Three dimensional spatial sound reproduction using irregular loud speaker layouts requires a special decoder design. We present the fundamentals of Higher Order Ambisonics (HOA) decoding. Then we focus on beam forming techniques to derive solutions for irregular spaced setups. Panning functions are created by Vector Based Amplitude Panning or Least-Squares methods as patterns and are modeled by Spherical Harmonics. The required HOA order for effective beam forming proves to be in inverse proportion to the minimal angular spacing of speakers. We demonstrate decoder design using an example setup of 16 speakers, and evaluate objective performance criteria. We conclude that decoders for irregular setups require higher HOA orders compared to decoders for regular setups using the same number of speakers and discuss the consequences.
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