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Anomalies of Wavefront Reconstruction in Stereo and Surround-Sound Reproduction

As a means of assessing imaging accuracy, this paper investigates the ability of 2-channel stereophonic and 3-channel horizontal Ambisonic surround-sound reproduction systems to reconstruct, in the vicinity of the listening position, an approximation to a plane-wave sound source. Stereo cannot achieve the correct relationship between particle velocity and pressure, and is seriously in error even in the "stereo seat." Horizontal surround-sound systems do get the pressure/velocity relationships correct at the center of the loudspeaker array, and there is a significant decrease in angular preference for the loudspeaker directions as the number of loudspeakers is increased. Even for four and six loudspeaker horizontal Ambisonic surround-sound systems, however, the reconstructed wavefront is only approximately correct near the center of the array at the lower audio frequencies.

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