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Phase Difference and Sound Image Localization

Psychoacoustical tests on sound image localization versus phase-difference between two channels have been carried out. Under conditions of the experiments, single-frequency theories, which have been proposed so far, do not always predict the direction of the sound image of real sources. The results of our experiments show that for equal strength signals there exist some definite relationships between sound image localization and phase difference. In-phase signals produce a sharp centrally located image. As phase difference becomes larger, the sound image gradually moves int he direction of the loudspeaker to which the leading phase signal is applied, and the distribution of the directions given in the listener's responses is slowly dispersed, until the phase difference of about 90 degrees is reached. Above 90 degrees, the distributor is more dispersed and localization becomes uncertain. At 180 degrees, localization is almost completely uncertain. Regardless of the type of sound source, the overall tendencies of localization versus phase difference are similar, except for a sound source of impulsive nature.

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JAES Volume 21 Issue 10 pp. 792-797; December 1973
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