Transparency (acoustics)

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In acoustics, transparency or transparency is an expression which, in the case of musical sound presentations in closed rooms, is understood to mean the differentiation of temporally successive tones as transparency in time and instruments played at the same time as transparency in registers despite superimposed room sound . The term was borrowed from optics , here transparency refers to the property of matter to let electromagnetic waves through. The analogous criterion for speech presentations is speech intelligibility , especially syllable intelligibility .

The transparency is the better, the stronger the energy sum of direct and early reflected sound is in relation to that of the late arriving room sound . This logarithmic energy ratio is also referred to as the measure of clarity . With regard to transparency, the time limit between favorable and unfavorable late reflections is around 80 ms for music performances, based on the use of direct sound . According to investigations in the synthetic sound field and in several rooms, the limit of good and poor transparency is a degree of clarity of C  = 0 ± 1.6 dB, which applies equally to both types of transparency.


  • OA Alim: Dependence of the transparency of time and registers on room acoustic parameters in music performance. Dissertation, Dresden 1973.