One of the major unresolved questions in loudspeaker design is that of the most desirable directivity index for listening in normally reverberant rooms. There are two aspects to this: the polar pattern of the loudspeaker, and how it varies with frequency. This paper describes a set of experiments of novel form which enabled us to vary the reverberant sound power and spectral balance without affecting the direct sound at the listening position. In this way it was possible to experiment withy changes in the direct/reverberant ratio and draw some tentative conclusions which bear on this vexing question. In particular, it appears that neither the direct sound alone nor the reverberant sound alone but rather some combination of the two determines the perceived spectral balance. The loudspeaker's directivity index thus does contribute to what one hears.
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