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John S Bradley, H Sato, and M Picard (2003)

On the importance of early reflections for speech in rooms

Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 113(6):3233-3244.

This paper presents the results of new studies based on speech intelligibility tests in simulated sound fields and analyses of impulse response measurements in rooms used for speech communication. The speech intelligibility test results confirm the importance of early reflections for achieving good conditions for speech in rooms. The addition of early reflections increased the effective signal-to-noise ratio and related speech intelligibility scores for both impaired and nonimpaired listeners. The new results also show that for common conditions where the direct sound is reduced, it is only possible to understand speech because of the presence of early reflections. Analyses of measured impulse responses in rooms intended for speech show that early reflections can increase the effective signal-to-noise ratio by up to 9 dB. A room acoustics computer model is used to demonstrate that the relative importance of early reflections can be influenced by the room acoustics design.

 

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