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Effect of Headphone Equalization on Auditory Distance Perception

Headphones are not acoustically transparent and thus it affects both the timbral as well as the spatial quality of the input sound source. The effect of the headphones has to be compensated by calculating the inverse of the headphones transfer function and convolving it with the binaurally synthesized audio. Headphone transfer function (HPTF) also depends on the headphone-ear coupling and thus displays high spectral variation between individuals. It has been found that the type of equalization (individual or non-individual) affects the directional perception of the virtual audio reproduced using headphones. However, little investigation has been carried out on the effect of headphone equalization on auditory distance perception. In this paper, we study in detail the perceptual effects of equalization on the auditory distance perception in the proximal region in anechoic conditions. It was found that the equalization of the headphone is critical for good distance perception. The type of equalization (individual or non-individual) did not have a significant effect on the auditory distance perception indicating that the distance perception does not depend on the idiosyncratic features. The effect of repositioning of the headphone on auditory depth perception is also studied in this work.

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AES - Audio Engineering Society