Synthesis of Noise from Flyover Data

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Virginia Tech

Flyover noise is a problem that affects citizens, primarily those that live near or around places with high air traffic such as airports or military bases. Such noise can be of great annoyance. The focus of this thesis is in determining a method to create a high fidelity sound source simulation of rotorcraft noise for the purpose of producing a complete flyover scenario to be used in psychoacoustic testing. The focus of the sound source simulation is simulating rotorcraft noise fluctuations during level flight to aid in psychoacoustic testing to determine human perception of such noise. Current methods only model the stationary or time-average components when synthesizing the sound source. The synthesis process described in this thesis determines the steady-state waveform of the noise as well as the time-varying fluctuations for each rotor individually. The process explored in this thesis uses an empirical approach to synthesize flyover noise by directly using physical flyover recordings. Four different methods of synthesis were created to determine the combination of components that produce high fidelity sound source simulation. These four methods of synthesis are: a) Unmodulated main rotor b) Modulated main rotor c) Unmodulated main rotor combined with the unmodulated tail rotor d) Modulated main rotor combined with the modulated tail rotor Since the time-varying components of the source sound are important to the creation of high fidelity sound source simulation, five different types of time-varying fluctuations, or modulations, were implemented to determine the importance of the fluctuating components on the sound source simulation. The types of modulation investigated are a) no modulation, b) randomly applied generic modulation, c) coherently applied generic modulation, d) randomly applied specific modulation, and e) coherently applied specific modulation. Generic modulation is derived from a different section of the source recording to which it is applied. For the purposes of this study, it is not clearly dominated by either thickness or loading noise characteristics, but still displays long-term modulation. Random application of the modulation implies that there is a loss of absolute modulation phase and amplitude information across the frequency spectrum. Coherent application of the modulation implies that an attempt is made to line up the absolute phase and amplitude of the modulation signal with that which is being replaced (i.e. that which was stripped from the original recording and expanding or contracting to fit the signal to which it is applied). Specific modulation is the modulation from the source recording which is being reconstructed.

A psychoacoustic test was performed to rank the fidelity of each synthesis method and each type of modulation. Performing this comparison for two different emission angles provides insight as to whether the ranking will differ between the emission angles. The modulated main rotor combined with the modulated tail rotor showed the highest fidelity and had a much higher fidelity than any of the other synthesis methods. The psychoacoustic test proved that modulation is necessary to produce a high fidelity sound source simulation. However, the use of a generic modulation or a randomly applied specific modulation proved to be an inadequate substitute for the coherently applied specific modulation. The results from this research show that more research is necessary to properly simulate a full flyover scenario. Specifically, more data is needed in order to properly model the modulation for level flight.

rotorcraft, synthesis, flyover noise