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Measuring Perceived Distance of Violins—A Direct Scaling Test

Specific violins are attributed to be acoustically intimate. A blind test is designed to answer the question, whether such intimacy can be measured in terms of perceived distance. The perceived distance is measured on some 24 subjects in a blind listening test while two violins are played which have already revealed some unspecific differences in terms of acoustical intimacy. A professional musician plays the violins on discrete positions of a physical scale, while subjects guess the sound origin in a blind test. To explore test design options and violins a few parameters are randomized such as the physical room, the loudness and the duration of samples. Additionally, intermediate voice references and continuous pink noise are investigated on whether these would possibly boost perceptual differences between violins. Subjects are screened and selected by quality measures for unreliability, discrimination and disagreement. The test delivers general results for human listening, as well as results for the usability of the test design. In terms of the investigated violins, there is little evidence to support the presumed differences. In conclusion, the perceived physical distance is not a prominent component of the acoustical intimacy of a violin.

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