Effects of relative and absolute frequency in the spectral weighting of loudness

Suyash Narendra Joshi, Marcin Wroblewski, Kendra K. Schmid, Walt Jesteadt

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The loudness of broadband sound is often modeled as a linear sum of specific loudness across frequency bands. In contrast, recent studies using molecular psychophysical methods suggest that low and high frequency components contribute more to the overall loudness than mid frequencies. In a series of experiments, the contribution of individual components to the overall loudness of a tone complex was assessed using the molecular psychophysical method as well as a loudness matching task. The stimuli were two spectrally overlapping ten-tone complexes with two equivalent rectangular bandwidth spacing between the tones, making it possible to separate effects of relative and absolute frequency. The lowest frequency components of the “low-frequency” and the “high-frequency” complexes were 208 and 808 Hz, respectively. Perceptual-weights data showed emphasis on lowest and highest frequencies of both the complexes, suggesting spectraledge related effects. Loudness matching data in the same listeners confirmed the greater contribution of low and high frequency components to the overall loudness of the ten-tone complexes. Masked detection thresholds of the individual components within the tone complex were not correlated with perceptual weights. The results show that perceptual weights provide reliable behavioral correlates of relative contributions of the individual frequency components to overall loudness of broadband sounds
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)373–383
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes


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