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Re: Free software for conducting psychoacoustic experiments

By popular demand here are the replies to my question
Great thanks to everyone for their suggestions. I will test drive them this semester and report on them at the end.



>From Massimo Grassi

there is! it is MLP! I know it is matlab based. But your students do not need to program it to set the experiments. I used it with my student this yes (undergraduate with no programming experience) and it was ok.




>From jaime.undarraga@xxxxxxxxx

There is one software called APEX developed at the kuleuven. You can download it for free and the only condition to use it is to mention in publications when it is used. It allows to perform psychoacoustic experiments and also it works with cochlear implants.

see this link


Jaime Undurraga, Eng
Pre-Doctoral Student
ExpORL, Dept. Neurosciences 
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven 
Herestraat 49, bus 721
3000 Leuven, Belgium
Tel:  +32 16 330485
Fax: +32 16 330486


Praat (www.praat.org) does a lot, including run some simiple experiments
(ID and Discrimination). Although mainly geared toward speech, it has a
fully functional capability of creating sound by equation. More
importantly, it's scriptable, so you can in principle get it to do
almost anything.

Hope this helps,


Alexander L. Francis
Associate Professor, Speech, Language & Hearing Sciences
Faculty Associate, Center on Aging and the Life Course
Program Faculty, Linguistics
Adj. Associate Professor, Psychological Sciences
Purdue University
500 Oval Drive
West Lafayette IN 47907-2038
+1 (765) 494-3815


Dear Fatima,

I conducted some experiments in 2002 with MEDS (http://www.ethnomusic.ucla.edu/systematic/Faculty/Kendall/meds.htm).

It had some bugs at that time, but it was a useful initiative from Prof. Kendall, who provided me some support.

If your students are patient and open to a more "computer music" approach they may want to learn PD (Pure Data - http://puredata.info/). The learning curve is not so comfortable but  the media possibilities of PD (manipulation of audio, video and sensor data in real time) open nice possibilities to develop interactive experiments. Interactive setups are sometimes useful to develop effective experimental setups and decrease the duration of the experimental sessions. 


Luiz Naveda

Luiz Naveda
Mobile: + 32 0487 245594
Office: + 32 9 264 4141
IPEM - Dep. of Musicology
Blandijnberg 2
Ghent University,
Ghent, B-9000

Elizabeth Strickland

I use the Auditory Interactivities program from Sensimetrics.  It is not
free, but not terribly expensive, and works pretty well for most things.


Bill Thompson, Frank Russo and colleagues at University of Toronto made Experiment Creator X freely available. It can be downloaded here:




Dr. Michael S. Gordon
Department of Psychology
Life Sciences Building Rm. 320
University of South Alabama
Mobile, AL 36688-0002 USA
251.460.6546 (v)  251.460.6320 (f)


Dear Fatima,

I have made a psychoacoustic testing tool available at:


I use the tool specifically for training and tracking performance of cochlear implant users, hence the emphasis of the download site. But all of the activities included are just as useful for normal hearing listeners, except for the one that uses piano notes as it tends to be too easy for the normals. Included activities are: forward and backward masking, tone in noise detection, gap detection, various frequency difference limens tests, vowel perception in noise, and some binaural activities. 

You can also access the guts of the utility to design more elaborate tests. In fact, if you have the appropriate hardware and permissions, you can use the utility to design and implement novel psychoelectric and sound processing design experiments with cochlear implantees. Or perhaps more useful for instruction, you can visually analyze and create cochlear implant acoustic simulations from all of the listening activities.

In the current form, since I am interested in tracking data, the utility saves information (excluding names of the people taking the activities) back to Sensimetrics. Please let me know if you have any trouble installing and running the tests, or if you have any questions.


Ray Goldsworthy
Sensimetrics Corporation

---- Original message ----
>Date: Thu, 15 Jan 2009 07:43:38 -0600 (CST)
>From: <husainf@xxxxxxxxxxxx>  
>Subject: Free software for conducting psychoacoustic experiments  
>To: AUDITORY@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
>Dear List,
>I was wondering if there is a freely available software with some in-built simple psychoacoustic experiments,
>something that the students can easily tweak to run their own experiments?
>I am teaching a psychoacoustics class and roughly half the class has no programming experience (hence Matlab is out.
>Thanks in advance,
>Fatima Husain, Ph.D.
>Auditory Cognitive Neuroscience Lab
>Assistant Professor, Speech and Hearing Science and the Beckman Institute
>University of Illinois