Re: On 8 speakers

Subject: Re: On 8 speakers
From: DG Malham (
Date: Wed Jan 27 1999 - 04:28:27 EST

On Tue, 26 Jan 1999, Justin Mariner wrote:

> I lack the technical details on this, but apparently our up/down
> localization is weak compared to left/right and front/back, where
> relative strength in right and left ears and filtering due to the head are
> good perceptual indicators.

On the horizontal plane, at low frequencies, you should also include
arrival times at the ears.

 It is true that, in one sense, vertical perception is less acute than
horizontal BUT you have to be very careful interpreting statements made
about directional hearing by psychoacoustic researchers. Due to
constraints in the research methodologies that are available to them, by
far the largest portion of their results has been based on the use of
headphones (thus removng whole body sound perception mechanisms such as
chest cavity resonances, which, in turn, has led to the myth that low bass
is non-directional). Where free field (usually loudspeaker based) tests
have been used, subjects heads have frequently been clamped in position,
so head turning to face the sound direction, another major diectional
perception mechanism, is eliminated. This latter point is particularly
important to this discussion - if there is a musically important event
above you, you may well turn to face it, in which case the full
capabilities of our (normally) horizontal plane acuities come into play.
So, the bottom line is, as a composer, you cannot afford to treat the
vertical plane as less important for psychoacoustic reasons, only for
compositional ones.....


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