DETERMINATION OF LOUDNESS RATINGS; FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES
|Publication Date:||1 November 1988|
A speech path is, broadly, a transmission path that exists between a talker's mouth and the ear of a listener or, in the case of sidetone, between the mouth and ear of a talker. In typical face-to-face conversation, the speech is transmitted by means of the air path connecting the mouth and ear. Depending on environmental conditions, transmission may be:
a) more or less direct, as in the case of two persons conversing in an open, unobstructed location, such as a golf course;
b) largely indirect, as in the case of two persons conversing in a small, hard surfaced room where a large proportion of the energy reaching the ear may be due to reflections from the walls, ceilings and floor; or
c) something between the two extremes of a) and b).
In the case of telephony, the air path is replaced by a system comprising:
a) an air path from the mouth to the telephone microphone;
b) an air path between the telephone earphone and the ear; and
c) a telephone connection consisting of the microphone, earphone and interconnecting circuitry together with a similar system for the reverse direction of transmission. The two situations - face-to-face and using the telephone - differ appreciably in detail but, for speech transmission purposes, they are alike insofar as their function is to provide a means of both-way speech communication.
Telephone engineering is concerned with providing telephone connections which, while not identical to the face-to-face situation, are comparable in effectiveness for providing a means of exchanging information by speech; such telephone connections should also optimize customer satisfaction within technical and economic constraints.
Various tools are used by transmission engineers in planning, design and assessment of the performance of telephone networks. Reference equivalent, based on the criterion of loudness of speech emitted by the talker and perceived by the listener, has been one of the most important of these tools; it provides a measure of the transmission loss, from mouth to ear, of a speech path.
The reference equivalent method is defined in Recommendations P.42 and P.72 Red Book and its fundamental principles are briefly explained in . The method for determining loudness ratings of local telephone circuits is based upon rather similar fundamental principles but comprises modifications which render it much more flexible and should greatly simplify transmission planning.
A desire to depart from use of reference equivalents as defined by Recommendation P.72 Red Book arises from the following reasons:
1) reference equivalents cannot be added algebraically; discrepancies of at least ± 3 dB are found;
2) replication accuracy of reference equivalents is not good; changes in crew can cause changes of as much as 5 dB;
3) increments of real (distortionless) transmission loss are not reflected by equal increments of reference equivalent; 10 dB increase in loss results in an increase in reference equivalent of only about 8 dB.
Use of loudness ratings defined in accordance with the principles given below should largely obviate these difficulties.
In addition to these advantages, the same values of loudness
ratings should be obtained whether the determination is by
subjective tests, by calculation based on sensitivity/frequenc
The loudness rating (which has the dimensions and sign of "loss") is, in principle, like the reference equivalent, defined by the amount of loss inserted in a reference system to secure equality of perceived loudness to that obtained over the speech path being measured. Practical telephone connections are composed of several parts connected together. To enable the transmission engineer to deal with these parts in different combinations, loudness ratings must be defined in a suitable manner so that "overall", "sending", "receiving" and "junction" ratings can be used.
"Sidetone" loudness ratings can also be determined in an analogous manner. Sidetone reference equivalent is defined in Recommendation P.73 Red Book and sidetone loudness ratings are defined in § 3 below.