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Perception of modal distribution in critical listening spaces

By Bruno Fazenda, M.R. Avis, W.J. Davies and F. Jacobsen


Critical listening rooms, like recording studio control rooms or listening rooms, are carefully designed\ud to provide the listener with the most accurate listening environment. It is well known that in small\ud rooms resonant modes may occur, well separated in the lower frequency range, and cause some\ud amplification or attenuation of sound at certain frequencies. This may distract from the optimum\ud perception and the correct judgement of the reproduced sound. The modal distribution is directly\ud associated with the dimensional aspect ratios of the room. There are in literature various design metrics\ud that assess the distribution of these modes in frequency and help the designer to decide on room\ud dimensions that avoid worst situations and aim for an “optimum” distribution of the eigenfrequencies.\ud The purpose of this study is to identify the subjective perception of two general types of metrics, one\ud based on modal spacing and the other based on pressure response, and to attempt to classify their\ud perceptual importance compared to other factors associated with the perception of room modes.\ud Tests were carried out to evaluate differences between three “virtual” rooms that score extreme\ud classifications in each of the metrics. The results of the tests indicate that room aspect ratios do have\ud some effect on the perception of the modal distribution, but the effect is very much dependent on the\ud frequency content of the original signal. This indicates that a room that scores well using a certain\ud metric may still suffer from problems if the frequency content of the driving signal matches one\ud particularly strong modal artefact

Topics: TA, QC
Year: 2004
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