Crowdsourcing a reverberation descriptor map

Prem Seetharaman, Bryan A Pardo

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

9 Scopus citations


Audio production is central to every kind of media that involves sound, such as film, television, and music and involves transforming audio into a state ready for consumption by the public. One of the most commonly-used audio production tools is the reverberator. Current interfaces are often complex and hard-to-understand. We seek to simplify these interfaces by letting users communicate their audio production objective with descriptive language (e.g. "Make the drums sound bigger."). To achieve this goal, a system must be able to tell whether the stated goal is appropriate for the selected tool (e.g. making the violin warmer using a panning tool does not make sense). If the goal is appropriate for the tool, it must know what actions lead to the goal. Further, the tool should not impose a vocabulary on users, but rather understand the vocabulary users prefer. In this work, we describe SocialReverb, a project to crowdsource a vocabulary of audio descriptors that can be mapped onto concrete actions using a parametric reverberator. We deployed SocialReverb, on Mechanical Turk, where 513 unique users described 256 instances of reverberation using 2861 unique words. We used this data to build a concept map showing which words are popular descriptors, which ones map consistently to specific reverberation types, and which ones are synonyms. This promises to enable future interfaces that let the user communicate their production needs using natural language.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMM 2014 - Proceedings of the 2014 ACM Conference on Multimedia
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781450330633
StatePublished - Nov 3 2014
Event2014 ACM Conference on Multimedia, MM 2014 - Orlando, United States
Duration: Nov 3 2014Nov 7 2014

Publication series

NameMM 2014 - Proceedings of the 2014 ACM Conference on Multimedia


Other2014 ACM Conference on Multimedia, MM 2014
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • Audio descriptors
  • Audio engineering
  • Audio synonyms
  • Human computation
  • Interfaces

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Media Technology
  • Software


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