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Smallest audible level difference—anyone have refs. for common claims?
I'm hoping you folks can point me to "official" research showing the smallest level difference people can hear. The general consensus is that level changes as small as 1/2 or even 1/4 dB can be perceived under some conditions. And I'm sure there's a ton of research to back this up. But all I've been able to find with Google are statements to that effect, some on university web sites, but with no actual references to past research. Surely this has been published many times?

Thanks.

--Ethan
I believe in Truth, Justice, and the Scientific Method

  • C.R.Helmrich
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Smallest audible level difference—anyone have refs. for common claims?
Reply #1
Google for "zwicker 7 just-noticeable sound changes".

Chris
If I don't reply to your reply, it means I agree with you.

  • xnor
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Smallest audible level difference—anyone have refs. for common claims?
Reply #2
"I hear it when I see it."

Smallest audible level difference—anyone have refs. for common claims?
Reply #3
Thanks guys, that helps.

Google for "zwicker 7 just-noticeable sound changes".

That seems to be JND for amplitude modulation at 4 Hz, versus absolute volume differences.

I'm surprised this stuff isn't as well documented as the Fletcher-Munson curves.

--Ethan
I believe in Truth, Justice, and the Scientific Method

  • Woodinville
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Smallest audible level difference—anyone have refs. for common claims?
Reply #4
You need to be much more specific. What kind of change? Under what circumstances? Etc.
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J. D. (jj) Johnston

  • Speedskater
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Smallest audible level difference—anyone have refs. for common claims?
Reply #5
The problem that Ethan is having, is that on another audio forum, where many of the members don't understand what a blind test is (let alone a AB/X test) one of the member wrote:

Listening acuity is much higher than you assume.  Differences as small as 3 millibels have been repeatedly detected in otherwise identical equipment.   

So Ethan is looking for more factual information.
Kevin Graf :: aka Speedskater

  • saratoga
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Smallest audible level difference—anyone have refs. for common claims?
Reply #6
I tested this myself once.  I could ABX 0.5 dB with actual music, but it was fairly difficult.  I could not ABX lower.  I suspect with properly chosen pure tones more subtle differences may be noticeable, but I was only concerned with real music.

YMMV.

  • C.R.Helmrich
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Smallest audible level difference—anyone have refs. for common claims?
Reply #7
That seems to be JND for amplitude modulation at 4 Hz, versus absolute volume differences.

No! That search string was intended to lead you to the book "Psychoacoustics: Facts and Models" by Zwicker and Fastl, which has an entire chapter on that topic (chapter 7, hence the "7 ..."). You should be able to browse that book through Google Books. Recommended buy, btw.

Edit: Figure 7.1 already tells us a lot about the impressive JND sensitivity to certain tones at certain levels, which supports saratoga's claim.

Chris
  • Last Edit: 20 January, 2012, 05:56:33 PM by C.R.Helmrich
If I don't reply to your reply, it means I agree with you.

  • Brand
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Smallest audible level difference—anyone have refs. for common claims?
Reply #8
Probably not the "official" research you're looking for, but FWIW, there are some user reports of audible small differences, including mine for 0.1dB. I think that I might be able to do even less than 0.1dB (I'll give it a try one of these days).

  • mzil
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Smallest audible level difference—anyone have refs. for common claims?
Reply #9
Apparently, from what I've heard, to find the lowest JNDs you need to use young teenagers from primitive cultures (no exposure to amplified sound/motor noise/subway etc) in an isolated soundproof room, using headphones, listening to narrow band noise (not pure tones, which was more common in such research in the past), centered at around 3.5 kHz or a little higher, at a slightly annoyingly loud level they'll not choose of their own accord, with rapid-fire A/B switching.

Some historical references, including a chart that won't cut and paste nicely to here (but I tried), below, taken from  here.

Code: [Select]
[b]Study Authors       Year Published   Min. Detectable Fluctuation le[/b]
Reisz              1928            ~1 dB
Dimmick & Olson    1941            JND = 1.5 dB to 3 dB
Atal, et. al.      1962            ~ 1 dB
Jestaedt, et. al.  1977            JND @ 80 dB = 0.5 dB
                                     JND @ 5 dB = 1.5 dB
Toole and Olive    1988            .25 dB for a 5kHz resonance, Q = 1
B. Atal, M. Schroeder, K. Kuttruff, "Perception of Coloration in Filtered Gaussian Noise Short-time Spectral Analysis of the Ear", 4th ICA , Copenhagen , Denmark 1962, paper H31.
F.L. Dimmick and R. M. Olson, '`The Intensive Difference Limen in Audition" JASA, vol. 12, pp. 517-525 (1941)
W. Jesteadt, C. C. Weir and D. M. Green, "Intensity Discrimination as a Function of Frequency and Sensation Level" JASA, vol. 61, pp. 169-177 (1977)
R. Reisz, "Differential Intensity Sensitivity of the Ear for Pure Tones", Physical Review, vol 31, pp 867-875 (1928)
F.E. Toole and S. Olive, "The Modification of Timbre by Resonances: Perception and Measurements", JAES vol 36, # 3, March 1988, pp 122-142
R. Hellman, et. al., "Determination of Equal-loudness Relations at High Frequencies", Department of Psychology and Institute for Hearing, Speech, and Language, Northeastern University, Boston, MA USA,
  • Last Edit: 21 January, 2012, 04:39:46 AM by db1989

  • db1989
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Smallest audible level difference—anyone have refs. for common claims?
Reply #10
a chart that won't cut and paste nicely to here (but I tried)
I tried something else. How does that look? Better than all those CRLFs and massive amounts of whitespace, I think! It wasn’t difficult to fix, so please take the couple of minutes that would be needed in future cases.

Smallest audible level difference—anyone have refs. for common claims?
Reply #11
Differences as small as 3 millibels have been repeatedly detected in otherwise identical equipment.
I've participated in non-blind listening tests where "Differences as small as 0 millibels have been repeatedly detected."
Did the poster give any references for his 3 mB JND claim or was it just another attempt to keep forums busy ?

  • Speedskater
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Smallest audible level difference—anyone have refs. for common claims?
Reply #12
It may not have been a serious post!
See post #57, but his previous post #54 is obviously just humor.
Reading his posts in other threads,  this is not a typical post.

http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=102515.40
  • Last Edit: 21 January, 2012, 09:31:53 AM by Speedskater
Kevin Graf :: aka Speedskater

  • mzil
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Smallest audible level difference—anyone have refs. for common claims?
Reply #13
a chart that won't cut and paste nicely to here (but I tried)
I tried something else. How does that look? Better than all those CRLFs and massive amounts of whitespace, I think! It wasn’t difficult to fix, so please take the couple of minutes that would be needed in future cases.

Thanks, that looks much nicer.

I'm sure you are correct that it was not difficult for you to fix, however you have some knowledge  about cutting and pasting charts/diagrams from websites to forum text  that I don't possess. My failure to present the data in a nice compact chart had nothing to do with my "not taking the couple of minutes necessary", but rather my complete lack of training in such matters. (Nor the software necessary, unless Windows itself has this chart manipulation/conversion software built in and I just don't know where nor how to use it.)

I've never heard of "CRLFs" but Googling it I doubt you mean "Consolidated Resources for Lego Fire Services" [Ha ha.] but rather "carriage return line feeds". Now knowing this acronym's individual words still doesn't gain me the knowledge to cut and paste charts in the future, however. Please tell me what program you are using to manipulate the chart when you paste it here, and I will be able to hopefully download the program for free and learn how to do this on my own for future use.

Thanks.

  • Woodinville
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Smallest audible level difference—anyone have refs. for common claims?
Reply #14
Differences as small as 3 millibels have been repeatedly detected in otherwise identical equipment.
I've participated in non-blind listening tests where "Differences as small as 0 millibels have been repeatedly detected."
Did the poster give any references for his 3 mB JND claim or was it just another attempt to keep forums busy ?


3 milliBels is .3 dB, which is in fact, for time-proximate stimulii, not entirely out of the question.
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J. D. (jj) Johnston

  • lvqcl
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Smallest audible level difference—anyone have refs. for common claims?
Reply #15
0.03 dB maybe?

  • mzil
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Smallest audible level difference—anyone have refs. for common claims?
Reply #16
  • Last Edit: 21 January, 2012, 01:17:59 PM by mzil

  • db1989
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Smallest audible level difference—anyone have refs. for common claims?
Reply #17
Thanks, that looks much nicer.
Glad you think so!

Quote
I'm sure you are correct that it was not difficult for you to fix, however you have some knowledge  about cutting and pasting charts/diagrams from websites to forum text  that I don't possess. My failure to present the data in a nice compact chart had nothing to do with my "not taking the couple of minutes necessary", but rather my complete lack of training in such matters. [. . .] Please tell me what program you are using to manipulate the chart when you paste it here, and I will be able to hopefully download the program for free and learn how to do this on my own for future use.
Heh, it was nothing refined: I just used Notepad to align the columns using spaces in a fixed-width font and then pasted that into a [ codebox], which (like [ code]) preserves fixed-width characters and multiple spaces, unlike normal fonts. I would probably be stuffed if I had to do anything actually complicated, so we’re the same here.  I apologise for the way I worded that.

Smallest audible level difference—anyone have refs. for common claims?
Reply #18
So Ethan is looking for more factual information.


No! That search string was intended to lead you to the book "Psychoacoustics: Facts and Models" by Zwicker and Fastl, which has an entire chapter on that topic (chapter 7, hence the "7 ..."). You should be able to browse that book through Google Books. Recommended buy, btw.


Some historical references, including a chart that won't cut and paste nicely to here (but I tried), below


Excellent, thanks to all. And Chris, I did try to browse through that book's chapter, but it kept leaving out pages, so all I was able to see referred to AM audibility.

--Ethan
I believe in Truth, Justice, and the Scientific Method

  • krabapple
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Smallest audible level difference—anyone have refs. for common claims?
Reply #19
Ethan, have you seen this?
Not JND , but might be pertinent

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Absolute_threshold_of_hearing


  • Woodinville
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Smallest audible level difference—anyone have refs. for common claims?
Reply #20
0.03 dB maybe?


d'oH. Yeah.

.3 dB is in the "maybe" range.

.03, um, no.
-----
J. D. (jj) Johnston

Smallest audible level difference—anyone have refs. for common claims?
Reply #21
Ethan, have you seen this?
Not JND , but might be pertinent


Yeah, I've seen that, and other tests for threshold levels. By total coincidence, I had my hearing tested on Thursday. First time in probably 30 years. As expected, my thresholds are not what they once were, but the doc said it's within a normal range for someone my age of 63.

--Ethan
I believe in Truth, Justice, and the Scientific Method