This paper is concerned with modulation and beat detection for sinusoidal carriers. In the first experiment, temporal modulation transfer functions (TMTFs) were measured for carrier frequencies between 1 and 10 kHz. Modulation rates covered the range from 10 Hz to about the rate equaling the critical bandwidth at the carrier frequency. In experiment 2, TMTFs for three carrier frequencies were obtained as a function of the carrier level. In the final experiment, thresholds for the detection of either the lower or the upper modulation sideband (beat detection) were measured for “carrier” frequencies of 5 and 10 kHz, using the same range of modulation rates as in experiment 1. The TMTFs for carrier frequencies of 2 kHz and higher remained flat up to a modulation rate of about 100–130 Hz and had similar values across carrier frequencies. For higher rates, modulation thresholds initially increased and then decreased rapidly, reflecting the subjects’ ability to resolve the sidebands spectrally. Detection thresholds generally improved with increasing carrier level, but large variations in the exact level dependence were observed, across subjects as well as across carrier frequencies. For beat rates up to about 70 Hz (at 5 kHz) and 100 Hz (at 10 kHz), beat detection thresholds were the same for the upper and the lower sidebands and were about 6 dB higher than the level per sideband at the modulation-detection threshold. At higher rates the threshold for both sidebands increased, but the increase was larger for the lower sideband. This reflects an asymmetry in masking with more masking towards lower frequencies. Only at rates well beyond the maximum of the TMTF did detection for the lower sideband start to be better than that for the upper sideband. The asymmetry at intermediate frequency separations can be explained by assuming that detection always takes place in filters centered above the stimulus spectrum. The shape of the TMTF and the beat-detection data reflects a limitation in resolving fast amplitude variations, which must occur central to the inner-ear filtering. Its characteristic resembles that of a first-order low-pass filter with a cutoff frequency of about 150 Hz.

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