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A Comparison of Wave Field Synthesis and Higher-Order Ambisonics with Respect to Physical Properties and Spatial Sampling

Wave field synthesis (WFS) and higher-order Ambisonics (HOA) are two high-resolution spatial sound reproduction techniques aiming at overcoming some of the limitations of stereophonic reproduction techniques. In the past, the theoretical foundations of WFS and HOA have been formulated in a quite different fashion. Although, some work has been published that aims at comparing both approaches their similarities and differences are not well documented. This paper formulates the theory of both approaches in a common framework, highlights the different assumptions made to derive the driving functions and the resulting physical properties of the reproduced wave field. Special attention will be drawn to the consequences of spatial sampling since both approaches differ significantly here.

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