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Do listening levels affects timing perception??
Old 3rd June 2012
  #1
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Buss-me's Avatar
 

Do listening levels affects timing perception??

Is it just me, or does ones listening level affect perception of timing.....ie: I can hear timing issues better at lower listening levels.... is there something to this, or am I just tricking myself??
Old 3rd June 2012
  #2
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dave gross's Avatar
 

Maybe what you're perceiving are more percussive transient elements in the mix in relation to bass content, due to the human hearing curve. At quieter levels, bass will be less apparent than at louder levels, which may draw your attention to those things that are jabbing at you saying "this is where the beat is", without having enough perceivable bass content there to make the pocket feel wider.
Old 3rd June 2012
  #3
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Greg Curtis's Avatar
 

Room interaction increases with level.
Old 3rd June 2012
  #4
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I've certianly noticed that music definately seems faster when it's quieter. Have no idea and am curious to know why...
Old 4th June 2012
  #5
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Buss-me's Avatar
 

Very interesting.....
I was just listening to a mix I'm working on, in the car. There are two spots where the back beat is obviously late....bad edit on my part.
However, listening in the car while driving it didn't stand out to me?.
This made me think...... does it really matter if everything is rhythmically perfect or not....in the big picture at the end of the day.
Will some person listening in their car, or on ear buds, with other things going on, really notice or care??..
This kind of thing has always grated on me
Old 4th June 2012
  #6
Fascinating question at its root.


But, as others seem to be thinking, I'm thinking the biggest factors in such perceptions may be that one notices different things at different levels because the perceived tonal balance changes with level (Fletcher-Munson) and that your 'ear' (auditory system) is likely able to separate out the direct sound from the monitors from room reflections better at lower levels.

But I love the question. I wouldn't be surprised at all if ability to correctly perceive micro-timing issues changes with volume, although I imagine it's pretty subtle.

Hopefully someone on top of that game will fall in and sound off.
Old 4th June 2012
  #7
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I've always wondered about this too. But my question was "does concentration level" effect timing. It seems sometimes for some unknown reason I am able to listen better and tune into timing better than others.

I also notice this with song writing. And it doesn't last for hours, maybe a couple at the most and then things become less productive.
Old 4th June 2012
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buss-me View Post
Is it just me, or does ones listening level affect perception of timing.....ie: I can hear timing issues better at lower listening levels.... is there something to this, or am I just tricking myself??
Heres my guess:

As the volume increases your ear drums will start to compress more to deal with the increase in pressure. As the pressure increases the tympanic membrane cannot relax and tighten quickly enough due to the amount of volume thats hitting it and resonating it making it constantly vibrate.

SO, you have a reduction in the time when the ear drum is excited/vibrated/oscillated verses the rest time in between those pulses or excitations which gives your brain less time to interpret the sound pressure level.

In summation, the increase in volume causes an increase in the oscillation of the tympanic membrane which leads to an over compression which in turn causes a reduction in speed along the neural pathway to the brain causing a slowing of your ability to evaluate the sound pressure level
Old 4th June 2012
  #9
Gear Nut
 

+1 on transients tying in with fletcher-munson curves to create millisecond shifts in perceived timing.

My understanding says that you should try and mix at 80dB or so. This is where the frequency response of the human ear becomes more linear.

In my experience, listening to things at lower volumes can shift your attention to the musical elements of a mix, rather than the beauty of timbre or warmth of bass or any other elements which just 'takes' you.
Old 4th June 2012
  #10
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
In summation, the increase in volume causes an increase in the oscillation of the tympanic membrane which leads to an over compression which in turn causes a reduction in speed along the neural pathway to the brain causing a slowing of your ability to evaluate the sound pressure level
This is a great statement
Old 4th June 2012
  #11
Gear Guru
 

If you are really cranking your system, the system is likely clipping. This will round off the transient information, which you can hear better when the amp/speakers/room is running somewhat quieter

There could also be some psychological factors, certainly volume affects your pitch perception.
Old 4th June 2012
  #12
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Buss-me's Avatar
 

I would agree on the psychological factor........ it certainly affects how I feel about mixes from day to day.
One day I'll love a mix, another day it's ****!!
depends on my mood
Old 4th June 2012
  #13
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Beat Poet's Avatar
 

If you keep it quiet, even if it's a manic track, you will get a better perspective on what's happening than if it's loud. Then again, at a louder level, you can assess the groove and feel better, with the increase in bottom end.
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