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Is My Decoder Ambisonic?

In earlier papers, the present authors established the importance of various aspects of Ambisonic decoder design: a decoding matrix matched to the geometry of the loudspeaker array in use, phase-matched shelf filters, and near field compensation. These are needed for accurate reproduction of spatial localization cues, such as interaural time difference (ITD), interaural level difference (ILD), and distance cues. Unfortunately, many listening tests of Ambisonic reproduction reported in the literature either omit the details of the decoding used or utilize suboptimal decoding. In this paper we review the acoustic and psychoacoustic criteria for Ambisonic reproduction; present a methodology and tools for ``black box' testing to verify the performance of a candidate decoder; and present and discuss the results of this testing on some widely used decoders.

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