The impact of onset transient duration onperceived transient loudness : Could transient level reduction be compensated by increasing transient duration?
Abstract: When mixing and mastering modern music, many engineers strive for making the end product to be perceived as loud as possible without sacrificing audio quality. Achieving this will often involve reducing the dynamic range of a track through peak limiting. By reducing the level of the loudest transients, the additional headroom can be used to raise the overall level of the track. This method of maximizing loudness through transient suppression has, arguably, made it more relevant to understand the human perception of transients. By further understanding the psychoacoustical factors that plays a role in how transient loudness is perceived, engineers could hopefully achieve greater audio quality while maximizing loudness, if desirable. This paper will focus on how the signal duration of a transient will affect its perceived loudness and potentially compensate for level changes within transients. The fact that sound signals of longer duration are perceived as louder than signals of shorter duration has been proven several times in prior research. This effect is tested again, in this research, by letting participants match the loudness of several short pink noise bursts of varying durations. The noise bursts are designed to mimic the envelope of a typical snare drum transient, which makes the stimuli differ from stimuli tested in prior experiments testing the same effect. Based on the result from this experiment, each transient is normalized to be perceived as equally loud. Then, a stationary component is added to every transient to make each stimuli mimic a full typical snare drum. In a second experiment, each stimuli is then compared against each other in an ABX test to see if listeners can perceive the differences. The results from the first experiment showed that transients were perceived to be approximately 0.3 dB louder per 5 ms increase in duration. In the second experiment, listeners failed to hear the differences between stimuli when transient duration differed less than 5 ms. For differences in duration longer than this, listeners correctly identified the differences.
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