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Judging the Speech Intelligibility of Large Rooms via Computerized Audible Simulations

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An audible simulation system has been developed which can simulate over headphones the sound field that a listener would hear from a sound system in a real room, based only on a computerized model of that system and room. This report describes the new system and the design of an experiment to test its ability to simulate the conditions responsible for speech intelligibility. The new simulation system is composed of three parts: a software program to predict the squared impulse response at a receiver location, software to convert the squared impulse response into binaural impulse responses, and hardware to convolve the binaural impulse responses with audio program material. The simulation system is capable of accounting for virtually all of the reflections and reverberation present in large rooms. The verification experiment, intended to begin the process of characterizing the accuracy of the audible simulation system, is partly complete. The objective of the experiment is to compare speech intelligibility scores obtained in a typical auditorium with those obtained using the new system simulating that same auditorium. Intermediate results show that subject-based speech intelligibility tests, conducted both in the auditorium and over the simulation system, yield scores with a high degree of precision over a wide variety of conditions for transmission of speech.

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AES - Audio Engineering Society