Hear, Hear! Psychoacoustics and Subjective Evaluation
[Feature] The field of psychoacoustics covers a multitude of topics concerned with human perception of sound. There is a “hard” or classical branch that deals in threshold detection, masking, loudness, and other low-level phenomena; then there is a “softer” branch that deals with the higher-level cognitive aspects of sound perception, including the ways in which we describe and evaluate aspects of sound quality. The classical branch typically employs relatively simple, laboratory-controlled test stimuli such as tones, clicks, and noises in order to find out fundamental things about the hearing process. The sound quality branch tends to be more interested in ecological signals such as music, speech, and environmental sounds. These are harder to control and make consistent, but they offer the possibility of finding out about the way we behave toward sound in richer, “real world” situations.
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