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Psychoacoustic Evaluation of a New Method for Simulating Near-field Virtual Auditory Space

A new method for generating near-field virtual auditory space (VAS) is presented. This method synthesizes near-field head-related transfer functions (HRTFs) based on a distance variation function (DVF). Using a sound localization experiment, the fidelity of the near-field VAS generated using this technique is compared to that obtained using near-field HRTFs synthesized using a multipole expansion of a set of HRTFs interpolated using a spherical thin-plate spline. Individualized HRTFs for varying distances in the near-field were synthesized using the subjects’ HRTFs measured at a radius of 1m for a limited number of locations around the listener’s head. Both methods yielded similar localization performance showing no major directional localization errors and reasonable correlation between perceived and target distances of sounds up to 50cm from the centre of the subjects head. Also, subjects tended to overestimate the target distance for both methods.

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