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The Sound Quality of Car Horns: Designing New Representative Sounds

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This paper is the second of a two-part study of the quality of car horn sounds. It aims to provide insights into the design of new sounds. It is based on the assumption that hearing a car horn sound warns road users because they recognize the sound of a car horn, i.e. they know what this sound means, and what they have to do as a consequence. The three experiments reported in this paper are grounded in a psychoacoustical framework. They seek to provide car horn builders with recommendations allowing them to create new sounds.

In the first part [1], we studied the perception of the timbre of existing car horn sounds. We found that, from their perception of the sounds, listeners were able to make inferences concerning the different mechanisms causing the sound, and that the perceived differences between the sounds were based on the integration of three elementary sensations, correlated with three acoustical descriptors. In this second part, we focus on the agreement among listeners in categorizing sounds as being members of the car horn category. Membership agreement is operationally defined as the result of a two-alternative forced-choice task. We first study recordings of existing sounds. The results allow us to define relationships that predict membership agreement from a set of acoustical descriptors. To extend these results, we create a new set of sounds in a second step, which we submit to a timbre study similar to the one reported in [1]. We finally study membership agreement for these synthesized sounds. The results allow us to define a methodology to create new car horn sounds.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2009

More about this publication?
  • 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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