You Might Believe Sound Perception
It's very CURVY, sorry!
Enhancing Real-world Audio Experiences through Equal Loudness Curve Correction, Powered by Smartphone Sensor Integration
Understanding the way your listener perceives sound is a key part of creating a memorable listening experience, whether you are a writer, producer, engineer, acoustician, or even for the home-audio enthusiast. One of the key steps in this journey is understanding the impact of equal loudness contours on the listening experience.
In this blog post, the Oikla team explore how equal loudness impacts the listening experience, and why Perception will revolutionise the way you listen. Perception, our revolutionary audio technology, utilises your iPhone’s microphone to understand your listening space. It builds a bespoke solution for the way you listen; in the space you listen.
Equal Loudness and the Human Ear
Not all sounds are equal: or at least, not to us! Our ears, in fact our whole auditory system perceive the loudness of different frequencies at varying sound pressure levels (SPLs) very differently. Technically, this phenomenon is known as nonlinear behaviour in our auditory system. Our auditory system is more sensitive to mid-range frequencies (between 1 kHz and 5 kHz) than low and high frequencies. The result is that bass and extreme treble frequencies seem comparatively quieter than mid frequencies. As SPL increases, our sensitivity to low and high frequencies also increases, causing them to appear louder relative to mid frequencies.
Equal loudness curves, or equal loudness contours, depict the relationship between frequency and our perception of loudness. These are key in understanding how we experience any sort of complex sound, from dance music to an explosion in a video game. Loudness levels are measured in phons, with one phon being equal to one decibel (dB) of sound pressure level at 1 kHz. This phenomenon is surprisingly universal.
An understanding of these dynamics is essential for anyone trying to understand the listening experience; what makes for a balanced and natural-sounding audio experience can change dramatically across various listening volumes. Whilst the measured SPL remains constant across all frequencies, our ears' varying sensitivity is what causes certain frequencies to be perceived as louder or quieter than others at different SPLs.
Not All Frequencies Are Born Equally
In order to hear voices, our hearing evolved to be most sensitive to midrange frequencies.
As a result, low and high frequencies are always perceived quieter compared to the midrange!
It Gets Interesting Here
However The Louder the Volume the More Lows & High frequencies we hear