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Novel Surround Sound Microphone and Panning Techniques—A digest of selected recent AES convention and conference papers

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[feature] Recently considerable attention has been given to ways in which more sophisticated microphone arrays and panning laws can be used to derive accurate soundfield representations, phantom imaging, and source panning. There has also been an interest in ways to represent or capture a diffuse field in the 5.1 format. This article considers some recent contributions in this field, primarily those techniques that have some relevance to the ITU standard surround format (3/2 stereo or 5.1 surround). It is interesting to notice a degree of convergence between theories based on different concepts of soundfield representation and a revisiting of older theories based on Ambisonic principles. Although some of the microphone arrays described below, for example, are aimed at capturing high-order spatial representations of a soundfield, the authors show how they can be adapted to provide outputs for the 5-channel ITU standard layout. In other words, the final rendering format can be independent of the format in which the sound is captured and stored. This surely has to be the way forward as audio engineers wrestle with increasingly diverse multichannel formats with varying numbers of loudspeakers in potentially different locations.

JAES Volume 52 Issue 1/2 pp. 74-80; February 2004
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AES - Audio Engineering Society