Bass localization: The Old Debate - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 41 Old 11-26-2012, 05:57 PM - Thread Starter
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No need to fill me in on all of the [localization of subwoofers commonly caused by too high of a crossover or distortion, etc...] stuff.

I would like some information on ways I could hear subwoofers in various configurations so that I have an experiential base for my understanding of localization. An audio showroom doesn't seem like quite the right place and I can't easily vary my subwoofer setup in my own room (plus there would be a large time gap between A/B'ing).

Thankzzzzzzzz.

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post #2 of 41 Old 11-26-2012, 06:05 PM
 
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No can do as @ <80Hz, humans lose the ability to localize sound and it becomes a time domain/feel the sound wave thingy.

The next thing to poke your ears is the room and what room acoustics do to sound waves creating cancelling waves; nulls.

If you're wanting to know about sub-placement, look up subwoofer floor crawl where you place the sub in the main listening position and then crawl around on hands and knees while listening to where the bass sounds the best and that's where the sub goes. If you aren't doing so already, you want to buy two or more subs to help fill in these room nulls which helps with placement issues.

What exactly are you wanting to know as everybody who posts will be shooting in the dark as to helping you with your question.
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post #3 of 41 Old 11-26-2012, 06:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Referring to the [blahblahblah] in my first post, everything you said falls in that categery. I'm not a newb. redface.gif Maybe I was too vague. I denounce the studies that led to claims of non-localization of bass. I am looking for ways or places I can go to hear low-frequency drivers of several types in several configurations.

For one thing I am interested in the velocity zones of room modes, also scientific publications dealing with psychoacoustics and bass perception, preferrably written by a Ph.D. or similarly qualified person. Maybe someone knows of or can find something I can't.

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post #4 of 41 Old 11-26-2012, 06:34 PM
 
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Originally Posted by arande2 View Post

Referring to the [blahblahblah] in my first post, everything you said falls in that categery. I'm not a newb. redface.gif Maybe I was too vague. I denounce the studies that led to claims of non-localization of bass. I am looking for ways or places I can go to hear low-frequency drivers of several types in several configurations.
For one thing I am interested in the velocity zones of room modes, also scientific publications dealing with psychoacoustics and bass perception, preferrably written by a Ph.D. or similarly qualified person. Maybe someone knows of or can find something I can't.

What you're asking for in a demo room doesn't readily exist at the consumer level.

Directly, what's the purpose of your quest? Are you trying to reinvent the wheel or simply set up a room?

As to denouncing studies, that's above my pay grade as that's up to God and evolution as I had nothing to do with how our hearing perception equipment was developed. Not being flip in stating the obvious, it shouldn't be too difficult of a web search to Google up "psychoacoustics."

When you comment about velocity waves, are you referring in general or specific to your room? The more one elucidates their question, the more qualified the response.

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post #5 of 41 Old 11-26-2012, 06:43 PM
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is there a reason why you want to re-invent the wheel?

join aes. there's no shortage of white papers there that will give you all the data you want... smile.gif

of course, if you start from a position of "denouncing" existing work, i dunno how much you'll get from it...

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post #6 of 41 Old 11-26-2012, 06:48 PM - Thread Starter
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My purpose is to hear for myself these localization phenomena so that I can be certain about my conclusions. I am majoring in Physics (acoustics emphasis when I get to grad school) and Electrical Engineering (Analog Electronics Emphasis) and intending to apply the knowledge I gain towards research and design in the audio realm years in the future.

I am sure the studies on localization came to conclusions under a specific context of controls, so my problem is with not understanding the results or the context of the study and what it can and cannot verify. As for the search, I'm hoping someone knows of related info to psychoacoustics that can readily type in a unique search term that pulls up good information that I would not find myself.

I'm referring to in general (any room with modes).

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post #7 of 41 Old 11-26-2012, 06:56 PM
 
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Originally Posted by arande2 View Post

My purpose is to hear for myself these localization phenomena so that I can be certain about my conclusions.

Then first things first, have you had your hearing certified as to what your limits are? From there, you'll need room analyzing gear so you can measure (see) the room. Your brain, despite how smart you test, is not wired for the sensitivities you ask for but, within your capabilities, you can teach yourself but you have to know what you're listening for; psychoacoustic training.

The point, you can't hear what you can't hear and you can't teach yourself to see what you can't see, even though right in front of you.
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post #8 of 41 Old 11-26-2012, 07:04 PM - Thread Starter
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At least I'm agreeing with what you say now. ^_^ I've had my thresholds tested and know that I am good to the threshold of 0 phon up to 15khz. I have done measurements on my room many times. If had to guess, I'd think you meant measurements beyond the typical phon and hz; maybe you mean an actual 3D graph of room modes, something to that effect.

... Stuff I agree with, but can't really comment on without paragraphs of writing.

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post #9 of 41 Old 11-26-2012, 07:09 PM
 
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Originally Posted by arande2 View Post

At least I'm agreeing with what you say now. ^_^ I've had my thresholds tested and know that I am good to the threshold of 0 phon up to 15khz. I have done measurements on my room many times. If had to guess, I'd think you meant measurements beyond the typical phon and hz; maybe you mean an actual 3D graph of room modes, something to that effect.
... Stuff I agree with, but can't really comment on without paragraphs of writing.

Just trying to work with you based on the limited amount of information that's been posted; conjecture.

Not suggesting phon but frequency. How low can you hear in Hz? And at what phon above reference threshold?
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post #10 of 41 Old 11-26-2012, 07:37 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm not too sure about my low-freq limits. At super low freqs like 9hz, I feel a pressure on my head and the pressure variations modulate the ambient noise. The frequency at which my sensitivity to a tone-like perception drops off is around 25hz.

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post #11 of 41 Old 11-27-2012, 05:50 AM
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Originally Posted by arande2 View Post

My purpose is to hear for myself these localization phenomena so that I can be certain about my conclusions..
As already noted join the AES, all the documentation you could wish for and more is in their library.
Bottom line, if you can localize the source you're either hearing above 80Hz sources or you're an elephant.
The ability to localize is based on the distance between your ears; that distance must be a significant portion of a wavelength for there to be sufficient phase shift/arrival time differential at the two ears for the brain to triangulate the source location.
What can be confusing for newbies, and even some not so new, is that subwoofers produce harmonics of the source signal, so even if the source is brickwall low-pass filtered at 80Hz there can be lots of content at 160Hz and higher. If you're able to localize a sub it's from hearing those harmonics.

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post #12 of 41 Old 11-27-2012, 05:51 AM
 
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Originally Posted by arande2 View Post

I'm not too sure about my low-freq limits. At super low freqs like 9hz, I feel a pressure on my head and the pressure variations modulate the ambient noise. The frequency at which my sensitivity to a tone-like perception drops off is around 25hz.

Everything you're telling me concerns weaponizing sound waves. Is that your direction or are you working on new 3D spacial sound reproduction algorithms?

........confused.gif

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post #13 of 41 Old 11-27-2012, 06:03 AM
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Quote:
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arande2 View Post

My purpose is to hear for myself these localization phenomena so that I can be certain about my conclusions..
As already noted join the AES, all the documentation you could wish for and more is in their library.
Bottom line, if you can localize the source you're either hearing above 80Hz sources or you're an elephant.
The ability to localize is based on the distance between your ears; that distance must be a significant portion of a wavelength for there to be sufficient phase shift/arrival time differential at the two ears for the brain to triangulate the source location.
What can be confusing for newbies, and even some not so new, is that subwoofers produce harmonics of the source signal, so even if the source is brickwall low-pass filtered at 80Hz there can be lots of content at 160Hz and higher. If you're able to localize a sub it's from hearing those harmonics.

+ a bunch...

op, all the work you are trying to do has already been done.... this topic is well studied...

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post #14 of 41 Old 11-27-2012, 01:22 PM
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www.aes.org

If you are at college they may already be members and have papers accessible through the library.

80 Hz is not a distinct cut-off; it tends to range between roughly 50 and 100 Hz. I helped set up and participate in a number of tests during the 70's and 80's before subs became popular and the local results we obtained matched AES papers. That is, nobody culd localize below 50 Hz, everybody could over 100 Hz, and 80 Hz was the mean. This was performed using in-room and anechoic listening tests and 18- to 36-dB/octave crossovers, about the best we could readily do using analog filters (this was well before DSP-based crossovers were everywhere).

You are denouncing a large body of work that has been reinforced by decades of later research that led to THX and other standards.

Enjoy - Don

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post #15 of 41 Old 11-27-2012, 03:54 PM
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Originally Posted by DonH50 View Post

www.aes.org

If you are at college they may already be members and have papers accessible through the library.

80 Hz is not a distinct cut-off; it tends to range between roughly 50 and 100 Hz. I helped set up and participate in a number of tests during the 70's and 80's before subs became popular and the local results we obtained matched AES papers. That is, nobody culd localize below 50 Hz, everybody could over 100 Hz, and 80 Hz was the mean. This was performed using in-room and anechoic listening tests and 18- to 36-dB/octave crossovers, about the best we could readily do using analog filters (this was well before DSP-based crossovers were everywhere).

You are denouncing a large body of work that has been reinforced by decades of later research that led to THX and other standards.

Enjoy - Don

 

Interesting because I thought THX chose 80hz because it was 3 standard deviations from the mean, meaning next to no one could localize 80hz.  

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post #16 of 41 Old 11-27-2012, 07:20 PM
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Interesting because I thought THX chose 80hz because it was 3 standard deviations from the mean, meaning next to no one could localize 80hz.  
It's all about the harmonics. No matter how steep the crossover slope they're always present with direct radiating drivers, because they're created by the movement of the cone. Few people can localize even 100Hz, but everyone can localize the 2nd harmonic at 200Hz. By placing the crossover at 80Hz there's less of a problem with the harmonics.

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post #17 of 41 Old 11-27-2012, 07:46 PM - Thread Starter
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Quoting all of you would just take up space, so I will reference post #. I recommend to the forum scripters that this be made possible (type in #... and have it show up as a hover-over so that the quote shows up when hovered by the mouse) or that someone show me how if it already is.

AES #11, 14: Yes, the AES. I am looking into this. I am currently at a junior college, but I will find out if my transfer location has this available.

80hz #11, 14, 15, 16: I appreciate the effort Bill, but all of that science falls into implications of the [bracketedtext] of my first post (so I am aware of most things like that). My understanding is that localization is a curve indicating that it becomes increasingly difficult at lower frequencies to localize sound and that the standard deviation calculations lead to 80hz as the common standard.

#12: My current outlook is a focus on 3D sound, both recorded and synthesized (like object-oriented). No military stuff, don't worry cool.gif

WhatDoIKnow #13, 14: I could not think of a better word than denounce. Others incorrectly understanding studies and then passing it on(including to me, who might take it as fact) is what I'm worried about. Be careful. That's why I need to read them myself (Surprise! I haven't). I also need to experience the phenomena myself, so I need to figure out a way to do that. In my own room (and in a couple others), wherever I've placed the sub, I've always had a sensation of left/right bass depending on the sub's location. Measurements indicate inaudible THD levels, so that's why I want to hear this phenomenon in a more controlled setting.

Good feeback smile.gif

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post #18 of 41 Old 11-27-2012, 07:59 PM
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You seem to be a bright person. Think of other effects that might result in you having a sensation of directionality like vibrations passing through floors and furniture or, god forbid you turn out to be actually human, the placebo effect. "Denounce" in the context of scientific studies you haven't even seen seems kind of silly. I've read that people cannot breathe water. I don't need to test it myself to trust it. Healthy skepticism is a good thing. But you seemed to be conflating room effects with directionality which suggests you've not pushed yourself all the way through whatever interesting concepts you are analyzing. AFAIK, all the science agrees that directionality is based on the size of our heads more than anything else and is what it is whether you're outdoors, in a tiny room or in somewhere in between.
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post #19 of 41 Old 11-27-2012, 08:11 PM
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 AFAIK, all the science agrees that directionality is based on the size of our heads more than anything else and is what it is whether you're outdoors, in a tiny room or in somewhere in between.

That applies to low frequencies outdoors or in anechoic rooms while intensity is a significant parameter for high frequencies.  However, indoors in real domestic rooms, there are other cues which may influence our perception of source direction.


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post #20 of 41 Old 11-27-2012, 08:37 PM
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Originally Posted by arande2 View Post

No need to fill me in on all of the [localization of subwoofers commonly caused by too high of a crossover or distortion, etc...] stuff.

I would like some information on ways I could hear subwoofers in various configurations so that I have an experiential base for my understanding of localization. An audio showroom doesn't seem like quite the right place and I can't easily vary my subwoofer setup in my own room (plus there would be a large time gap between A/B'ing).

.

Have you read Floyd Toole's latest book?

Sound Reproduction: The Acoustics and Psychoacoustics of Loudspeakers and Rooms

http://www.amazon.com/Sound-Reproduction-Acoustics-Psychoacoustics-Loudspeakers/dp/0240520092

Its the fraction of the price of a collection of AES papers and/or a membership to get the discount, but a lot of the same content just collected by one great guy in one place.
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post #21 of 41 Old 11-28-2012, 05:39 AM
 
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#12: My current outlook is a focus on 3D sound, both recorded and synthesized (like object-oriented). No military stuff, don't worry cool.gif

Peace or war, no worries. As you're trying to understand, if I'm to make cogent comments, I need to understand as it's obvious, you're not about setting up a Home Theater for a friend.

I do expect course credit for the correct guess choices. tongue.gif
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post #22 of 41 Old 11-28-2012, 05:49 AM
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From what I've read, sensitivity to localization is limited to above 80Hz for the vast majority of people but some can do so as low as 60Hz. Maybe my memory is wrong. I know I am not sensitive to localization at 80Hz and below but there might be some out there who are. Also, almost all subwoofers sound good up to 80Hz and few full range speakers can do as well below that frequency.
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I've read that people cannot breathe water. I don't need to test it myself to trust it.

(Just saying.)

And then one reads further in the article and finds that mammals can breath/utilize (inhale) "super-oxygenated" water. (Yup!)

"Into the abyss: The diving suit that turns men into fish"

"Arnold Lande, a retired American heart and lung surgeon, has patented a scuba suit that would allow a human to breathe “liquid air”, a special solution that has been highly enriched with oxygen molecules.

The idea immediately conjures up the terrifying spectre of drowning but our lungs are more than capable of taking oxygen from a solution."

...............................................biggrin.gif

With all due respect, the key to moving the ball forward, is not listening to people tell you that you can't move the ball forward.

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post #24 of 41 Old 11-28-2012, 05:58 AM
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 However, indoors in real domestic rooms, there are other cues which may influence our perception of source direction.
+1, and that's usually the mains. Even if the sub has a fairly high output in the harmonics, allowing it to be easily located when listened to on its own, that's altered when the mains are engaged. Those same midbass and lower midrange frequencies that can be heard as harmonic output from the sub emanate from the mains at far higher levels, and when that happens with 10dB or higher differential masking effect will cause the brain to ignore the lower level source in favor of the higher level source. My sub is located a foot behind my listening position, and when it's the only source I can tell it's there. In normal listening I can't tell it's there, as the directional cues from the mains override those from the sub.

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post #25 of 41 Old 11-28-2012, 06:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Kal Rubinson View Post

That applies to low frequencies outdoors or in anechoic rooms while intensity is a significant parameter for high frequencies.  However, indoors in real domestic rooms, there are other cues which may influence our perception of source direction.

True enough, but I think of it as a differnt phenomenon from bass directionality. With my sub in the right hand corner of my room, I heard it distinctly at any crossover point I chose. I never figured out why, but assume there was some resonance that was making the sub localizable. AFAIK, the mere existence of walls, floor and ceiling (at least if they don't resonate) does not affect localization per se. Happy to be corrected if I'm wrong.
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post #26 of 41 Old 11-28-2012, 06:09 AM
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I can't easily vary my subwoofer setup in my own room (plus there would be a large time gap between A/B'ing).

How quick does the switch need to be? I'd think with most newer receivers, changing the XO frequency would take a couple seconds max.
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post #27 of 41 Old 11-28-2012, 06:11 AM
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I...assume there was some resonance that was making the sub localizable.
Probably. An RTA might reveal what's going on.

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post #28 of 41 Old 11-28-2012, 06:17 AM
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Originally Posted by arande2 View Post

I can't easily vary my subwoofer setup in my own room (plus there would be a large time gap between A/B'ing).

How quick does the switch need to be?

For maximum sensitivity, a fraction of a second.
Quote:
I'd think with most newer receivers, changing the XO frequency would take a couple seconds max.

Sighted evaluation?
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post #29 of 41 Old 11-28-2012, 06:19 AM
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For maximum sensitivity, a fraction of a second.
I know my receiver won't continue playing music with the OSD up, but perhaps there are some that might that would give a relatively instant switch.
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Sighted evaluation?
Doesn't have to be. Someone else could control the crossover setting with the OSD hidden from the listener.
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post #30 of 41 Old 11-28-2012, 06:22 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Steve1981 View Post

I know my receiver won't continue playing with the OSD up, but perhaps there are some that might that would give a relatively instant switch.

The Marantz, SR5007 continues playing with the OSD up and is up in realtime when individually adjusting AVR speaker channel gain. Expectedly, provided audio content kicks out when the receiver goes into Audyssey analyzing or pink noise mode.
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