Perceptual compensation for effects of echo and of reverberation on speech identification
Watkins, A. J. (2005) Perceptual compensation for effects of echo and of reverberation on speech identification. Acta Acustica United with Acustica, 91 (5). pp. 892-901. ISSN 1610-1928
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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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