Listener perception of a data sound field

Ziffer, Amy
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Braasch, Jonas
Xiang, Ning
Lokko, Mae-ling Jovenes
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Architectural sciences
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The development of effective methods to analyze and interpret large and complex datasets has lagged behind the ability of researchers to gather data. The development of new methods may help both researchers and the general public understand the nature of complex data better, especially with respect to phenomena that occur over temporal and spatial scales outside those of everyday experience. The sonification and reproduction of data as a data sound field of focused sources using wave field synthesis is postulated as a possible new method for interpreting data. Listener perception tests of a sparse data sound field of 32 focused sources demonstrate that listeners free to walk through the sound field can localize sources in a static arrangement reasonably well and also make some accurate judgments about the relative loudness of sources, but that performance depends on proximity of the source to the speaker array and to nearby louder sources. A similar test of distance perception in which listeners remain stationary demonstrates that they have only fair ability to determine the distance and direction to loud focused sources in the sound field. These results suggest that the data sound field concept may hold promise as an interpretive tool but that many factors remain to be explored before the method could be put into practice.
August 2019
School of Architecture
School of Architecture
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY
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