoyment in video consumption.
The tests showed that adding DTS Headphone:X audio to any video resulted in more enjoyment, but not as much as the base medium-quality video. Low-quality video yielded a 29 percent increase, and the same processing added to high-quality video yielded a 35% increase in enjoyment. Being a skeptic, I wondered if this weren’t all obvious, but they did due diligence in showing all the data, including what happened when audio quality was kept the same and video quality was adjusted. According to Neuro-Insight’s results, changing the video quality across the varying audio spectrums yielded only a 1% or less change across the board.
This actually makes sense since audio can affect our perception of what’s happening in the video, while better quality video does little to affect our perception of the storyline or emotions and action occurring on-screen. The conclusions Neuro-Insight reached put forth that only enhanced audio made any sort of significant statistical difference in enjoyment across all mobile video platforms. Essentially, the conclusion reached showed that mobile users prefer to “watch” video with their ears.
“Headphone:X audio was the clear winner in this study. When we switched to enhanced audio, the patterns of brain activity seen were similar to those seen when we eat something we find enjoyable, hear a funny joke or, for that matter, anticipating the ‘high’ associated with an addictive drug. Increasing the video quality did not achieve the same results or reactions. The results we saw were groundbreaking. Audio is a key component of an audio-visual experience. Mobile users simply liked the content a lot more with Headphone:X audio even when the video quality was not as high, as compared to seeing the same visual stimulus with higher quality video but ordinary audio.”Pranav Yadav, CEO of Neuro-Insight
What’s nice about Headphone:X is that the audio enhanced by it takes up very little bandwidth. It can be delivered at a much lower bandwidth and technology cost than what you’d pay to generate higher quality video. That means that mobile applications and platforms have an opportunity to re-balance their use of bandwidth to take advantage of enhanced audio while saving users and content providers money, and—if you believe the study—will increase user enjoyment of the content in the process.
DTS Headphone:X Features
- Recreates an authentic, spatially accurate 3D home theater experience over any headphones
- Supports 2 channel, 5.1, 7.1 and 11.1 channel audio
- Personalized audio application to provide the consumer with a choice on how they listen and share it across devices
- Out-of-the-box calibration for a range of headphones
- Post Processing enhancements and device level tuning for headphone and speaker drivers
- Tightly integrated with DTS-HD and DTS-HD Master Audio
DTS Headphone:X contains the following elements
- Headphone:X allows content owners, providers and OEMs to capture or configure the characteristics of a specific mixing studio with customized speaker layouts optimized for gaming, movie or music content.
- Once created, the room profile is then attached to movie, music or gaming content as part of the DTS-HD encoding process.
- Headphone:X provides out-of-the-box tuning and calibration for any headset. DTS is currently collaborating with headset manufacturers to ensure their products are optimized to preserve both the artistic intent of the content and the desired characteristics of the headphones.
- We all hear differently and have different audio characteristics that effect how we listen to content. Headphone:X provides consumers with an audio control application enabling users to simply create and store a personal sonic profile, containing information about their audio preferences.
- The device solution for Headphone:X contains both application and system level audio processing to enhance the playback of all content on the device, for both headphone and speaker playback.
For more information, check out http://www.headphonex.com