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Temporal and Spectral Masking Effects of Harmonic Complex Tones

Thresholds of a 1200-Hz test tone, masked by a harmonic complex tone (fundamental frequency 40 Hz), are reported. The frequency components are added in sinephase with amplitudes decreasing as 1/f. The resulting waveforms have a high-peak temporal envelope structure. The spectral structure of the masker is altered by omitting either the low or the high frequency components. The measured thresholds have a pronounced maximum if the masker cut-off frequency coincides with the test signal frequency. By varying the masker level it is possible, because of the ear's nonlinearities, to separate effects of temporal and spectral resolution.

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