Concert hall acoustics have been traditionally evaluated by means of room acoustic measurements and perceptual studies, which requires an available concert hall, orchestra, and audience. This article presents a physical and perceptual comparison of room acoustics between arrays of real loudspeakers and virtual loudspeakers implemented with Wave Field Synthesis in a concert hall. The physical comparison comprises time-frequency and spatiotemporal analyses of the spatial room impulse responses measured through the two reproduction methods. Perceptual comparisons are based on formal listening tests performed both in-situ and in laboratory conditions, using anechoic classical music recordings as excitation signals. The results indicate that Wave Field Synthesis yields a slower build-up and a spatially more distributed direct sound than real loudspeakers. Perceptually, Wave Field Synthesis presents brighter sound and a wider and more enveloping spatial sound image, as well as higher preference in the studied concert hall.
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