This paper demonstrates a physiological method whereby sonic distance and muddiness can be quantified through the detection of pitch fundamentals from the phase coherence of harmonics in the vocal formant range. The method allows the perceived direct/reverberant ratio of a performance or a recording to be determined from a single channel of a recording of speech or music, allowing quality assessments during actual performaces. Preferred values of the direct/reverberant ratios above 1000Hz obtained by this method are +3 to +6dB. This result has important consequences both for performance acoustics and recording.
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