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The average distance between, you know,

the human ears is about 22 to 23

centimeters, okay?
And so, you know, I've given myself a
head start because drawing circles for me
is a little bit difficult.
But if we assume this is someone's head,
and we sketch on a couple of ears.
And we'll assume that they're listening
to music they enjoy, so we'll put a smile
on here.
the point I wanted to make was, is that a
wave length of 1500 hertz fits precisely
between the two ears, okay?
So, what happens when you know, I
shouldn't say the wave length of 1500
hertz, it's the wave length corresponding
to a frequency of 1500 hertz.
So the wave length is on the order of 22
to 23 centimeters, it's exactly the
distance between the two ears, at
corresponding to 1500 hertz in air,
So what happens at much lower frequency?
Well, at much lower frequency, the
wavelength gets much longer, so it's much
greater than the distance between the
At much higher frequency, the
corresponding wave length can become much
shorter, okay?
And so now the question is, is how do the
ears and the brain use that in terms of
localizing sound.
And that's what we're going to see a bit
more of on the next that I have here.
So in details in the range of frequencies
below 1500 hertz, will cause that
wavelengths larger then the dimensions,
between the ears.
And, above 1500 hertz where the wave
length is smaller then the dimensions
between the ears.
that ends up defining kind of a, a
fracture point, if you will.
In terms of the way we do, do, we
determine directionality as sound.
And there's two basic mechanisms that
have been identified or discussed in, in,
with respect to the wavelength of, of, of
sound waves.
And one is called the Interaural Time
Difference or ITD.
And the other is called the Interaural
Intensive difference or IID.
the ITD, the time difference in the sound
propagation, is related to frequency,
wavelengths for, corresponding to
frequencies less than 1500 hertz.
And the IID or Interaural Intensive

Difference is corresponds to wavelengths

at frequencies greater than 1500 hertz.
And I promised I would bring this back
and discuss it relative to loudspeaker
And this is fairly simplified, but you've
probably seen satellite speaker systems.
Where you have, you know, two small
satellites and one larger sub woofer in
the room.
And that became a very popular design,
and it became popular.
Because the recognition was is that the
wavelength of sound associated with the
subwoofer Was very long compared to the
distance between the ears.
This is the low frequency sound
And the wavelength associated with the
satellite speakers was obviously shorter.
Now, the break point is in 1500 hertz.
But, basically, you know, most of the
subwoofers you know range between 20
hertz up to maybe 400 hertz or so.
And to have full bandwidth audio you
would have to have satellite speakers
that at least had a minimum of 400 hertz
to 20 kilohertz for this example.
sometimes this is much lower, sometimes
20 hertz to order of 100 hertz.
And your satellites will be from 100
hertz up to 20 kilohertz.
but the point is, most of the
directionality of the sound, really in
room acoustics can be localized based
upon the satellites.
And at low frequency the sound waves
appear somewhat omnidirectional in
Now, we can localize low-frequency sound.
And I'm going to talk about that a little
But you tend to be more sensitive to the
higher frequency.
in room acoustics.
So, I mentioned earlier the ITD and the
So, the interaural time difference, and
I've sketched on a speaker here.
so we have a speaker and a sound wave
that propagates.
In this case, the wavelength of the
sound, if this is if this is our little
sketch of the hat and the ears, the
wavelength of the sound is very large,
Compared to that of the ears.
And so, if that's the case, you know, I
don't sketch this perfectly.
But the bottom line is, is that the sound

wave is going to arrive at this ear, just

a little bit sooner than it arrives here.
But the magnitude of the sound wave won't
be significantly different.
So the way you auralize, or localize, I
should say, the, the sound the direction
of the sound is based upon the amount of
time it takes.
so this is time to the left ear, and this
is the amount of time It takes to get to
the right ear.
And so the way you localize the sound is
basically is your ear and brain actually
can determine which ear the sound arrived
at first.
And that's, that's why it's called the
time difference, the interaural time
difference, alright?
So now let's compare that to the
interaural intensive difference.
And it means pretty much what, what it
In this case, we tend to think about
wavelengths that are much shorter than
the distance between the ears, okay?
So we'll sketch our ears on here.
and in this case you know you may have
several wavelengths changes before you
actually, you know, the sound arrives at
at this ear.
this side of the head and further more if
the source is on.
if the source is on this side of the head
your, the cause of the dimensions of the
head and the absorptive properties of the
There will actually be a reduction in the
sound pressure level by the time the
sound wave reaches this ear.
And so, the intensity of the sound wave
will, will have decreased, or the measure
of the sound pressure will have
And so, you're me, your ears, basically,
at this point, are able to determine that
it's effectively louder here than it is
here, and localize the source.
So, two very different ways, and you have
to think about that.
Because, you know the for a sine wave
that would propagate to this ear and this
It could be that the sine waves were
perfectly in phase when they were
reached, reached the ears.
the difference here again, is the fact
that it'll be reduced in amplitude on
this side of the head versus this one,
So that's a little bit about how we

actually localize sound.

there's one other component that's very
significant, and it played a huge role in
3D audio along with understanding the
shape of the ear.
which is known as the pina and it's the
head related transfer function, okay?
HRTF, the Head Related Transfer Function,
so, it turns out that if you look, you
know, if you touch your own ear, it's
And so sound waves that come from behind
the ear we're going to have, at the same
And particularly at the higher
frequencies are going to have a lower
amplitude response as perceived by the
sensing mechanisms here in the ear.
Then they will if the same frequency
content comes from the front.
And furthermore, it actually depends
whether the sound waves are propping,
propagating from the ground, or even
propagating from above.
in the front or the back of the ear.
And a lot of the gaming systems,
particular computer gaming for a while
and some of the sound cards incorporated
head related transfer functions.
In other words, what they did is they
figured out how the ear filtered the
sound to give you a sense of direction.
And then basically would take sounds that
they were trying to artificially move,
and would effectively apply that filter
of the way your ear would hear it.
Or it would change if the sound were
behind you.
And so it could give you the illusion
that you were in a, in a 3D sound or
could literally move the sound around you
kind of in a surround field approach.
Very interesting approach to technology.
but it requires, you know, that your,
your head sits at a pretty well defined
distance between the speakers.
And that your proximity to the speakers
are pretty accurate because these things
become fairly sensitive in the design of
3D audio sound fields.
the last thing I think we should discuss
relative to hearing is the dynamic range
of the ear.
Which extends from 0 dB up to about 140
dB, which happens to be the threshold of
So, but what's, what's dB?
well in measuring sound we have something
that we call sound pressure level,
alright, and that's commonly recognized

as SPL.
and it's a common measure of sound, and
there are what are known as sound
pressure level meters that are
specifically designed to measure sound.
For those of you who have iPhones or
Android devices there are apps that you
can download for the devices that will
measure sound pressure level.
now they're not calibrated in terms of,
of you know, instrument quality systems
that are used in profession applications
that are, that are calibrated for
But [COUGH] it gives you some indication
of what the the house sound pressure
levels vary in, in a given room or, or in
a given conversation of music.
You could, you can loo, you can use, use
the apps.
But sound pressure level is computed as
20 log base 10, so 20 times log base 10.
basically, our measured pressure, the
effective measured pressure at some point
in, in space or in your room and relative
to a reference pressure.
The reference pressure is, 20
micropascals, or 20 times 10 to the minus
6 pascals, of course.
and so we take 20 log10 of whatever the
measure pressure is, and, reference that
to a 20 micropascals.
So you can recognize that over range that
it's you know, acoustic pressure is a
perturbation in the pressure field.
It's not it's not significant compared to
atmospheric pressure, for example, but
it's a measure of the fluctuation of the
of the pressure.
at any given time, we hear over a dynamic
range on the order of about 90dB, okay.
I mean I, I said earlier we can hear from
0 to 140 dB.
But the auditory system which
incorporates our ear as a sensor really
is able to adapt our hearing kind of to
the average sound pressure level.
much like your eye adjusts to different
lighting conditions.
So, you know, sound when I, when we talk
about sound, since you can't see it it's
helpful to think about other sensory
experiences that you have.
And can help you relate.
So, imagine that you wake up in the
middle of the night in the room is fairly
If you open your eyes if there's a little
bit of light in the room, you'll notice
that your eyes really ado, adjust.

And if you, you've seen this in a mirror

before the pupils of the eyes adjust,
basically, allow you to gather more light
and be able to see.
if, somebody turns the light on quickly,
it almost blinds yo, because your eyes
haven't adjusted to that amount of light,
And then you have to basically readapt,
and the pupil adjusts again.
So, the eye adjusts in that way.
The ear does as well.
Now, you don't see it because it happens
inside your head.
But in your ear the, the sensor system
basically has a sliding scale.
And I've depicted it here, that, you
know, if the, if the, if the full length
scale is, you know, is here from 0 dB to,
you know, order of 140 dB.
We basically have a sliding scale here,
of about 90 db.
And so, with the, if the musical event or
whatever you're listening to at a time,
if the average pressure is in here.
Then this is kind of the range of, that
you're going to be able to hear details
And if things get louder, the scale can,
you know, the scale can slide this way,
and if, and if you're in quieter
environment The scale can slide this way.
but your ear is able to adapt, to the to
the listening environment.