A perceptually inspired generative model of rigid-body contact sounds

TitleA perceptually inspired generative model of rigid-body contact sounds
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsTraer, J, Cusimano, M, McDermott, JH
JournalProceedings of the 22nd International Conference on Digital Audio Effects (DAFx-19)
Date Published09/2019

Contact between rigid-body objects produces a diversity of impact and friction sounds. These sounds can be synthesized with detailed simulations of the motion, vibration and sound radiation of the objects, but such synthesis is computationally expensive and prohibitively slow for many applications. Moreover, detailed physical simulations may not be necessary for perceptually compelling synthesis; humans infer ecologically relevant causes of sound, such as material categories, but not with arbitrary precision. We present a generative model of impact sounds which summarizes the effect of physical variables on acoustic features via statistical distributions fit to empirical measurements of object acoustics. Perceptual experiments show that sampling from these distributions allows efficient synthesis of realistic impact and scraping sounds that convey material, mass, and motion.

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