Timbre and Duration of Attack Depend on the Amount of Reverberation

Tor Halmrast

Univ. Oslo and Statsbygg

Saturday, September 14, 2019 from 14:00 to 14:01

in Summer Theater

Abstract :
The attack of a signal is of course best preserved if we hear the direct sound only, but that is not the case even in a small room. Musicians know how long reverberation masks the next onset, but more astonishing is the prolongation of the attack, also for a first note in a phrase. The paper will present theory regarding how diffuse field reverberation influences the attack. The early response of a concert hall, is, however, seldom “diffuse”, and it is shown that introducing early reflection can reduce the smoothening from the reverberation. The paper shows measurements of attack from the Integrated Squared Step Response, for both real halls and simulations, and for signals of different lengths and for different musical instruments. Very short notes/clicks/xylophone gets almost no prolongation of the attack due to reverberation. Medium long notes get prolonged attack, which makes them sound somewhat less brilliant. For double bass arco etc. with long note on-set, the attack is also prolonged, but the timbre might be even smoother and more pleasant. Preserving the attack is important because listeners nowadays are used to recordings where any wanted amount of direct sound is mixed with a late, long smooth, non-correlated reverberation.

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