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A Further Investigation of Echo Thresholds for the Optimization of Fattening Delays

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Since the introduction of stereophonic sound systems, mix engineers have developed and employed numerous artificial methods in order to enhance their productions. A simple yet notable example is the effect commonly known as “fattening,” where a mono signal is cloned, delayed, and then panned to the opposite side of the stereo field. The technique can improve a sound’s prominence in the mix by increasing its overall amplitude while creating a pseudostereo image and is a consequence of a renowned psychoacoustic phenomenon, the “precedence effect.” The aim of this investigation was to build upon previous accepted studies, conducting further experiments in order to produce refined estimates for echo thresholds for elements common to a multi-track music production. This investigation obtained new estimates of echo thresholds and fattening delay times, for a variety of isolated instrumental and vocal recordings, as perceived by a sample population of trained mix engineers. The study concludes that current recommendation for delay times used to create fattening effects should be refined, taking into account not only those features of the but also the consequences of temporal and spectral masking, when applied in the context of a multitrack.

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AES - Audio Engineering Society