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The DFA Fader: Exploring the Power of Suggestion in Loudness Judgments

Anecdotal evidence suggests that when performers request loudness increases in their on-stage monitoring device, feedback regarding task completion is sometimes sufficient for the performer to perceive a loudness change. This is colloquially known as a DFA fader. Given the dearth of empirical evidence, qualitative interviews were conducted with live sound engineers to investigate the type of feedback required to successfully deliver a suggestion of a loudness change. Following this, 22 participants completed a paired comparison listening experiment to determine whether verbal suggestions produce perceived loudness changes. The experimental results demonstrate a significant difference between participants receiving a verbal suggestion and those that did not in 12 out of 20 presentations. These results support the use of verbal suggestions to convey loudness increases in live sound contexts.

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