Reverberation is a central effect in many modern music productions. In the case of classical music, it may even be the only effect used. There is, however, minimal literature concerning the interaction between reverberation preference and the listening environment used during critical mixing tasks. In order to explore this critical interaction, a group of highly trained subjects are tasked with adding reverberation to dry, premixed stereo program material in two different acoustic environments: a recording studio control room and a highly reflective room. The control room is representative of most studios, with an RT of approximately 200 ms. The reflective environment more closely approximates an untreated residential room, with an RT of over 350 ms, with a marked increase in lateral energy. Somewhat predictably, the mean preferred reverberation level is higher in a less reverberant environment, but the distributions of reverberation level preference are shown to be narrower for the more reflective mixing environment. The time it takes for subjects to reach a decision is similar in both environments, but the reflective environment seems to suggest a longer period of adaptation at the beginning of each trial set.
Interaction between critical listening environment acoustics and listener reverberation preference
Brett Leonard, Richard L. King, Grzegorz Sikora; Interaction between critical listening environment acoustics and listener reverberation preference. Proc. Mtgs. Acoust. 2 June 2013; 19 (1): 015037. https://doi.org/10.1121/1.4799258
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