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Perceptual Compensation for Effects of Echo and of Reverberation on Speech Identification

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In an ideal 'reverberant' room, the energy of the impulse responses decays smoothly, at a constant rate of dB/s, so that gradually-decaying tails are added at the ends of sounds. Conversely, a single echo gives a flat energy-decay up to the echo's arrival time, which then drops abruptly, so that sounds with only echoes lack the decaying-tail feature of reverberation. The perceptual effects of these types of reflection pattern were measured with test-words from a continuum of steps between "sir" and "stir", which were each embedded in a carrier phrase. When the proportion of reflected sound in test-words is increased, to a level above the amount in the carrier, the test words sound more like "sir". However, when the proportion of reflected sound in the carrier is also increased, to match the amount in the test word, there can be a perceptual compensation where test words sound more like "stir" again. A reference condition used real-room reverberation from recordings at different source to receiver distances. In a synthetic-reverberation condition, the reflection pattern was from a 'colorless' impulse response, comprising exponentially-decaying reflections that were spaced at intervals. In a synthetic-echo condition, the reflection pattern was obtained from the synthetic reverberation by removing the intervals between reflections before delaying the resulting cluster relative to the direct sound. Compensation occurred in the reference condition and in different types of synthetic reverberation, but not in synthetic-echo conditions. This result indicates that the presence of tails from reverberation informs the compensation mechanism.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2005

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  • Acta Acustica united with Acustica, published together with the European Acoustics Association (EAA), is an international, peer-reviewed journal on acoustics. It publishes original articles on all subjects in the field of acoustics, such as general linear acoustics, nonlinear acoustics, macrosonics, flow acoustics, atmospheric sound, underwater sound, ultrasonics, physical acoustics, structural acoustics, noise control, active control, environmental noise, building acoustics, room acoustics, acoustic materials, acoustic signal processing, computational and numerical acoustics, hearing, audiology and psychoacoustics, speech, musical acoustics, electroacoustics, auditory quality of systems. It reports on original scientific research in acoustics and on engineering applications. The journal considers scientific papers, technical and applied papers, book reviews, short communications, doctoral thesis abstracts, etc. In irregular intervals also special issues and review articles are published.
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