Graduate Student: Matthew Neal
The area of subjective impression of concert hall acoustics can be quite a difficult area to determine clear results, and often times, findings between researchers can even be contradictory or unclear. Many factors can contribute to this, such as drastic differences in how auralizations are presented to subjects, methods used to measure or simulate different rooms, and the difficulty in designing a clear, unbiased research study to find meaningful results. As well, many different subjective impressions have been defined in concert hall acoustics, such as reverberance, clarity, intimacy, presence, enveloment, etc., but it is quite difficult to determine exactly how these impressions help to inform one of the most important questions: “Do you like this hall?”
This project aims to use state-of-the art room acoustics measurement techniques and virtual acoustics auralization techniques to help answer this very question. First, a comprehensive measurement trip will be conducted throughout the U.S. and Europe, using halls selected from surveying architectural acoustic consultants, to provide comparable database of halls with a wide range of sizes, shapes, and acoustic properties. Concert halls will be measured using the Eigenmike, the three-way omni-directional sound source, and a third-order beam-forming spherical loudspeaker, to simulate different directional radiation patterns of orchestral instruments . This loudspeaker can be used to create arbitrary source directivities using 3rd order spherical harmonics processing, allowing auralization with an array of directional sound sources, such as an orchestra. This setup will allow for highly accurate room acoustic parameter calculation, directional analysis of the sound field, and state-of-the-art auralization using the AURAS facility.
With this database, extensive subjective testing will be done to look into the perception of a wide range of room acoustic parameters, focusing specifically on the perception of listener envelopment, and how it and other parameters contribute to a listener’s overall preference.