Assessing room acoustic listening expertise

von Berg, Markus; Steffens, Jochen; Weinzierl, Stefan and Müllensiefen, Daniel. 2021. Assessing room acoustic listening expertise. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 150(4), pp. 2539-2548. ISSN 0001-4966 [Article]

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Musicians and music professionals are often considered to be expert listeners for listening tests on room acoustics. However, these tests often target acoustic parameters other than those typically relevant in music such as pitch, rhythm, amplitude, or timbre. To assess the expertise in perceiving and understanding room acoustical phenomena, a listening test battery was constructed to measure the perceptual sensitivity and cognitive abilities in the identification of rooms with different reverberation times and different spectral envelopes. Performance in these tests was related to data from the Goldsmiths Musical Sophistication Index, self-reported previous experience in music recording and acoustics, and academic knowledge on acoustics. The data from 102 participants show that sensory and cognitive abilities are both correlated significantly with musical training, analytic listening skills, recording experience, and academic knowledge on acoustics, whereas general interest in and engagement with music do not show any significant correlations. The regression models, using only significantly correlated criteria of musicality and professional expertise, explain only small to moderate amounts (11%–28%) of the variance in the “room acoustic listening expertise” across the different tasks of the battery. Thus, the results suggest that the traditional criteria for selecting expert listeners in room acoustics are only weak predictors of their actual performances.

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Copyright (2021) Acoustical Society of America. This article may be downloaded for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the author and the Acoustical Society of America.

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17 September 2021Accepted
8 October 2021Published Online
August 2021Published

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11 Oct 2021 12:22

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08 Apr 2022 01:26

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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