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Perceptual Importance of the Number of Loudspeakers for Reproducing the Late Part of a Room Impulse Response in a Listening Room

A sound field generated by 16 loudspeakers in the horizontal plane was used as reference and the impairment introduced by using 8, 4 and 3 loudspeakers for reproducing the late part of the room impulse response was investigated using listening tests. Stimuli were synthesized from repetitive octave-band wide pulses that were convolved with room impulse responses, and tempo as well as octave-band center frequencies were varied. Results show generally a barely perceptible impairment. Increasing the tempo led to a larger impairment for all loudspeaker configurations and frequencies. The impairment depended on the number of loudspeakers at 8 kHz but not at 250 Hz or 1 kHz. The reverberation in the listening room, 0.12 - 0.20 s, might have masked fluctuations in interaural time differences that are the dominating cue for 250 Hz and 1 kHz. The reverberation time was, however, so short that it hardly influenced fluctuations in the interaural level differences, the dominating cue at 8 kHz.

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