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Perception of Time-Varying Signals: Timbre and Phonetic JND of Diphthong

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In this paper we propose a linear time-varying model for diphthong synthesis based on linear interpolation of formant frequencies. We, thence, determine the timbre just-noticeable difference (JND) for diphthong /a I/ (as in ‘buy’) with a constant pitch excitation through perception experiment involving four listeners and explore the phonetic JND of the diphthong. Their JND responses are determined using 1-up-3-down procedure. Using the experimental data, we map the timbre JND and phonetic JND onto a 2-D region of percentage change of formant glides. The timbre and phonetic JND contours for constant pitch show that the phonetic JND region encloses timbre JND region and also varies across listeners. The JND is observed to be more sensitive to ending vowel /I/ than starting vowel /a/ in some listeners and dependent on the direction of perturbation of starting and ending vowels.

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