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Anchor Effect in an Optimum Timbre Adjustment

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The quest for satisfaction with reproduced sound frequently involves real-time adjustments to the sound spectrum. Such adjustments are made in a variety of professional activities such as sound recording, acoustic design, and hearing-aid selection as well as in everyday listening situations. The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of the initial sound spectrum on the "optimum" sound spectrum adjusted by the listener. A single musical signal with different spectral envelopes was used. The listeners' task was to modify each sound spectrum to the form that maximized their artistic satisfaction. The optimum spectra adjusted by the listeners demonstrated that the listeners' adjustments were affected by the initial spectrum of the sound. It was hypothesized that the dependence ofthe optimum sound spectrum on the initial condition of presentation could be explained by an anchor effect of the initial sound spectrum.

JAES Volume 40 Issue 9 pp. 706-710; September 1992
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AES - Audio Engineering Society