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Sources & terms
Interestingly the terms so far used have included:
separate sound sources
integrate (consolidated stream)
I know you want to explore the extreme boundaries of the system, but
the problem is that the strategic processing considerations will get
in the way of any experimental design.
And for a little light reading on how a geneticist and a biochemist
might approach the same problem, try:
There are several issues which have been raised, but I will start
with breaking out the first one, separate sound sources) into 3
(1) An orchestral recording played through one loudspeaker. There is
one "sound" source, but the signal is complex. This is possibly the
most difficult to deal with.
(2) An orchestral recording in stereo (X/Y mic technique). There are
two sound sources and the "ear" (?) / "mind" (?) is assisted in
decoding by (apparent) spatialization of (apparent) sources. Complex.
(3) An orchestral recording recorded onto a 60 channel medium and
played back through 60 loudspeakers. At the 'individual level', the
least complex in some ways.
Much work has been done (and much thought has gone into) #1 and #2. I
have felt for many years that #3 holds much promise in understanding
basic aspects of the processes of integration / segregation and
streaming and this is where one of my current areas of informal /
artistic work is at the moment.
A simpler example of the difficulty here is to try to answer this
(non)question. Is a pipe organ an instrument, and when does it become
Standing in front of a wide pipe organ listening to a piece of music
becomes a spatial experience as the individual pipes can be heard in
their different locations. This concept is currently extended for
example with electronic violins where each string is fed to a
different loudspeaker in different corners of the room. The ASA
concept of 'integration' takes on a new meaning.