Effects of level and frequency on the audibility of partials in inharmonic complex tones.


The effect of level and frequency on the audibility of partials was measured for complex tones with partials uniformly spaced on an equivalent rectangular bandwidth (ERBN) number scale. On each trial, subjects heard a sinusoidal "probe" followed by a complex tone. The probe was mistuned downwards or upwards (at random) by 4.5% from the frequency of one randomly selected partial in the complex. The subject indicated whether the probe was higher or lower in frequency than the nearest partial in the complex. The frequencies were roved from trial to trial, keeping frequency ratios fixed. In experiment 1, the level per partial, L, was 40 or 70 dB SPL and the mean frequency of the central partial, fc, was 1201 Hz. Scores for the highest and lowest partials in the complexes were generally high for all spacings. Scores for the inner partials were close to chance at 0.75-ERB N spacing, and improved as the spacing was increased up to 2 ERB N. For intermediate spacings, performance was better for the lower level used. In experiment 2, L was 70 dB SPL and fc was 3544 Hz. Performance worsened markedly for partial frequencies above 3544 Hz, consistent with a role of phase locking. © 2006 Acoustical Society of America.