In nature and most daily life situations, sounds of the world are naturally perceived as coming from outside the head. In the context of spatial hearing, this is referred as “externalization”. Conversely, listening to stereo mixes (e.g. music, podcasts) through headphones results most of the time in an acoustic image located inside the head for the listener. This phenomenon is usually called “lateralization” in literature. It is hypothesized that long-term listening to lateralized sound may lead to listening fatigue.

Using binaural spatialization technology, the project aims at simulating through headphones, the acoustic impression of a high-end pair of loudspeakers in a listening room for a listener located in the “sweet spot”. It is expected that listening to stereo music spatialized through this simulation in another environment would provide to the listener an externalized sound image, as coming from virtual loudspeakers. After exploring the literature and designing the set up for measurements, the student will design a user-friendly customized binaural music player. A subjective listening test involving experienced headphone users should be defined and performed to assess perceptual qualities of such audio rendering in comparison to the usual stereo lateralized sound (e.g. fatigue, pleasantness).

Ideal prerequisites: Electroacoustique (BA5) or Signal processing (BA5) or Audio Engineering (MA1), experience with Matlab/Simulink

Content: Audio signal processing, Psychoacoustics

You can experience binaural externalized sound with headphones here: