Precedence-based speech segregation in a virtual auditory environment

Douglas S. Brungart*, Brian D. Simpson, Richard L. Freyman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


When a masking sound is spatially separated from a target speech signal, substantial releases from masking typically occur both for speech and noise maskers. However, when a delayed copy of the masker is also presented at the location of the target speech (a condition that has been referred to as the front target, right-front masker or F-RF configuration), the advantages of spatial separation vanish for noise maskers but remain substantial for speech maskers. This effect has been attributed to precedence, which introduces an apparent spatial separation between the target and masker in the F-RF configuration that helps the listener to segregate the target from a masking voice but not from a masking noise. In this study, virtual synthesis techniques were used to examine variations of the F-RF configuration in an attempt to more fully understand the stimulus parameters that influence the release from masking obtained in that condition. The results show that the release from speech-on-speech masking caused by the addition of the delayed copy of the masker is robust across a wide variety of source locations, masker locations, and masker delay values. This suggests that the speech unmasking that occurs in the F-RF configuration is not dependent on any single perceptual cue and may indicate that F-RF speech segregation is only partially based on the apparent left-right location of the RF masker.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3241-3251
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2005
Externally publishedYes


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