Audio Laboratory


FLC Region

Security Lab



4555 Overlook Avenue S.W.




FUNCTION: Provides an environment and facilities for auditory display research. A primary focus is the performance use of binaurally rendered 3D sound in conjunction with visual information tasks. Support for personal and free-field (multi-person) virtual sound environments is provided, enabling the simulation of real-world audio information settings, such as Navy combat information centers. Support is also provided for the conceptual design and evaluation of auditory information at various levels of processing.

DESCRIPTION: This 300 sq ft laboratory space incorporatestwo controlled listening environments. A 121 sq ft sealed booth allows auditory studies to be carried out in sonic isolation, and a 13 ft circular enclosure allows free-field, immersive aural environments to be rendered for one or more listeners. Audio sources for the circular enclosure can be either pre-recorded or scripted. A number of software tools are available for sound editing and design, and binaural recordings can be made with an instrumented manikin. Software test beds for listening studies involving human subjects are run on Windows and Macintosh workstations maintained in the lab; these platforms function as clients for the laboratory's 3D sound server. An updated prototype of the Navy's four-screen multimodal watchstation is also maintained for use in research involving combined audio and visual information displays. The laboratory is additionally equipped to measure and analyze audio stimuli and ambient sound pressure levels.

INSTRUMENTATION: Sound design and realtime spatialization via head-related transfer functions and/or loudspeaker panning techniques are supported with a VRSonic Sound-Sim rack and studio-quality digital-to-analog signal processing. Sounds are rendered with headphones and/or a circular, 28-unit loudspeaker array in an echo-attenutating enclosure. Additional instrumentation includes an inertial head-tracker, a Brüel & Kjær head-andtorso and Pulse system, an Earscan audiometer, and a fully sound-attenuating booth.


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