In one study, young normal listeners exhibited a standard deviation in their measured auditory bandwidths (based on notched-noise masking experiments) on the order of 10% of center frequency . Therefore, a 20% peak error in mapped bandwidth (typical for sampling rates approaching 40 kHz) could be considered significant. However, the range of auditory-filter bandwidths measured in 93 young normal subjects at 2 kHz  was 230 to 410 Hz, which is -26% to +32% relative to 310 Hz. In , 40 subjects were measured, yielding auditory-filter bandwidths between -33% and +65%, with a standard deviation of 18%. It may thus be concluded that a worst-case mapping error on the order of 20%, while probably detectable by ``golden ears'' listeners, lies well within the range of experimental deviations in the empirical measurement of auditory bandwidth.
As a worst-case example of how the 18% peak bandwidth-mapping error in Fig.E.7 might correspond to an audible distortion, consider one critical band of noise centered at the frequency of maximum negative mapping error, scaled to be the same loudness as a single critical band of noise centered at the frequency of maximum positive error. The systematic nature of the mapping error results in a narrowing of the lower band and expansion of the upper band by about 1.7 dB. As a result, over the warped frequency axis, the upper band will be effectively emphasized over the lower band by about 3 dB.
Arctangent Approximations for
Bark Relative Bandwidth Mapping Error