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The Auditory Source Widening Effect in Binaural Synthesis with Spatial Distribution of Frequency Bands

A binaural technique (involving direct control of signals transferred into both ears of listeners), not only can solve the problem of spatial impression of headphone reproduction but also has the ability to provide realistic auditory experiences, especially in 3D spatial acoustic reproduction. In this study, monophonic source signals were processed by frequency-band decomposition and distribution to achieve spatially widened perceived source widths in binaural synthesis. Stimuli with different widths were synthesized, and the perceived widths were evaluated by conducting a listening experiment to investigate the relationship of the perceived width and the synthesized width. Three different bandwidths of frequency bands and two center positions of synthesized widths were used in the processing, and the relevant effects on perception of source width were investigated. The results of the listening experiment suggested that under proper processing conditions the perceived width could increase with increasing synthesized widths. However, dependencies of source signal characteristics and variations between participants were observed. Degradations of timbre and spatial quality were also evaluated. The results suggested that this method suffered less degradation than a conventional decorrelation method while it achieved comparable widening effects for binaural reproduction. For example, for a cello source signal with 1/12-octave bandwidth, the perceived width increased with increasing synthesis width. This suggests that under appropriate conditions this method could control the perceived width of a monophonic source in binaural synthesis.

JAES Volume 67 Issue 9 pp. 691-704; September 2019
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