Extracting spectral envelopes: formant frequency matching between sounds on different and modulated fundamental frequencies.

The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America

PubMedID: 10687705

Dissard P, Darwin CJ. Extracting spectral envelopes: formant frequency matching between sounds on different and modulated fundamental frequencies. J Acoust Soc Am. 2000;107(2):960-9.
The four experiments reported here measure listeners' accuracy and consistency in adjusting a formant frequency of one- or two-formant complex sounds to match the timbre of a target sound. By presenting the target and the adjustable sound on different fundamental frequencies, listeners are prevented from performing the task by comparing the absolute or relative levels of resolved spectral components. Experiment 1 uses two-formant vowellike sounds. When the two sounds have the same F0, the variability of matches (within-subject standard deviation) for either the first or the second formant is around 1%-3%, which is comparable to existing data on formant frequency discrimination thresholds. With a difference in F0, variability increases to around 8% for first-formant matches, but to only about 4% for second-formant matches. Experiment 2 uses sounds with a single formant at 1100 or 1200 Hz with both sounds on either low or high fundamental frequencies. The increase in variability produced by a difference in F0 is greater for high F0's (where the harmonics close to the formant peak are resolved) than it is for low F0's (where they are unresolved). Listeners also showed systematic errors in their mean matches to sounds with different high F0's. The direction of the systematic errors was towards the most intense harmonic. Experiments 3 and 4 showed that introduction of a vibratolike frequency modulation (FM) on F0 reduces the variability of matches, but does not reduce the systematic error. The experiments demonstrate, for the specific frequencies and FM used, that there is a perceptual cost to interpolating a spectral envelope across resolved harmonics.