Auditory versus visual spatial impression: A study of two auditoria
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Spatial impression refers to the attributes of subjective space beyond localization. In the field of auditorium acoustics, auditory spatial impression is often divided into `apparent source width', `envelopment' and sometimes `intimacy'. In separate experiments, this study considers how visual and auditory spatial impression vary within two auditoria, and hence similarities between these two sensory modes. In the visual experiment, the `spaciousness', `envelopment', `stage dominance', `intimacy' and target distance were judged by subjects using grayscale projected photographs, taken from various positions in the audience areas of the two auditoria when a visual target was on stage. In the auditory experiment, the `apparent source width', `envelopment', `intimacy' and performer distance were judged using an anechoic orchestral recording convolved with binaural impulse responses measured from the same positions in the two auditoria. Results show target distance to be of primary importance in auditory and visual spatial impression – thereby providing a basis for covariance between some attributes of auditory and visual spatial impression. Nevertheless, some attributes of spatial impression diverge between the senses.