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On the authenticity of individual dynamic binaural synthesis

Brinkmann, Fabian; Lindau, Alexander; Weinzierl, Stefan

A simulation that is perceptually indistinguishable from the corresponding real sound field could be termed authentic. Using binaural technology, such a simulation would theoretically be achieved by reconstructing the sound pressure at a listener's ears. However, inevitable errors in the measurement, rendering, and reproduction introduce audible degradations, as it has been demonstrated in previous studies for anechoic environments and static binaural simulations (fixed head orientation). The current study investigated the authenticity of individual dynamic binaural simulations for three different acoustic environments (anechoic, dry, wet) using a highly sensitive listening test design. The results show that about half of the participants failed to reliably detect any differences for a speech stimulus, whereas all participants were able to do so for pulsed pink noise. Higher detection rates were observed in the anechoic condition, compared to the reverberant spaces, while the source position had no significant effect. It is concluded that the authenticity mainly depends on how comprehensive the spectral cues are provided by the audio content, and the amount of reverberation, whereas the source position plays a minor role. This is confirmed by a broad qualitative evaluation, suggesting that remaining differences mainly affect the tone color rather than the spatial, temporal or dynamical qualities.
Published in: Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 10.1121/1.5005606, Acoustical Society of America; AIP Publishing