The effect of sound level on perception of reproduced soundscapes

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Sudarsono, AS ; Lam, YW ; Davies, WJ (2016)

The aim of this work was to investigate the perception of soundscape reproduced by an ambisonic reproduction system on a horizontal plane, how the experience of space affected the perception of soundscape reproduction, and how the sound level adjustment on soundscape reproduction affected the perception of soundscape compared with actual conditions. There were three experiments conducted: a soundwalk in situ in Manchester (United Kingdom) city centre, listening tests in Salford (United Kingdom), and listening tests in Bandung (Indonesia). The listening tests used material recorded from four locations on the soundwalk route in Manchester. The Salford listening tests were performed at the in-situ measured sound level, and the participants were asked to adjust the sound level to the level that represents actual locations. The listening test in Bandung was conducted to understand the effect of participants who never come to the actual location to the perception of soundscape and the sound level adjustment. The listening tests in Bandung were conducted at the in situ sound level, at 9.5 dB below the in situ sound level (based on the preference sound level from the experiment in Salford), and the participants were also requested to adjust the sound level to the level that represents the actual space (to examine the consistency with the experiment in Salford). In each case, soundscape perception was measured on 19 semantic differential scales. Analysis of the semantic differential results showed that the ambisonic reproduction produced a similar subjective experience to the in situ soundwalk when the reproduction sound level was 9.5 dB lower than the actual sound level in situ. Reproduction at the actual sound level in situ produced a different dimensional space. The study shows that the sound level adjustment of soundscape reproduction in laboratory experiment produces more ecologically valid results compared to the reproduction at the actual sound level in situ.
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