A method is introduced to measure the radiation characteristics of musical instruments and to calculate the sound field radiated to an extended listening area. This sound field is synthesized by means of a loudspeaker system to create a natural, spatial instrumental sound. All instruments are considered as complex point sources, which makes it easy to measure, analyze, and compare their radiation characteristics as well as to propagate the radiated sound to discrete listening points. The sound field at these listening points as well as the loudspeaker driving signals to synthesize them are calculated in frequency domain. This makes spatial windowing superfluous and allows for all loudspeakers to be active for any virtual source position. However, this procedure introduces synthesis errors that are compensated for the listener by implementing psychoacoustic methods. The synthesis principle works already with low-order loudspeaker systems such as discrete quadraphonic and 5.1 systems as well as with existing ambisonics and wave field synthesis setups with dozens to hundreds of loudspeakers. Aliasing frequency and synthesis precision are dependent on the number of loudspeakers and the extent of the listening area, not on the distance of adjacent loudspeakers. A listening test demonstrates that the approach creates a listening experience comparable with mono and stereo concerning localization and naturalness of the sound and an increased spaciousness.
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