Sound quality: Perception vs. reality!

By Aga Oltarzewska

If we have ever met before, you may have noticed that I love to talk. Travelling around the world to give seminars on different domains of acoustics is a big part of my job… or at least was, until 2020 happened.
This is why we have decided to bring this webinar on one of my favorite topics, sound quality, online.

I do not want to spoil too much, so I will only show you a small sneak-preview of what we’ll be working on:

A vacuum or an electric car? Those tones are not easy to ignore.

If you decide to join me, please make sure to wear headphones!

Why sound quality?

The sound quality of a product can ultimately impact our decision to buy it or not. We perform certification tests to evaluate if household appliances, such as washing machines, fridges or a vacuum cleaners are not too loud, but they do not really require those products to sound good.

In this webinar I will discuss how to measure the sound of white goods in order to rate and evaluate their sound quality. I will also show you why sound pressure level is not always the right tool for that.

This is a second webinar in the sound quality series, if you haven’t watched Fundamentals of Sound quality (how we hear sounds), make sure to subscribe to that one too!

Objective analysis using sound quality metrics

Psychoacoustics is a branch of psychophysics related to the study of sound perception and audiology. There are many algorithms, some of them standardized, that attempt to describe and represent the reaction of the human auditory system towards different sounds. Words such as whine, squeak or rattle are rarely associated with a robust and good quality item. This is true for a hairdryer as much as for a car. I will cover metrics such as loudness, tonality, modulation, sharpness, fluctuation strength or articulation index.

This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at