Fans are main components e.g. in heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems for vehicles or buildings, cooling units of engines and electronic circuits, and household appliances such as kitchen exhaust hoods or vacuum cleaners. End-users increasingly demand a high sound quality of their system or device. The overall objective of a recent research project at the University of Siegen is a multidimensional assessment of fan sound quality.

In a first step an advanced novel semantic differential for the assessment of fan-related sounds is established with the aid of carefully designed jury tests. Eventually, this semantic differential is employed for sound quality jury tests of fans in kitchen exhaust hoods, heat pumps and air purifiers as a first case. Finally, a prediction model is suggested, which relates the outcome from the jury tests to objective metrics.

A principal component analysis is carried out and yields five main assessment criteria with 23 relevant adjective scales. The results show that the perceived sound quality of fan systems is mainly determined by the loudness and tonality of the sound. The spectral content (represented by the sharpness) as well as the time structure (represented by the roughness) have no significant impact on perceived sound quality of the fan systems investigated.

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