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On the Behavior of Listeners to Stereophonic Sound Reproduction and the Consequences for the Theory of Sound Perception in a Stereophonic Sound Field

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Common theories of sound perception in a stereophonic sound field normally assume a fixed head of the listener at a fixed location with respect to the loudspeakers. Furthermore, they are based on a simple relationship between stimulus and sensation, the so-called hearing event, without regarding the general context. Experiments on sound localization have shown that the location of hearing events strongly depends on pre- and sometimes post-sensations with respect to the actual stimulus. Records of the movement of listeners' head and body while listening to stereophonic sound reproduction show that the assumption of a fixed listener is far removed from reality. Taking into account this fact, the common theory of sound localization in a stereophonic sound field leads to the absurd consequence that the perceived location of sound sources must move or jump due to the moving of the listeners' head and/or body; in addition, the timbre of sound sources would also be altered. A combination of two theories of hearing, one concerning the phenomenon of In Head Localization, the other one concerning the localization in superimposed sound fields as created by two or more loudspeakers, can explain the above mentioned discrepancies. The design and results of special experiments to sustain the reliability of these new assumptions on the mechanism of listening in a stereophonic field will be reported.

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