Comparison of Sounding of Musical Fragments That Differ in the Way of Encoding



In the experimental study, peculiarities of perception and subjective evaluation of difference of two digital sound formats (WAV and mр3) were compared. The two ways of encoding were applied to nine musical fragments, differing in the type of musical instruments and presence or absence of human voice. In the three experimental series, a paired comparison procedure was used. In each of the stimulus pairs, one and the same musical fragment encoded in two different formats was presented. In the first series, participants had to choose within the pair of sounds the one they “liked more”. In the second series, they chose the one which they perceived to be the “more natural”. In the third series, participants verbally described the differences they perceived between the sounds. In addition, in all of the three series participants evaluated the difference between the two sound formats by means of the 8-point scale. The results showed the influence of the type of musical fragments and the level of participants musical education on preference choices and the value of the perceived difference between compared soundings. In general, the WAV sound recordings were preferred more often than the mр3 ones. This tendency was more pronounced in the participants who have musical education than in those who lacked it. There was a special group of participants who identified the sounds recorded in the WAV format as the “liked more” and the ones recorded in the mр3 format as the “more natural”. Analysis of the verbal descriptions showed the existence of various criteria used by participants when making the choice between sounds in the various comparison situations.

General Information

Keywords: auditory perception, perceived sound quality, sound comparison, verbalization, encoding of sound, acoustic environment

Journal rubric: Psychology of Perception

For citation: Nosulenko V.N., Starikova I.V. Comparison of Sounding of Musical Fragments That Differ in the Way of Encoding. Eksperimental'naâ psihologiâ = Experimental Psychology (Russia), 2009. Vol. 2, no. 3, pp. 19–34. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


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Information About the Authors

Valeriy N. Nosulenko, Doctor of Psychology, Chief Researcher, Laboratory of Cognitive Processes and Mathematical Psychology, Institute of Psychology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Chief Researcher, Institute of Experimental Psychology, Moscow State University of Psychology and Education, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:

Irina V. Starikova, Laboratory Assistant, Center for Expeimental Psychology, Moscow State University of Psychology and Education, Moscow, Russia, e-mail:



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