Spatial release from masking in varying spatial acoustic under higher order ambisonic-based sound reproduction system



A previous study found that spatial release from masking (SRM) could be observed under virtual reverberant environments using a first order Ambisonic-based sound reproduction system, however, poor localisation accuracy made it difficult to examine effect of varying reverberation time on SRM. The present study follows on using higher order Ambisonics (HOA) to examine how benefits from SRM vary in different spatial acoustics. Subjective speech intelligibility was measured where four room acoustics:reverberation time (RT)= 0.7 s (clarity (C50)= 16 dB, 7 dB); RT= 1.8 s (C50= 8 dB, 2 dB) were simulated via a third order Ambisonic system with a 16 channel spherical loudspeaker array. The masker was played from 8 azimuthal angles (0, +-45, +-90, +-135, 180 degrees) while the target speech was played from 0 degree. The listeners are deemed to benefit from SRM if their intelligibility scores were higher when the masker comes from a different angle than that of the target. We found while listeners could benefit from SRM at C50 = 16 dB and 8 dB, the benefit starts to diminish at C50 = 7 dB, and listeners could no longer benefit from SRM at C50 = 2 dB.