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Discrimination of Auditory Source Focus for Musical Instrument Sounds with Varying Low-Frequency Cross Correlation in Multichannel Loudspeaker Reproduction

This study examined the changes in auditory spatial impression associated with changes in signal incoherence within the low-frequency portion of a multichannel loudspeaker reproduction. Multichannel recordings were made in reverberant concert settings of single notes played on musical instruments with significant low-frequency energy. A signal processing method was then developed to manipulate low-frequency correlation in the pre-recorded material while maintaining high sound quality; subsequent listening tests measured the perceptual effects of varying low frequency correlation on otherwise identical recordings of low-pitch, single-note performances on musical instruments such as the bass violin. For cutoff frequencies ranging from 200 Hz down to 63 Hz, the effects of cutoff frequency on discrimination thresholds were measured for changes in low-frequency correlation using a two-alternative forced-choice task. Listeners also made forced-choice identifications regarding auditory source focus. Results indicated that both discrimination and identification performance was degraded in the presence of the higher-frequency portion of the musical stimuli.

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