The role of head movement in the analysis of spatial impression
Start date: 2006
End date: 2010
This research project focuses on developing objective hearing models that can predict the attributes of a sound in a similar way to the manner in which a human listener might perceive and evaluate it. Specifically, in the development of models of auditory perception, it has been suggested that listener head movements should perhaps be taken into consideration, since these are known to help listeners to perceive the location of a sound source.
Humans are not usually stationary when listening, but use head movement to explore a sound field and resolve potentially confusing cues. We therefore need to take these movements into account in order to make measurements that accurately predict what listeners hear. For this, we need to find out: what type of head movement listeners make; how to capture the signals at the ears to take these into account; and what it sounds like when physical parameters change as we move our heads. By finding these answers, we can develop a measurement technique that captures the ear signals in a manner that is relevant to normal listening.
The head movements made by listeners were found by conducting an experiment where people listened to a wide range of stimuli. They were asked to judge one of a number of attributes whilst their head movements were tracked. It was found that the range of rotational movement by the listeners spanned the following: azimuth +-40 degrees; elevation +-12 degrees; and roll +-13 degrees. The movement range was dependent on the task, with most movement when the listeners were judging source width and envelopment, less when judging location, and little movement when judging timbre. The pattern of movement did not cover a range where the ear moves around the horizontal plane as previously assumed, but covered a sloped range of ear positions where the listeners raised their ear as it was moved backwards and lowered it when moved forwards.
A sound capture system was then developed to take these movements into account. Two approaches were considered: repeated movement of a head and torso simulator (HATS); or multiple 'ears' in a simpler model of a head. The former is more accurate, but takes more time to capture the signals; the latter is more rapid (therefore more practical), but is less accurate. Research was undertaken to evaluate the perceptual magnitude (based on just-noticeable difference studies) of the differences between measurements made using each technique. It was found that the addition of a torso to the sphere improved the accuracy (i.e. more similar to the HATS), but the addition of smaller features such as nose and pinnae had little effect. Overall, the accuracy of interaural time difference measurements was good in some areas, and the accuracy of interaural level difference measurements was good below c. 1kHz. It was found that the accuracy of both these parameters was good enough to accurately predict the perceived location for a specifically tailored binaural model. The accuracy of interaural cross-correlation coefficient measurements was generally good.
Using a combination of spatial sampling theory and perceptually-motivated error tolerances, the spacing of the microphones around the sphere was optimised to reduce the number of processing channels whilst still maintaining measurement accuracy. A demonstration system was created consisting of a sphere containing 20 omnidirectional microphones with a torso.
In order to determine how best to interpret the results of such measurements, a series of experiments were undertaken to determine the perceived effect of position-dependent variations in interaural cross-correlation (IACC). It was found that the variations in the IACC when facing forwards affected the source width, distance, and environment width, and that the variations in the IACC when facing sideways affected the environment depth, envelopment and spaciousness. The results also showed that the listeners tended to use a 'scanning technique' in which the IACC affected the perceived width along the lateral plane auditioned.
- Kim C, Mason R, Brookes TS. (2013) 'Head movements made by listeners in experimental and real-life listening activities'. Journal of the Audio Engineering Society, 61 (6 (June)), pp. 425-438.
- Kim C, Mason RD, Brookes T. (2011) 'Head-movement-aware signal capture for evaluation of spatial acoustics'. Multi Science Publishing Building Acoustics, 18 (1), pp. 207-226.
Full text is available at: epubs.surrey.ac.uk/712909
- Kim C, Mason R, Brookes T. (2010) 'Investigation into and modelling of head movement for objective evaluation of the spatial impression of audio'. Boston, USA : Acoustical Society of America Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, Baltimore, USA: 159th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America 127 (3), pp. 1886-1886.
- Kim C, Mason R, Brookes T. (2010) 'Development of a head-movement-aware signal capture system for the prediction of acoustical spatial impression'. Sidney : International Congress of Acoustics (ICA) Proceedings of the 20th International Congress on Acoustics, Sydney, Australia: 20th International Congress on Acoustics 4, pp. 2768-2775.
Full text is available at: epubs.surrey.ac.uk/712915
- Kim C, Mason R, Brookes T. (2010) 'Validation of a simple spherical head model as a signal capture device for head-movement-aware prediction of perceived spatial impression'. Audio Engineering Society Proceedings of the 40th International AES Conference, Tokyo, Japan: AES 40th International Conference (Spatial Audio: Sense the Sound of Space)
Full text is available at: epubs.surrey.ac.uk/712913
- Kim C, Mason R, Brookes T. (2010) 'A quasi-binaural approach to head-movement-aware evaluation of spatial acoustics'. Sidney : The International Congress on Acoustics (ICA) Proceedings of the International Symposium on Room Acoustics, Melbourne, Australia: International Symposium on Room Acoustics. A Satellite of the International Congress on Acoustics. General papers 4 (1), pp. 292-300.
Full text is available at: epubs.surrey.ac.uk/712914
- Kim, C. (2009) 'Towards a head-movement-aware measurement of the spatial impression of audio'. Doctoral thesis, University of Surrey (United Kingdom).
Full text is available at: epubs.surrey.ac.uk/844241
- Mason R, Kim C, Brookes T. (2009) 'Perception of head-position-dependent variations in interaural cross-correlation coefficient'. Munich, Germany : Audio Engineering Society Audio Engineering Society Preprint, Munich, Germany: 126th Audio Engineering Society Convention 7729
Full text is available at: epubs.surrey.ac.uk/2939
- Kim C, Mason RD, Brookes T. (2009) 'The role of head movement in the analysis of spatial impression'. Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council London, UK: EPSRC People in Systems Theme Day
Full text is available at: epubs.surrey.ac.uk/2952
- Mason RD, Kim C, Brookes T. (2008) 'Taking head movements into account in measurement of spatial attributes'. Institute of Acoustics Proceedings of the Institute of Acoustics Reproduced Sound Conference, Brighton, UK: Institute of Acoustics 24th Reproduced Sound Conference 30 (6), pp. 239-246.
Full text is available at: epubs.surrey.ac.uk/2950
- Kim C, Mason R, Brookes T. (2008) 'Initial investigation of signal capture techniques for objective measurement of spatial impression considering head movement'. Audio Engineering Society Preprint Audio Engineering Society Preprint, Amsterdam, The Netherlands: 124th Audio Engineering Society Convention 7331
Full text is available at: epubs.surrey.ac.uk/712917
- Kim C, Mason R, Brookes T. (2008) 'Improvements to a Spherical Binaural Capture Model for Objective Measurement of Spatial Impression with Consideration of Head Movements'. San Francisco, USA : Audio Engineering Society Audio Engineering Society Preprint, San Francisco, USA: 125th Audio Engineering Society Convention 7579
Full text is available at: epubs.surrey.ac.uk/712911
- Kim C, Mason R, Brookes T. (2007) 'An investigation into head movements made when evaluating various attributes of sound'. Vienna, Austria : Audio Engineering Society Audio Engineering Society Preprint, Vienna, Austria: 122nd Audio Engineering Society Convention 7031