Statistics of natural reverberation enable perceptual separation of sound and space

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2016

James Traer and Josh H. McDermott, Computational Audition Lab, MIT

Summary Audio Demos Figures IR Survey Code

Please use headphones for best results. (The reverberation of the room you are in may obscure some of the effects in the demos).

MIT Acoustical Reverberation Scene Statistics Survey

These are environmental Impulse Responses (IRs) measured in the real-world IR survey as described in Traer and McDermott, PNAS, 2016. The survey locations were selected by tracking the motions of 7 volunteers over the course of 2 weeks of daily life. We sent the volunteers 24 text messages every day at randomized times and asked the volunteers to respond with their location at the time the text was sent. We then retraced their steps and measured the acoustic impulse responses of as many spaces as possible. We recorded 271 IRs from a total of 301 unique locations. This data set therefore reflects the diversity of acoustic distortion our volunteers encounter in the course of daily life. All recordings were made with a 1.5 meter spacing between speaker and microphone to simulate a typical conversation. The filename prefix "Nhits" lists how many text messages we received from a given space.