Spatial auditory masking effects have been examined for developing highly efficient audio coding algorithms for signals in three-dimensional (3D) sound fields. Generally, the masking threshold level is lowered according to the increase of the directional difference between masker and maskee signals. However, we found that when a maskee signal is located at the symmetrical position of the masker signal with respect to the frontal plane of a listener, the masking threshold level is not lowered, which counters the expectations. A mathematical model is proposed to estimate the masking threshold caused by multiple masker signals in the 3D sound field. Using the model, the perceptual entropy of a tune from a two channel stereo CD was reduced by approximately 5.5%.
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