Perceptual Evaluation of Plastic Sound Objects Generated by Massive-Multichannel Loudspeaker Systems
Research Project, 2018 – 2019

Highly immersive audio technology (a.k.a. 3D Audio) uses massive multichannel loudspeaker systems to create sonic experiences that go beyond those that conventional sound reproduction methods like stereo and surround can achieve [1, 2]. The evaluations of such approaches have focused on simple scenarios and basic perceptual attributes [3–8]. We propose to address the evaluation of a higher perceptual level in the proposed project, i.e. the implementation of aesthetic and artistic principles based on the concept of plastic sound objects. In the field of contemporary computer music, the usage of specific plastic sound objects called sound sculptures as created by a compact, outward radiating loudspeaker array (such as the IKO by IEM and sonible) has recently been investigated in terms of their perception and their verbalization [9–11]. This pioneering work has allowed for systematizing the phenomena of plastic sound objects [12], which has increasingly appeared in sound projection works over the last 60 years but continued to remain intangible. As a logical and mandatory continuation of this pioneering work, the proposed project aims at extending the perceptual evaluation of plastic sound objects to the established approaches of Ambisonics and Wave Field Synthesis [1,2] that use immersive inward-radiating loudspeaker systems enclosing the audience (cf. Fig. 1a) contrary to the plastic sound objects generated by outward-radiating loudspeaker arrays (cf. Fig. 1b). We aim at identifying the level of perceptual detail that can faithfully be controlled. The results of this quality assessment can be used to streamline the composition of plastic sound objects for different artistic intentions, such as (home)-entertainment. This way, convincing immersive audio for a larger population can be facilitated by establishing a more structured design approach and production process for loudspeaker-based 3D Audio.


Jens Ahrens (contact)

Chalmers, Architecture and Civil Engineering, Applied Acoustics


Kobolt Square Audio

Göteborg, Sweden

Kunstuniversität Graz

Graz, Austria

University of Gothenburg

Gothenburg, Sweden


European Commission (EC)

Project ID: RUN2017-00783
Funding Chalmers participation during 2018–2019

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