There is a school of thought, and research, that would say this is incorrect.Maybe it's old data or wrong to begin with, but some years ago I read that our hearing mechanism is comprised of a bunch of ~ 1/6th (I think) octave oscillators, and that what we hear in any one of those bands is the total energy in its passband, ergo high-Q resonances are not very audible.
Is that incorrect?
Matter of Fact, that school may say that high peaks are ALL you hear.
The spectral envelope is a concept which has been introduced in the field of speech synthesis and analysis and is defined simply as a smooth curve connecting or somewhat following the peaks of the signal spectrum. There are strong arguments and experimental evidence supporting this approach and the idea that our ear uses the spectral envelope for the recognition of sounds. The spectral envelope, for example, allow our ear to understand speech under many different conditions, whether it is voiced, whispered or generated by other means. These different conditions generate completely different spectrums but usually pretty similar spectral envelopes. The spectral envelope also easily explains why our ear is more sensitive to peak in the magnitude response and less sensitive to dips. A curve based on the peaks of the magnitude response is by definition little or not affected at all by dips in the frequency response.
In the speech recognition field many procedures have been developed to compute the spectral envelope. Some of them are based on Linear Predictive Coding (LPC), the Discrete Cepstrum, the so called “True Envelope” and finally the Minimum Variance Distortionless Response (MVDR). Most of these methods are optimized for speed, noise resilience and to provide good results in the voice spectrum range sampled at low sample rates, so they are not really suited for HiFi usage.
Within DRC a different procedure has been developed. This is a variation of the usual fractional octave smoothing procedure, using the parametric Hölder mean instead of the usual simple averaging. Furthermore the smoothing has been extended to provide the Bark and ERB scales resolution when applicable.