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Loudspeakers, Reflections, and Rooms

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[Feature] The way in which loudspeakers interact with rooms has been the subject of study for many years, and the question of whether reflections can be perceptually benign or not is one that has aroused considerable debate. Rooms are a part of one’s natural perceptual experience, and there is evidence that the auditory perception process is finely evolved to concentrate primarily on first-arriving direct sounds. This has allowed humans to learn to survive in an acoustic environment filled with distracting reflections. Toole, for example, reviews the topic of loudspeakers and rooms in a recent paper in this journal (June 2006), and among his conclusions lies the suggestion that reflections may not always be the devil they are sometimes thought to be. Further evidence suggests that it matters whether reflections are spectrally distorted or not and that it only becomes possible to ignore them when they are sufficiently similar to the direct sound to be recognized as a repetition of such. There is also the question of whether room correction or adaptation is necessary for loudspeakers, as there is an increasing interest in systems that attempt to compensate for the effects of the room at low frequencies using signal processing. One needs to know just how much correction, if any, is desirable. In this article we summarize recent papers in the field that were presented at recent AES conferences and conventions.

JAES Volume 56 Issue 5 pp. 394-400; May 2008
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AES - Audio Engineering Society