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Room Reflections Misunderstood?

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In a domestic living space a 2-channel monopolar and a dipolar loudspeaker system are compared for perceived differences in their reproduction of acoustic events. Both sound surprisingly similar and that is further enhanced by extending dipole behavior to frequencies above 1.4 kHz. The increased bandwidth of reflections is significant for spatial impression. Measured steady-state frequency response and measured reflection patterns differ for the two systems, while perceived sound reproduction is nearly identical in terms of timbre, phantom image placement and sound stage width. The perceived depth in the recording is greater for the dipole loudspeaker. Auditory pattern recognition and precedence effects appear to explain these observations. Implications upon the design of loudspeakers, room treatment and room equalization are discussed.

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