AES Dublin Heyser Lecture

AES Dublin 2019

Thursday, March 21, 19:15 — 20:15 (Liffey A)


SE04 - Heyser Lecture

David Griesinger, David Griesinger Acoustics - Cambridge, MA, USA

The Richard C. Heyser distinguished lecturer for the 146th AES Convention is David Griesinger.

Learning to Listen

This talk describes a few of the experiences I have had working with artists and musicians that taught me to hear what makes their art work. These experiences changed my life, and I hope that describing them will help others understand some of the amazing abilities of our ears and brains to detect, separate, and ultimately decode sonic information. Just as important, insight into these listening experiences can illuminate the possible physical processes by which the ear and brain achieve these feats. Such analysis often contradicts current dogma. For example, the phases of sounds higher than 1500 Hz are often considered unimportant but are actually critical to our ability to remember information. Working with these musicians and with acoustic enhancement taught me that many popular acoustic design goals can be counterproductive, and popular practices in sound reinforcement often reduce the ability to remember what was said. Accurate acoustic memory is short. Finding new models and methods for improving sound and acoustics requires reproducing live sound in a laboratory with high accuracy. We will describe an inexpensive technique that uses non-individual binaural recording and non-individual crosstalk cancellation for reproduction. The reproductions are startlingly real, and allow for instant comparisons between spaces. When used with measurement data the effects of individual reflections can be determined. Contrary to widespread practice early lateral reflections are often harmful, not helpful. We find that a reduction in the direct to reverberant ratio of only one dB, or the presence of a single reflection, can change sound from clear to muddy. These findings are being put into practice in old and new venues with exceptional results. We can reproduce live recordings made this way from all over the world. I will demonstrate this system to interested listeners during this conference as time and space allows.

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