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Pitch, Timbre, Source Separation, and the Myths of Loudspeaker Imaging

Standard models for both timbre detection and sound localization do not account for our acuity of localization in reverberant environments or when there are several simultaneous sound sources. They also do not account for our near instant ability to determine whether a sound is near or far. This paper presents data on how both semantic content and localization information is encoded in the harmonics of complex tones, and the method by which the brain separates this data from multiple sources and from noise and reverberation. Much of the information in these harmonics is lost when a sound field is recorded and reproduced, leading to a sound image which may be plausible, but is not remotely as clear as the original sound field.

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