The work presents a comparison of some sound attributes perceived at a multichannel and stereo playback of musical recordings. The width of the virtual source, coherence impression, total size of sound scene, general quality and balance were the subjects of interest after the format reduction in accordance with the ITU recommendation. The results showed that evaluation of these attributes depends on the way the original audiosphere has been created in the surround system, for example, for a narrow virtual source the mix-down process causes only a small change in its size but for a broad source the observed degradation is significant. In addition, different ways of conversion from the multichannel to stereo format have been tested for compatibility.
The paper presents results of research on an influence of listening fatigue on the detection of changes in spectrum and envelope of musical samples. The experiment was carried out under conditions which normally exist in a studio or on the stage when sound material is recorded and/or mixed. The equivalent level of presented sound samples is usually 90 dB and this is an average value of sound level existing in control room at various recording activities. Such musical material may be treated as a noise so Temporary Threshold Shift phenomenon may occur after several sessions and this may lead to a listening fatigue effect. Fourteen subjects participated in the first part of the experiment and all of them have the normal hearing thresholds. The stimuli contained the musical material with introduced changes in sound spectrum up to ±6 dB in low (100 Hz), middle (1 kHz) and high frequency (10 kHz) octave bands. In the second part of research five subjects listened to musical samples with introduced envelope changes up to ±6 dB in interval of 1 s. The time of loud music exposure was 60, 90 and 120 minutes and this material was completely different from the tested samples. It turned out that listening to the music with an Leq = 90 dB for 1 hour influences the hearing thresholds for middle frequency region (about 1-2 kHz) and this has been reflected in a perception of spectral changes. The perceived peaks/notches of 3 dB have the detection ability at 70% and the changes of low and high ranges of spectrum were perceived at the similar level. After the longer exposure, the thresholds shifted up to 4.5 dB for the all investigated stimuli. It has been also found that hearing fatigue after 1 hour of a listening influences the perception of envelope which gets worse of 2 dB in comparison to the fresh-ear listening. When time of listening to the loud music increases, the changes in envelopes which can be detected rise to the value of 6 dB after 90-minutes exposure and it does not increase with further prolongation of listening time.
The paper presents results of hearing loss measurements provided for 81 young people (from 16 to 25 years old). The main aim of the work was to find the influence of headphones of the types used (closed, semi-open, open and in-ear) on the hearing losses. The first part of the research was to answer questions about the influence of: time of listening, loudness of music, other noise exposures as well as the type of the headphones used. It turned out that all factors mentioned above influence thresholds of hearing but the found dependencies are not explicit. The greatest hearing losses were observed for people who work as sound reinforcement engineers and, moreover, no influence of the headphone types was found for them. It turned out that the use of in-ear headphones causes the greatest hearing losses for some subjects (thresholds shifted up to about 20 dB HL at 4 kHz). The daily time of a listening also affected the hearing thresholds. It was found that for users of in-ear and close headphones, an average time of musical exposure of three hours causes the hearing loss of 10-15 dB HL at higher frequencies. The use of open as well as semi-open headphones has no influence on the hearing damage. Thus it would be stated that these kinds are safety in use. Almost 15% of the investigated young people have their thresholds shifted up at higher frequencies, particularly at 4 kHz, which means that they have the first symptoms of a permanent hearing damage.