AES Journal Forum

Virtual Acoustics for Musicians: Subjective Evaluation of a Virtual Acoustic System in Performance of String Quartets

Document Thumbnail

Musicians’ ability to perceive and present their unique sound is greatly influenced by the acoustical properties of a given performance space. Musical properties such as dynamics, timbre, intonation, and tempo are closely dependent on spatial acoustics. As a consequence, the musical score and orchestration are often affected by the acoustic environment in which the composer intends to have the music performed. An experimental virtual acoustic system at McGill University located in a large scoring stage was used to examine the effect of spatial acoustics on musicians’ assessments of spatial quality of the sound field enveloping them during performance. Three acoustic conditions presented distinct room acoustic characteristics, including reverberation time, clarity, stage support, early lateral energy, and interaural cross correlation coefficient. Eleven professional string quartets, 44 musicians, were invited to render subjective evaluations by responding to surveys after performing under each condition. Results showed a strong preference for virtual acoustics over the natural acoustics of the space. Factor analysis revealed three primary underlying perceptual dimensions: stage support, spatial impression, and tonal balance. “Quality of reverberation (naturalness),” “amount of reverberation,” “hearing other musicians,” and “height sensation” were salient attributes highly correlated with their preferences.

JAES Volume 66 Issue 9 pp. 712-723; September 2018
Publication Date:

Click to purchase paper as a non-member or you can login as an AES member to see more options.

No AES members have commented on this report yet.

Subscribe to this discussion

RSS Feed To be notified of new comments on this report you can subscribe to this RSS feed. Forum users should login to see additional options.

Start a discussion!

If you would like to start a discussion about this report and are an AES member then you can login here:

If you are not yet an AES member and have something important to say about this report then we urge you to join the AES today and make your voice heard. You can join online today by clicking here.

AES - Audio Engineering Society