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A form of STEREOPHONIC or multi-channel reproduction in which the sound source is spread around the listener by the use of four tracks or CHANNELs in recording or transmission and the use of four (or more) LOUDSPEAKERs. Conventional music or speech may be recorded in this way, in which case the speakers behind the listener add REVERBERATION to the original sound or are simply out of PHASE with respect to the front ones; or new works may be composed in which all tracks carry original material.
The use of reflected SOUND WAVEs for obtaining environmental information. Certain animals, such as the bat and the porpoise, emit pulses of extremely high frequency sound (up to 50 kHz for bats, and up to 170 kHz for porpoises and whales) in narrow, intense streams. The REFLECTION, or ECHO, of these sounds supplies information regarding the nature and location of objects in the environment. When an emission of varying frequency is used, such as with bats, the echoes, travelling varying distances to the ear, are heard as different frequencies in each ear, thus supplying directional information.
Although often employed interchangeably with ACOUSTICS, the term might better be restricted to the technology dealing with the practical applications of SOUND, as distinct from the pure science of acoustics. (It will be noted, however, that the contemporary acoustical engineer or acoustician is often mostly involved with the practical applications of sound.)
The study of the relationship between physical SOUNDs and the brain's interpretation of them. Until recently, psychoacoustics has devoted more attention to the behaviour of the peripheral auditory system than to the details of cognitive processing.