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A Perceptual Evaluation of Spatial Room Impulse Responses Convolved with Multichannel Direct Sound

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In a channel-based paradigm, artificial reverberation can be produced by spatial room impulse response (SRIR) convolution. Many receiver positions are measured using multichannel microphone arrays, typically optimized for specific loudspeaker configurations. Each SRIR channel is then convolved with a single monophonic direct sound input to auralize a virtual acoustic environment (VAE). In the following study, an experimental direct sound input treatment is presented where each SRIR channel is convolved with a bespoke direct sound file recorded at a specific angle of incidence with reference to the performer. The result is an SRIR auralization which incorporates the instruments’ time-variant radiation characteristics via multichannel direct sound. A subjective evaluation was conducted to assess the perceptual differences between SRIRs with and without the multichannel direct sound treatment. Participants’ sense of physical presence, sensory immersion, environment / room width, and naturalness of the sound source were evaluated. Results of three-way within-subject ANOVAs show that the multichannel direct sound convolution treatment significantly improved participants ratings of all attributes under test, and was preferred over the monophonic direct sound treatment. A significant interaction between reverberation treatment and instrument type was observed for environment / room width. The study suggests that this technique can be effective in practice, and more broadly supports the notion that representing a sound-sources’ time-variant directivity in artificial reverberation could be a beneficial feature in the design of 3D audio production tools.

Express Paper 2; AES Convention 153; October 2022
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