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Design and Testing of a Graphical Mapping Tool for Analyzing Spatial Audio Scenes

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A computer-driven graphical user interface (GUI) was developed for the evaluation of spatial attributes of simple auditory scenes created by one, two and four loudspeakers. The GUI allows subjects to draw ellipses to represent locations from which they hear direct sound of the source and the indirect sound of the simulated room (reflections and/or reverberation). Ellipses were chosen rather than a free-drawing system for a variety of reasons, and overlayed response plots (so called density plots) were used to visualize the spatial hearing of subjects. The sensitivity and reliability of this tool used as the measure of listeners' impressions of space has been investigated and quantified through a series of tests. Within-subject GUI responses were found to be highly consistent, whereas between-subject responses showed more variation suggesting a subject related bias. Results indicate that listeners can reliably separate direct and simulated reverberant sound and indicate them independently and accurately using the system. Various loudspeaker configurations were also tested and the graphical elicitation tool demonstrated spatial differences between them with sufficient resolution.

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