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Title: Developing a graphical language to represent listeners' experiences of spatial attributes in reproduced sound
Author: Ford, Natanya
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2005
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Spatial attributes of reproduced sound have typically been described using primarily verbal descriptors. To gain an alternative perspective, the development of a communication medium is discussed which enables listeners' auditory spatial experiences to be represented graphically. Graphical descriptions of auditory spatial experiences were sought from listeners when multichannel audio was reproduced within an automotive setting. In order to avoid biasing results by adopting traditional assumptions relating to spatial audio evaluation, the listener was acknowledged as the originator of meaning and valid results sought by the exploration and understanding of the listeners' individual experiences. Because experiences are pre-linguistic and distinct from language, a communication medium was required for the structuring and representation of listeners' auditory spatial experiences in order that these could be understood by the researcher. A descriptive graphical language (GAL) was systematically developed and evaluated for this purpose. A series of investigations was conducted during which GAL evolved from a system of individually elicited descriptors to a universal language of graphical terms, capable of representing the salient spatial experiences of listeners with varying levels of critical listening expertise. At each successive stage in GAL's development, ambiguities which could impede the researcher's understanding of listeners' graphically represented spatial experiences were identified and minimised. A graphical model was presented for visualising instances where ambiguities occurred in the descriptive process. One notable anomaly was found to be related to the provision of unsuitable written instruction in listening investigations. The effect of this ambiguity was minimised by listeners developing their own verbal descriptors to accompany their graphical language. When a mutual language - developed by the listeners themselves - was evaluated, an unambiguous route through the descriptive process from Ustener to researcher was identified. Within the context of the research, it was concluded that this particular language enabled the researcher to acquire a valid understanding of listeners' auditory spatial experiences. It was further concluded that the method employed in the development of the language (an iterative process comprising descriptor elicitation, clarification, development, evaluation and ultimately validation) could be used in alternative contexts within subjective audio evaluation.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available