CH22 - CHAPTER 22 Audio Processing Audio processing covers...

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351 CHAPTER 22 Audio Processing Audio processing covers many diverse fields, all involved in presenting sound to human listeners. Three areas are prominent: (1) high fidelity music reproduction , such as in audio compact discs, (2) voice telecommunications , another name for telephone networks, and (3) synthetic speech , where computers generate and recognize human voice patterns. While these applications have different goals and problems, they are linked by a common umpire: the human ear. Digital Signal Processing has produced revolutionary changes in these and other areas of audio processing. Human Hearing The human ear is an exceedingly complex organ. To make matters even more difficult, the information from two ears is combined in a perplexing neural network, the human brain. Keep in mind that the following is only a brief overview; there are many subtle effects and poorly understood phenomena related to human hearing. Figure 22-1 illustrates the major structures and processes that comprise the human ear. The outer ear is composed of two parts, the visible flap of skin and cartilage attached to the side of the head, and the ear canal , a tube about 0.5 cm in diameter extending about 3 cm into the head. These structures direct environmental sounds to the sensitive middle and inner ear organs located safely inside of the skull bones. Stretched across the end of the ear canal is a thin sheet of tissue called the tympanic membrane or ear drum . Sound waves striking the tympanic membrane cause it to vibrate. The middle ear is a set of small bones that transfer this vibration to the cochlea (inner ear) where it is converted to neural impulses. The cochlea is a liquid filled tube roughly 2 mm in diameter and 3 cm in length. Although shown straight in Fig. 22-1, the cochlea is curled up and looks like a small snail shell. In fact, cochlea is derived from the Greek word for snail .
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The Scientist and Engineer's Guide to Digital Signal Processing 352 When a sound wave tries to pass from air into liquid, only a small fraction of the sound is transmitted through the interface, while the remainder of the energy is reflected. This is because air has a low mechanical impedance (low acoustic pressure and high particle velocity resulting from low density and high compressibility), while liquid has a high mechanical impedance. In less technical terms, it requires more effort to wave your hand in water than it does to wave it in air. This difference in mechanical impedance results in most of the sound being reflected at an air/liquid interface. The middle ear is an impedance matching network that increases the fraction of sound energy entering the liquid of the inner ear. For example, fish do not have an ear drum or middle ear, because they have no need to hear in air. Most of the impedance conversion results from the difference in
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CH22 - CHAPTER 22 Audio Processing Audio processing covers...

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