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Occupancy-Based Analysis and Interpretation of Soundscape Auditory Complexity: Case of a Campus Restaurant

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Audio scene analysis and soundscape perception have been of interest to many researchers in room acoustics, urban sound design, and audio processing. This article presents an analysis and interpretation of soundscape perceptions of a public confined eating space. Based on a realistic setting of a campus restaurant, a 220-subject survey was conducted where various auditory complexity perceptions were queried as the space went from empty to full occupancy. The responses to five aspects of auditory complexity perception are investigated via an on-site survey: the level of auditory attention, soundscape complexity, sound nuisance due to objects, that due to human voices, and the ease of carrying on a discussion in the restaurant. The audio recordings of the changing restaurant soundscape were examined for objective signal complexity changes, via first- and second-order entropy dynamics, in a search for tendencies that align with the subjective study. Nonmonotic changes of these perceptions were noted with increasing occupancy levels. Various physical, spatial, and human factors, which are in constant interaction to form a composite experience and therefore a complex soundscape, all of which play a contributing role.

JAES Volume 63 Issue 6 pp. 475-487; June 2015
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AES - Audio Engineering Society