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Perceptibility of Direction and Time Delay Errors in Subwoofer Reproduction

Large loudspeakers are needed for good bass response at high ground levels. To find aesthetically and acoustically acceptable placements for large loudspeakers is, however, difficult not only in a living room but also in larger spaces such as theaters and multipurpose halls. Separate subwoofers for the low frequency components of the sound may provide a solution to the problem in many cases. It is generally assumed that the human ear is not very sensitive to the directional and possibly also to the time delay errors of these components. Not much research has been done on this, however. This paper deals with a study of these phenomena. It turns out, among other things, that the directional errors are generally not perceptible, or at least not disturbing, when the upper frequency limit of the subwoofer channel is less than 200 Hz. Fairly small time delay errors, on the other hand, are perceptible and disturbing especially in the reproduction of speech. Music signals are, in many cases, more tolerant in this respect.

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AES - Audio Engineering Society