Perceptual roughness of spatially assigned sparse noise for rendering reverberation


Multichannel auralizations based on spatial room impulse responses often employ sample-wise assignment of an omnidirectional response to form loudspeaker responses. This leads to sparse impulse responses in each reproduction loudspeaker and the auralization of transient signals can sound rough. Based on this observation, we conducted a listening test to examine the general phenomenon of roughness due to spatial assignment. First, participants assessed the roughness of both Gaussian noise and velvet noise, assigned sample-wise to up to 36 loudspeakers by two algorithms. The first algorithm assigns channels merely by selecting random indices, while the second one constrains the time between two peaks on each channel. The results show that roughness already occurs when few channels are used and that the assignment algorithm influences it. In a second experiment, virtualizations of the test were used to examine the factors contributing to increased roughness. We systematically show the effect of spatial assignment on noise and conclude that besides time-differences, level-differences caused by head-shadowing are the principal cause for the perceived roughness. The results have significance in spatial room impulse response rendering and spatial reverberator design.

The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America