Virtual audio localization with simulated early reflections and generalized head-related transfer functions
Reed, Darrin Kiyoshi
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In a natural sonic environment a listener is accustomed to hearing reflections and reverberation. It is conceived that early reflections could reduce front-back confusion in synthetic 3-D audio. This thesis describes experiments which seek to determine whether or not simulated reflections can reduce front-back confusions for audio presented with non-individualized head-related transfer functions (HRTFs) via headphones. To measure the contribution of the reflections, 13 human subjects participated in localization experiments which compared their localization ability with anechoic HRTF processing versus HRTF processing with a single early-reflection. The results were highly subject dependent; some showed improvement while others seemed to be inhibited by the reflections. Statistical analysis of the overall results concluded that a single reflection does not provide a significant difference in localization ability. Although this data rejects the hypothesis of this investigation, some suspicion regarding the contribution of lateral reflections in an auditory environment remains.