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Visualizing Auditory Spatial Imagery of Multi-channel Audio

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To describe a multichannel audio experience in terms of its spatial features requires us to consider sound imagery in terms of precedent sound. We mean precedent sound to be that part of a phantom sound image that contains spatial information about the virtual sound source. We have developed and tested a Graphical User Interface (GUI) to allow a listener to describe where they hear both precedent and environment-related sound in an audio scene. The GUI has previously been used as a tool for describing where we hear the precedent sound in two-channel sound reproduction, and we now extend the experimental paradigm to investigate phantom imagery for a multichannel loudspeaker arrangement. We present a category system for describing the spatial sound attribute ``definition'', and have tested the GUI using 5 loudspeakers arranged according to BS-775 to replay multi-channel sound recordings of three different musical pieces (of which two were duets and one solo). Graduate Tonmeister students used the GUI to describe these sound scenes, and a variety of statistical analyses are used to visualize auditory spatial imagery.

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