[Feature Article] In this article we review recent AES convention papers relating to multichannel spatial audio systems and techniques. Approaches continue to be divided between those based on some acoustical theory designed to render a specified soundfield or wavefront accurately at a listening position or over a certain area (wavefield synthesis and ambisonics may be considered as examples) and those based on an extension of stereophonic principles (5.1 is an example). The latter typically rely on the generation of appropriate perceptual cues at the listening position to create a stereophonic illusion but may be more or less accurate in their exact rendering of acoustical events. Typically, the more loudspeakers that are employed, the more meaningful it becomes to consider the rendering of soundfields that stand up to some form of formal analysis. Somewhere along the line that links the extremes of stereophonic approaches and soundfield-reconstruction approaches, these concepts meet and meaningful evaluation must consider both perceptual and acoustical factors.
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