Computing and Library Services - delivering an inspiring information environment

Assessing the quality of low frequency audio reproduction in critical listening spaces

Stephenson, Matthew (2012) Assessing the quality of low frequency audio reproduction in critical listening spaces. Doctoral thesis, University of Salford.

[img] PDF
Restricted to Registered users only

Download (2MB)


The quality of low frequency audio reproduction in small spaces has always been problematic. For some time, methods have been suggested in order to optimise this reproduction. Many such methods have been based upon objective metrics which remain unproven from a subjective perspective. Whilst perception has been studied, this thesis identifies a research gap for more thorough testing. A series of listening tests has been conducted, with virtual rooms auralised and presented over headphones in order to isolate specific modal parameters and allow efficient collection of subjective response from many listening environments. The work presented searches for optimal values and perceptual thresholds of three parameters - modal spacing, density and decay. Results show that optimal spacings and densities may only be defined where assumptions are made which are not valid in realistic listening spaces. Thresholds of modal decay have been defined, which are considered valid re- gardless of stimuli or replay level. These are around 0.2 seconds for frequencies above 100Hz, and increase sharply below this point to around 0.85 seconds at 32Hz. Through the testing of these parameters, it is shown that whilst discrimination between two rooms is usually a simple task, this does not reveal the underlying repro- duction quality. The perceived quality of the room response is of great importance, and new experiments assess this quality using a paired comparison method which provides a simpler subjective task than direct scaling methods. A set of descriptors is elicited which can be used to evaluate low frequency audio. These descriptors - articulation, resonance and bass energy - are used to assess the impact of three room parameters on perceived reproduction quality. Room response metrics are also eva- luated for perceived quality. Results reveal that modal decay is a primary indicator of quality, with shorter decays producing rooms with a higher perceived quality of reproduction.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: low frequency, bass, perception, thresholds, descriptive analysis
Subjects: T Technology > T Technology (General)
Schools: School of Computing and Engineering > Music Technology and Production Research Group
School of Computing and Engineering
References: Allen, J. B. and Berkley, D. A. (1979). Image Method for Efficiently Simulating Small-Room Acoustics. J. Acoust. Soc. Am, 65(4):943 – 950. Allison, R. F. (1976). The Sound Field in Home Listening Rooms, ii. J. Audio. Eng. Soc, 24(1). Antsalo, P., Karjalainen, M., Makivirta, A., and Valimaki, V. (2003). “Comparison of Modal Equaliser Design Methods”. In Proc. of the 114th AES Convention, Amsterdam. Avis, M. (2000). “The Active Control of Low Frequency Room Modes”. Doctoral thesis, University of Salford. Avis, M. R. (2001). IIR Bi-Quad Controllers for Low Frequency Acoustic Resonance. In Proc. of the 111th AES Convention. Avis, M. R., Fazenda, B. M., and Davies, W. J. (2007). “Thresholds of Detection for Changes to the Q-factor of Low Frequency Modes in Listening Environments”. J. Audio Eng. Soc, 55(7-8):611–622. Ballagh, K. O. (1983). “Optimum Loudspeaker Placement Near Reflecting Planes”. J. Audio Eng. Soc, 31(12):931–935. Baskind, A. and Polack, J. (2000). Sound Power Radiated by Sources in Diffuse Field. In Proc. of the 108th AES Convention, Paris. Bech, S. (1999). “Methods for Subjective Evaluation of Spatial Characteristics of Sound”. In Proc.of the AES 16th International Conf., pages 487–504, Rovaniemi. Bech, S. (2002). “Requirements for Low-Frequency Sound Reproduction, Part i: The Audibility of Changes in Passband Amplitude Ripple and Lower System Cutoff Frequency and Slope”. J. Audio Eng. Soc, 50(7-8):564–580. Bech, S. and Zacharov, N. (2006). The Perceptual Audio Evaluation: Theory, Method and Application. WileyBlackwell. Beranek, L. (2003). “Subjective Rank Orderings and Acoustical Measurements for Fifty-Eight Concert Halls”. Acta Acustica, 89:494–508. Berg, J. and Rumsey, F. (2006). “Identification of Quality Attributes of Spatial Audio by Repertory Grid Technique”. J. Audio Eng. Soc, 54(5):365. Bhatt, N. B. (1939). Effect of an Absorbing Wall on the Decay of Normal Frequencies. J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 11:160. Blaszak, M. A. (2007). Acoustic Design of Small Rectangular Rooms: Normal Frequency Statistics. Applied Acoustics. Bolt, R. H. (1939a). Frequency Distribution of Eigentones in a Three-Dimensional Continuum. J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 10(3):228–234. Bolt, R. H. (1939b). Normal Modes of Vibration in Room Acoustics: Angular Distribution Theory. J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 11(1):74–79. Bolt, R. H. (1946). Note on Normal Frequency Statistics for Rectangular Rooms. J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 18:130. Bonello, O. J. (1981). “A New Criterion for the Distribution of Normal Room Modes”. J. Audio Eng. Soc, 19:597–606. Botteldooren, D. (1995). Finite-Difference Time-Domain Simulation of Low Frequency Room Acoustic Problems. J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 98:3302. Bucklein, R. (1981). “The Audibility of Frequency Response Irregularities”. J. Audio Eng. Soc, 29(3):126–131. Celestinos, A. and Nielsen, S. (2008a). “Controlled Acoustic Bass System (CABS) A Method to Achieve Uniform Sound Field Distribution at Low Frequencies in Rectangular Rooms”. J. Audio Eng. Soc, 56(11):915–931. Celestinos, A. and Nielsen, S. (2008b). Low-Frequency Loudspeaker-Room Simulation Using Finite Differences in the Time Domain - Part 1: Analysis. J. Audio Eng. Soc, 56(10):772–786. Ciskowski, R. D. and Brebbia, C. A. (1991). Boundary Element Methods in Acoustics. Springer. Conrad, R. (1964). Acoustic Confusions in Immediate Memory. British Journal of Psychology, 55:79–80. Cox, T. and D’Antonio, P. (2009). Acoustic Absorbers and Diffusers: Theory, Design and Application. Taylor & Francis. Cox, T. J., D’Antonio, P., and Avis, M. R. (2004). “Room Sizing and Optimization at Low Frequencies”. J. Audio Eng. Soc, 52(6):640–651. Crowder, R. and Morton, J. (1969). Precatorgorical Acoustic Storage. Perception and Psychophysics, 5:367. Darlington, P. and Avis, M. R. (1996). Time/Frequency Response of a Room with Active Acoustic Absorption. In Proc. of the 100th AES Convention, New York. Davis, D. and Patronis, E. (2006). Sound System Engineering, Third Edition. Focal Press, 3 edition. Elliott, S. J. and Nelson, P. A. (1989). “Multiple-point Equalization in a Room using Adaptive Digital Filters”. J. Audio Eng. Soc, 37(11):899–907. Elliott, S. J. and Nelson, P. A. (1995). “Active Control of Sound”. Academic Press, Cambridge. Everest, F. (2001). The Master Handbook of Acoustics. McGraw-Hill, New York ;London, 4th ed. edition. Farnsworth, K. D., Nelson, P. A., and Elliott, S. J. (1985). Equalization of Room Acoustic Responses over Spatially Distributed Regions. In Proc. Inst. Acoust. Fazenda, B., Avis, M. R., and Davies, W. J. (2005). “Perception of Modal Distri- bution Metrics in Critical Listening Spaces-Dependence on Room Aspect Ratios”. J. Audio Eng. Soc, 53(12):1128–1141. Fazenda, B., Holland, K., and Newell, P. (2006a). Modulation Transfer Function as a Measure of Room Low Frequency Performance. Proc. Inst. Acoust. (UK), 28(8). Fazenda, B. M. (2004). The Perception of Room Modes. Doctoral thesis, University of Salford. Fazenda, B. M., Avis, M., and Davies, W. J. (2006b). “Comments on ‘Perception of Modal Distribution Metrics in Critical Listening Spaces - Dependence on Room Aspect Ratios’ ”. J. Audio Eng. Soc, 54(5):412–413. Fazenda, B. M. and Davies, W. J. (2004). “The Views of Recording Studio Control Room Users”. Proc. Inst. Acoust., 23(8). Fletcher, H. and Munson, W. A. (1933). Loudness, Its Definition, Measurement and Calculation. J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 5(2):82–108. Fog, C. L. and Pederson, T. H. (1999). Tools For Product Optimisation. Human Centered Processes. Fryer, P. (1977). Loudspeaker Distortions, Can We Hear Them? Hi-Fi News Rec. Rev, 22:51–56. Fryer, P. A. (1975). Inter-Modulation Distortion Listening Tests. In Proc. of the 50th AES Conference, volume 23, page 402. Gabrielsson, A. (1990). Perceived Sound Quality of Reproductions With Different Frequency Responses and Sound Levels. J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 88(3):1359. Gabrielsson, A. (1991). Loudspeaker Frequency Response and Perceived Sound Quality. J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 90(2):707. Gabrielsson, A. and Sjogren, H. (1979). “Perceived Sound Quality of Sound-Reproducing Systems”. J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 65(4):1019–1033. Geddes, E. R. and Porter, J. C. (1988). Finite Element Approximation for Low-Frequency Sound in a Room With Absorption. J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 83:1431. Goldberg (2005). “A Listening Test System For Measuring The Threshold of Audibility of Temporal Decays”. Proc. Inst. Acoust., 27(5). Goldberg, A. (2006). Measuring the Threshold of Audibility of Temporal Decays. In Proc. of the 120th AES Convention. Goldberg, A. (2009). Windowed Sine Bursts: In Search of Optimal Test Signals for Detecting the Threshold of Audibility of Temporal Decays. In Proc. of the 126th AES Convention, Munich. Grey, J. M. (1977). “Multidimensional Perceptual Scaling of Musical Timbres”. J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 61(5):1270–1277. Groh, A. R. (1974). “High-Fidelity Sound System Equalization by Analysis of Stan- ding Waves”. J. Audio Eng. Soc, 22(10):795–799. Harris, L., Holland, K., and Newell, P. (2006). Subjective Assessment of the Modula- tion Transfer Function as a Means for Quantifying Low-Frequency Sound Quality. Proc. Inst. Acoust., 28(8). Harris, L. K. R. and Holland, K. (2008). Evaluating Loudspeaker Reproduction Qua- lity at Low Frequencies: Optimisation of a Music-Focused Modulation Transfer Function Technique. In 24th Inst. of Acoustics Reproduced Sound Conference. Hatziantoniou, P., Mourjopoulos, J., and Worley, J. (2005). “Subjective Assessments of Real-Time Room Dereverberation and Loudspeaker Equalization”. In Proc. of the 118th AES Convention. Herzog, P., Soto-Nicolas, A., and Guery, F. (1995). Passive and Active Control of the Low-frequency Modes in a Small Room. In Proc. of the 95th AES Convention. Hill, A. J. and Hawksford, M. O. (2010). Wide-Area Psychoacoustic Correction for Problematic Room Modes Using Non-Linear Bass Synthesis. In Proc. of the 129th AES Convention. Hill, T. and Lewicki, P. (2006). Statistics: Methods and Applications: A Comprehensive Reference for Science, Industry, and Data Mining. StatSoft, Inc. Holland, K. R., Newell, P. R., Castro, S. V., and Fazenda, B. (2006). Excess Phase Effects and Modulation Transfer Function Degradation in Relation to Loudspeakers and Rooms Intended for the Quality Control Monitoring of Music. Proc. Inst. Acoust., 27(8). Holland, K. R., Newell, P. R., and Mapp, P. (2004). Modulation Depth as a Measure of Loudspeaker Low-Frequency Performance. Proc. Inst. Acoust. Houtgast, T. and Steeneken, H. J. M. (1985). A Review of the MTF Concept in Room Acoustics and its Use for Estimating Speech Intelligibility in Auditoria. J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 77:1069–1077. Howard and Angus (2001). Acoustics and Psychoacoustics. Focal Press, Oxford ;;Boston, 2nd ed. edition. Huang, Y., Di, G., Zhu, Y., Hong, Y., and Zhang, B. (2008). Pair-Wise Comparison Experiment on Subjective Annoyance Rating of Noise Samples With Different Fre- quency Spectrums But Same A-Weighted Level. Applied Acoustics, 69(12):1205– 1211. Ingard, K. U. (1994). Notes on Sound Absorption Technology. Noise Control Foundation, 1st edition. ITU (1994). “ITU-BS.1116 - Method for the Subjective Assessment of Small Impairments in Audio Systems Including Multichannel Sound Systems”. Technical report, ITU, Geneva, Switzerland. ITU (2006). “ITU-BS.1770 Algorithms to Measure Audio Programme Loudness and True-Peak Audio Level”. Technical report, ITU. Karjalainen, M., Antsalo, P., Makivirta, A., and Valimaki, V. (2004). “Perception of Temporal Decay of Low-frequency Room Modes”. In Proc. of the 116th AES Convention, Berlin. Karjalainen, M., Esquef, P. A., Antsalo, P., Makivirta, A., and Valimaki, V. (2002). Frequency-Zooming ARMA Modeling of Resonant and Reverberant Systems. J. Audio Eng. Soc, 50(12):1012–1029. Kinsler, L. E., Frey, A. R., Coppens, A. B., and Sanders, J. V. (2000). Fundamentals of Acoustics. John Wiley & Sons, 4th edition edition. Kuttruff, H. (1991). Room Acoustics. Elsevier Applied Science, London and New York, 3rd edition. Kuttruff, H. (2007). Acoustics: An Introduction. Routledge. Lorho, G. (2005). “Individual Vocabulary Profiling of Spatial Enhancement Systems for Stereo Headphone Reproduction”. In Proc. of the 119th AES Conference, New York. Louden, M. M. (1971). “Dimension Ratios of Rectangular Rooms with Good Dis- tribution of Eigentones”. Acustica, 24(5):101–04. Maa, D. Y. (1939). The Distribution of Eigentones in a Rectangular Chamber at Lower Frequency Ranges. J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 10:235–238. Makivirta, A., Antsalo, P., Karjalainen, M., and Valimaki, V. (2003). “Modal Equa- lization of Loudspeaker-Room Responses at Low Frequencies”. J. Audio Eng. Soc, 51(5):324–343. Martin, G. and Bech, S. (2005). Attribute Identification and Quantification in Automotive Audio-Part 1: Introduction to the Descriptive Analysis Technique. In Proc. of the 1218th AES Convention, volume 6360. Mattila, V. V. (2001). “Descriptive Analysis of Speech Quality in Mobile Communi- cations: Descriptive Language Development and External Preference Mapping”. In Proc. of the 113th AES Conference. Moore, B. C. J. (2003). An Introduction to the Psychology of Hearing. Academic Press Inc, 5th edition. Moore, B. C. J. and Tan, C. (2003). Perceived naturalness of spectrally distorted speech and music. J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 114(1):408. Morse, P. M. C. (1936). Vibration and Sound. McGraw-Hill New York, st edition. Morse, P. M. C. (1948). Vibration and Sound. McGraw-Hill New York, 2nd edition. Mourjopoulos, J. (1985). On the Variation and Invertibility of Room Impulse Res- ponse Functions. Journal of Sound and Vibration, 102(2):217–228. Mourjopoulos, J. and Paraskevas, M. A. (1991). Pole and zero Modeling of Room Transfer Functions. Journal of Sound and Vibration, 146(2):281–302. Nelisse, H. and Nicolas, J. (1997). Characterization of a Diffuse Field in a Reverbe- rant Room. J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 101:3517. Newell, P. (2007). Recording Studio Design. Focal Press. Olive, S. E., Schuck, P. L., Ryan, J. G., Sally, S. L., and Bonneville, M. E. (1997). “The Detection Thresholds of Resonances at Low Frequencies”. J. Audio Eng. Soc, 45(3):116–127. Olive, S. E., Schuck, P. L., Sally, S. L., and Bonneville, M. E. (1994). The Effects of Loudspeaker Placement on Listener Preference Ratings. J. Audio Eng. Soc, 42(9):651–669. Olson, H. and May, E. (1953). Electronic sound absorber. J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 25(4):829. Osipov, A., Mees, P., and Vermeir, G. (1997). Low-frequency airborne sound trans- mission through single partitions in buildings. Applied Acoustics, 52(3-4):273–288. Pedersen, J. A. (2003). “Adjusting a Loudspeaker to its Acoustic Environment: The ABC System”. In Proc. of the 115th AES Convention. Pierce, A. (1989). Acoustics: An Introduction to Its Physical Principles and Appli- cations. Acoustical Society of America. Rasch, R. and Plomp, R. (1999). The Perception of Musical Tones. Academic Press Elsevier, 2nd edition. Robinson, D. W. and Dadson, R. S. (1956). A re-determination of the equal-loudness relations for pure tones. British Journal of Applied Physics, 7(5):166–181. Rumsey, F. (2004). New Horizons in Listening Test Design. J. Audio Eng. Soc, 52(1-2):65–73. Santillan, A. O. (2001). “Spatially Extended Sound Equalization in Rectangular Rooms”. J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 110:1989. Schroeder, M. R. (1965). New Method of Measuring Reverberation Time. J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 37:409. Schroeder, M. R. (1978). Modulation Transfer Functions: Definition and Measurement. IEEE Trans. Acoust. Speech, 99(5):3240–3241. Schroeder, M. R. (1987). “Statistical Parameters of the Frequency Response Curves of Large Rooms”. J. Audio Eng. Soc, 35(5):299–305. Schroeder, M. R. (1996). The “Schroeder Frequency” Revisited. J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 99(5):3240–3241. Simone, G., Olive, S. E., and Welti, T. (2009). “The Effect of Whole-Body Vibration on Preferred Bass Equalization in Automotive Audio Systems”. In Proc. of the 127th AES Convention, Berlin. Skålevik, M. (2011). “Schroeder Frequency Revisited ”. In Proc. of Forum Acousti- cum, Aalborg. Soulodre, G. A. and Bradley, J. S. (1995). Subjective Evaluation of New Room Acoustic Measures. J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 98(1):294–301. Stefanakis, N., Sarris, J., and Cambourakis, G. (2008a). Source Placement for Equalization in Small Enclosures. J. Audio Eng. Soc, 56(5):357. Stefanakis, N., Sarris, J., Cambourakis, G., and Jacobsen, F. (2008b). Power Output Regularization in Global Sound Equalization. J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 123(1):33–36. Stone, H. and Sidel, J. L. (2004). Sensory Evaluation Practices. Academic Press. Taylor, M. M. and Creelman, C. D. (1967). PEST: Efficient Estimates on Probability Functions. J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 41(4A):782–787. Taylor, M. M., Forbes, S. M., and Creelman, C. D. (1983). PEST Reduces Bias in Forced Choice Psychophysics. J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 74:1367–1374. Thurstone, L. L. (1927). “A Law of Comparative Judgment”. Psychological review, 34(4):273–286. Toole, F. (2008). Sound Reproduction: Loudspeakers and Rooms. Focal Press. Toole, F. E. (1986). Loudspeaker Measurements and Their Relationship to Listener Preferences: Part 1. J. Audio Eng. Soc, 34(4):227–235. Toole, F. E. (2006). Loudspeakers and Rooms for Sound Reproduction - A Scientific Review. J. Audio Eng. Soc, 54(6):451–476. Toole, F. E. and Olive, S. E. (1988). The Modification of Timbre by Resonances: Perception and Measurement. J. Audio Eng. Soc, 36(3):122–141. Vanderkooy, J. (2007). Multi-Source Room Equalization: Reducing Room Reso- nances. In Proc. of the 123rd AES Convention, New York. Wald, A. (1947). Sequential Analysis. John Wiley & Sons Inc. Walker, R. (1996). “Optimum Dimension Ratios for Small Rooms”. In Proc. of the 100th AES Convention. Wankling, M. R. and Fazenda, B. M. (2009). “Subjective Validity of Figures of Merit for Room Aspect Ratio Design”. In Proc. of the 126th AES Convention, Munich. Weisser, A. and Rindel, H. (2006). Evaluation of Sound Quality, Boominess, and Boxiness in Small Rooms. J. Audio Eng. Soc, 54(6):495–511. Welti, T. (2009). Investigation of Bonello Criteria for Use in Small Room Acoustics. In Proc. of the 127th AES Convention, New York. Welti, T. and Devantier, A. (2006). “Low-Frequency Optimization Using Multiple Subwoofers”. J. Audio Eng. Soc, 54(5):347. Zacharov, N., Bech, S., and
Depositing User: Matthew Stephenson
Date Deposited: 18 Jul 2013 15:08
Last Modified: 28 Aug 2021 19:51


Downloads per month over past year

Repository Staff Only: item control page

View Item View Item

University of Huddersfield, Queensgate, Huddersfield, HD1 3DH Copyright and Disclaimer All rights reserved ©