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Digital Preservation and Access to Aural Heritage Via A Scalable, Extensible Method

 

EVENTS & PUBLICATIONS

 

JOURNAL ARTICLE:
Preserving Human Perspectives in Cultural Heritage Acoustics: Distance Cues and Proxemics in Aural Heritage Fieldwork
OPEN ACCESS: Acoustics 2021, 3(1), 156-176

We examine the praxis implications of our working definition of aural heritage: spatial acoustics as physically experienced by humans in cultural contexts; aligned with the aims of anthropological archaeology (the study of human life from materials). Here we report on human-centered acoustical data collection strategies from our project “Digital Preservation and Access to Aural Heritage via a Scalable, Extensible Method,” supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) in the USA. The documentation and accurate translation of human sensory perspectives is fundamental to the ecological validity of cultural heritage fieldwork and the preservation of heritage acoustics. Auditory distance cues, which enable and constrain sonic communication, relate to proxemics, contextualized understandings of distance relationships that are fundamental to human social interactions. We propose that source–receiver locations in aural heritage measurements should be selected to represent a comprehensive range of proxemics according to site-contextualized spatial-use scenarios, and we identify and compare acoustical metrics for auditory distance cues from acoustical fieldwork we conducted using this strategy in three contrasting case-study heritage sites. This conceptual shift from architectural acoustical sampling to aural heritage sampling prioritizes culturally and physically plausible human auditory/sound-sensing perspectives and relates them to spatial proxemics as scaled architecturally.

 

PANEL DISCUSSION:
Acoustics in Focus: the 180th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America
Advances in Architectural Acoustics for Cultural Heritage Research and Preservation
2pAA Virtual Panel Discussion — Special Session in Architectural Acoustics
Organizers/Chairs: Miriam Kolar & David Lubman; Moderator: Miriam Kolar

Cultural heritage implies risk management entangled with politics of responsibility and access. We bring together leading researchers to discuss precedents, challenges and innovations in the documentation and preservation of architectural acoustics in heritage sites. Among the topics of particular interest to our discussion is the relating of acoustical data to human experience, and the strategies that panelists have used to document, estimate, and convey the perceptual significance of heritage acoustics. Panelists include ASA Fellow and archaeoacoustics pioneer David Lubman; audio engineers Brian F. G. Katz, Sungyoung Kim, Doyuen Ko; architect Pamela Jordan; soundscape researcher Francesco Aletta; and cultural acoustician Miriam Kolar, who will serve as the moderator.

 

PRESENTATION:
California Preservation Foundation 2021 Annual California Preservation Conference, 9 June 2021
Sense(s) of Place: Exploring Olfactory and Auditory Heritage

What does a historic place sound like? Does it have a distinctive smell? And do we have the tools to evaluate, document, and conserve these sensory character-defining features? Come make sense(s) of these aspects of cultural heritage conservation. Moderator: Trudi Sandmeier, Director, Heritage Conservation Programs, USC School of Architecture; Speakers: Doyuen Ko, Associate Professor of Audio Engineering Technology, Belmont University; Kate McLean, Artist/Designer/Researcher/Mapper of Urban Smellscapes, Canterbury Christ Church University, UK

 

CONFERENCE PAPER:
Audio Engineering Society Convention e-Brief, Presented at the 151st Convention 2021 October
Perceptual evaluation of a new, portable three-dimensional recording technique: “W-Ambisonics”

In order to exploit strengths and avoid weaknesses of the First Order Ambisonics (FOA) microphone technique, we devised a new, portable 3D microphone recording technique, ``W-Ambisonics''. This new technique incorporates a spaced stereo cardioid microphone pair (for frontal information) with two FOA microphone arrays (for lateral, rear, and height information). In W-Ambisonics, two FOA microphones are spaced 17~cm apart to capture and represent interaural cues precisely, with two cardioid microphones spaced 50~cm apart, 50~cm in front, which improves frontal directionality. Varying the elevation of the cardioid pair enhances spatialization techniques such as reproduction with height channels. The combination of these two microphone pairs enables the translation of recorded audio into various reproduction formats according to practical limitations in reproduction peripherals. The design focus of this technique was efficiency in the recording stage and scalability in the reproduction stage. We conducted three perceptual experiments whose results show that the W-Ambisonics method enables improved lateral localization, provides comparable sound quality to the conventional spaced array technique, and translates spacious yet precise sound images in listening evaluations of a binauralized headphone rendering. The W-Ambisonics microphone technique is practical, precise, and scalable across multiple reproduction scenarios, from binaural to multichannel systems.

 

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