Skip to main content

Topic: The preservation of perception (Read 1805 times) previous topic - next topic

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
  • Nowhk
  • [*]
The preservation of perception
Hi all,

its my first post here, and I'd like to discuss a uncertainty I have due to (I bet) my lacks of knowledge (already discussed in other community, but without satisfying results till now).
I'll try to be short and quick  :) Than...

If I go on wiki to see the definition of Timbre, it clearly says "The physical characteristics of sound that determine the perception of timbre include spectrum and envelope.".

You know better than me that physically an event can't occurs equal twice: if you also change the way a signal will propagate to the air (speakers, room, presets by your hifi eq, setup in general) its implicit that physical characteristics of the sound (in particular spectrum; but also its envelope in some minor ways) will be "shaped".

If these aspect determine "the perception of timbre", its seems logical that different "spectrum" will cause a different perception of timbre. Yeah, it also depends on bias, memory, and other stuff. But the physical characteristics are the triggering stimuli, and are being included as part of the perception task.

If that's true (and please note: I'm not talking obviously of listening a guitar like a piano, but a "slightly" different perceived guitar's timbre), does this means that you can't preserve a fixed timbre across playback? The perception of a guitar's timbre will be always slightly different? Or the perception of timbre remain the same (i.e. is preserved, due to the power of our brain to balance/filter/add memory to what we hear, so what actually change) and what change is only the "spectrum" (which is a physical thing)?

Lets take another example considering reverb: if I listen to a guitar on different environments/setup, each different reverb (or not reverb at all with headphones), I still hear A guitar. But the impacts of the reflections on the guitar sound will affect the whole guitar sound. So am I enjoying the guitar with that reverb impact as a whole result (so a perception = guitar sound + presence introduced by reverb) or the impact of reverb won't affect any perception and my brain just extrapolate the guitar (so the reverb is just a room's vehicle to expose better/worse, depening of each person, the guitar)?

Or also: think when you sound design an electronic kick, I "design" envelope for volume, filter, and so on.
On playback, these "curves" won't be preserved at 100%: the attack/release could be smooth as for the speaker's transient (i.e. the dynamic change a bit; soft or hard components). Filter can "sweep" between different ranges, add "ringing" new freq on top, and some "weird" things could pop out. So again in fact you are not hearing the same every time.
But maybe you are "listening" the same due to the brain (subconscious) filtering/compensating? Or do you "feel" like somethings is changed every time? A new perception (even is similar) on each listening?

The question: is perception (timbre, dynamic, fxs, and so on) preserved across different environments or it will naturally change (even if in small amounts) due to the physical world where we are? i.e. Is the brain compensating for this or take care about these variations bringing "how it is" for that setup?

Maybe is it more a philosophical question, but I hope in a good participation   :)
  • Last Edit: 02 August, 2017, 04:26:10 AM by Nowhk

  • smok3
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
  • Moderator
Re: The preservation of perception
Reply #1
Quote
Timbre has been called, "...the psychoacoustician's multidimensional waste-basket category for everything that cannot be labeled pitch or loudness." (McAdams and Bregman 1979, 34; cf. Dixon Ward 1965, 55 and Tobias 1970, 409).
from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timbre

Of course it gets more complicated, listening practice vs. performance may be perceived differently due to people wearing 'better' clothes.

Quote
A new perception (even is similar) on each listening?
If you are thinking a series of equal 5 kicks will be perceived differently than series of 7 kicks, I'd guess yes (Something to do with composition/time).
  • Last Edit: 02 August, 2017, 05:14:45 AM by smok3
PANIC: CPU 1: Cache Error (unrecoverable - dcache data) Eframe = 0x90000000208cf3b8
NOTICE - cpu 0 didn't dump TLB, may be hung

  • Nowhk
  • [*]
Re: The preservation of perception
Reply #2
Of course it gets more complicated, listening practice vs. performance may be perceived differently due to people wearing 'better' clothes.
I was talking about a records and multiple playback across different setups, instead of considering a "unique" event such a concert (which is not repeatable, and we cannot compare it).

If you are thinking a series of equal 5 kicks will be perceived differently than series of 7 kicks, I'd guess yes (Something to do with composition/time).
No, again I'm talking about the same equal 5 kicks played in different setups. Punchness, tecture/timbre, sweeps, presence/reverb... all will change a bit. Does the perception of that 5 kick sequence remain the same? Or will be influenced by those variations?

  • ajinfla
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
Re: The preservation of perception
Reply #3
The question: is perception (timbre, dynamic, fxs, and so on) preserved across different environments or it will naturally change (even if in small amounts) due to the physical world where we are? i.e. Is the brain compensating for this or take care about these variations bringing "how it is" for that setup?
Do you instantly recognize your parents voices outdoors, in a church, in a restaurant, etc?
Loudspeaker manufacturer

  • Nowhk
  • [*]
Re: The preservation of perception
Reply #4
The question: is perception (timbre, dynamic, fxs, and so on) preserved across different environments or it will naturally change (even if in small amounts) due to the physical world where we are? i.e. Is the brain compensating for this or take care about these variations bringing "how it is" for that setup?
Do you instantly recognize your parents voices outdoors, in a church, in a restaurant, etc?

Of course! But is this the "task" of listening to music? Recognize actors/things? Just reckon thats a guitar within the song?
Or rather "listen" to its character, its timbre/color, its dynamic, and so on?

Because if the latter, perception change on every playback... and this makes me confused  :o

  • ajinfla
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
Re: The preservation of perception
Reply #5
Of course! But is this the "task" of listening to music? Recognize actors/things?
Sure. How do you know what a guitar or piano sounds like?
You have to have some familiarity/experience hearing things to recognize/identify as such, as you are familiar with your parents voices.
Then when the environment changes the timbre, which it does, you can still recognize.
Here is a link with some presentations that might help with "How we hear" http://www.aes.org/sections/pnw/jj.htm
Loudspeaker manufacturer

  • Nowhk
  • [*]
Re: The preservation of perception
Reply #6
Of course! But is this the "task" of listening to music? Recognize actors/things?
Sure. How do you know what a guitar or piano sounds like?
You have to have some familiarity/experience hearing things to recognize/identify as such, as you are familiar with your parents voices.
Then when the environment changes the timbre, which it does, you can still recognize.
Here is a link with some presentations that might help with "How we hear" http://www.aes.org/sections/pnw/jj.htm

Not sure about this :( If thats true, hearing the same riff with two different guitars wouldn't evoke different "perception" (i.e. recognition). A guitar, same riff. But you do know that there are guitars we like more, because it sounds different.

So I guess we "enjoy" the sound it emits, right? So again: if the sound of a fixed guitar changes on every environments, we got it different every time (even if we still identify its a Fender). But is the sound that we enjoy, not retrieving the guitar/Fender pair.
Thats my puzzlement, do you follow me?

I'll check the presentations though, thanks for them!
  • Last Edit: 02 August, 2017, 09:34:55 AM by Nowhk

  • ajinfla
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
Re: The preservation of perception
Reply #7
If thats true
It is.

hearing the same riff with two different guitars wouldn't evoke different "perception"
Electric guitar "riffs" are another matter entirely. You asked about recognition with timbre changes due to environment. Answer above.
Fender guitar riffs, etc, etc. are for others to answer.
Loudspeaker manufacturer

  • Nowhk
  • [*]
Re: The preservation of perception
Reply #8
You asked about recognition with timbre changes due to environment.
Maybe you misunderstand me, I'm sorry. I'm not a native english :)
I've asked about "preservation" of sound (perception) due to environment.

Riff is just a sequence of notes, it was an example. This sequence of notes will evoke different colors (timbre, emitted by guitar) in your brain if the environment change them.

Does this make no differences on listening to music? It seems you are saying that what matter is just to hear the sequence of notes (sequence of perceived pitch) and find out which instrument play it?
  • Last Edit: 02 August, 2017, 10:01:21 AM by Nowhk

  • Deathcrow
  • [*]
Re: The preservation of perception
Reply #9
Can you break down the main topic a little bit?

I mean, yea, of course environment changes sound. And sure, there are environments that are more suited towards certain kind of sound because a certain kind of timbre is desired. That's why Opera houses are built in a certain way. And yes, it seems obvious that you will never be able to identically reproduce such a performance from a recording. Isn't that self-evident? I think you can get pretty close though depending on your equipment.

Just my 2 cents.

  • Nowhk
  • [*]
Re: The preservation of perception
Reply #10
And sure, there are environments that are more suited towards certain kind of sound because a certain kind of timbre is desired. That's why Opera houses are built in a certain way.
Yes, but if you see it this way, the artist/producer are not the only "actors" who will partecipate to your perception of their work.

Paradoxically they aren't the only responsible of what they are trying to make (i.e. what you get).
They just put some "bases". The final sound (perception) will be shaped by listener's personal choices. Or am I wrong?

(remember that I'm talking of a single human perception, not the all people).

  • Deathcrow
  • [*]
Re: The preservation of perception
Reply #11
They just put some "bases". The final sound (perception) will be shaped by listener's personal choices. Or am I wrong?

(remember that I'm talking of a single human perception, not the all people).

Sure, if you decide to listen to your favorite record inside a tanker truck it's probably going to be perceived radically differently than in a studio or with good headphones. What's your point?

  • Nowhk
  • [*]
Re: The preservation of perception
Reply #12
They just put some "bases". The final sound (perception) will be shaped by listener's personal choices. Or am I wrong?

(remember that I'm talking of a single human perception, not the all people).

Sure, if you decide to listen to your favorite record inside a tanker truck it's probably going to be perceived radically differently than in a studio or with good headphones. What's your point?
My point is that this could add "fx" that weren't designed by artist.

For example, when mixing, if I decide to add reverb to a kickdrum I introduce (as producer, on purpose) more "presence" to the kickdrum (stupid example here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-CyqVay2To).

Rather, if I decide to don't add that reverb "fx" to that track, but later I'll listen to it on a room with "natural" reverb, its similar to have added the fx to that track (which wasn't designed). I perceive the "more presence" of the kick due to the environments. Instead, if I take the track and I listen to the headphone, the reverb vanish, and I'll perceive in a different way.

So as producer I lost the control of my "intent", and the track will reveal as somethings it isn't.
OR our brain will extrapolate the same content, "filtering out" the environment reverb?
That's my point.

Do we listen/enjoy "the song with color" or we extrapolate "the song" from what we heard (with its own color) by playback setup?

  • knutinh
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
Re: The preservation of perception
Reply #13
...
Do we listen/enjoy "the song with color" or we extrapolate "the song" from what we heard (with its own color) by playback setup?
My guess would be that we are (to some degree) doing a subconscious separation of "source" and "environment" and analyzing the two separately.

Thus we are aware that a saxophone played in a large church is in fact the same instrument as one played in a small anechoic chamber, even though the low-level waveform characteristics that reach our ears is very different.

So do we separate a clean electric guitar from the buzzy distortion used in a tube amplifier? My guess would be "no", on a subjective level I think that we perceive the sound-shaping of that amplifier as an inherent component in the "source" signal.


So what kind of control does a music producer have over the end-result? There is nothing limiting the end-user from playing back a record in a stone church, using dsp-driven surround-processing to generate 5 spatial channels, summing to mono or a number of other sound modifying actions. I guess that the pragmatic solution is for the record producer to use one or more "reference" playback chains in the feedback loop. Either chosen because they are "typical" of playback systems, or because they are "best-case" playback systems.

Interestingly, the move from loudspeakers to headphones could make the playback chain more predictable. It would be very interesting if HRTF-type content became more common with people using their phones as a primary music source.

-k
  • Last Edit: 21 August, 2017, 05:04:18 AM by knutinh

  • Nowhk
  • [*]
Re: The preservation of perception
Reply #14
Hi knutinh .
Sorry for the late reply, but I didn't received the notify about this topic :O

So what kind of control does a music producer have over the end-result? There is nothing limiting the end-user from playing back a record in a stone church, using dsp-driven surround-processing to generate 5 spatial channels, summing to mono or a number of other sound modifying actions. I guess that the pragmatic solution is for the record producer to use one or more "reference" playback chains in the feedback loop. Either chosen because they are "typical" of playback systems, or because they are "best-case" playback systems.
Yes, but for each "reference" you will choose, you have different sounding result, thus different perceptions.

So is it correct to claim you are working on a "band" of sounds? A product that "vary" a bit due to circumstances?
Because it seems that many things (timbre was an example) is always going to change (even if a bit) every time (as for every experience you are doing).