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Accurate Prediction of the Three-Dimensional Dispersion Characteristics of Loudspeaker Arrays Composed of Real or Theoretical Sound Sources

Traditionally, the problem of predicting the behavior of loudspeaker arrays has been approached by making simplifying assumptions about the individual array elements. Assuming omnidirectional or piston behavior, or simplifying or disregarding phase response, can lead at best to good approximations of actual array behavior, and at worst to serious errors. A new graphics-based array simulation program has been developed which allows four traditional techniques as well as a new hybrid technique to be used in predicting the behavior of arbitrarily configured arrays. The correlation between the actual and predicted behavior of three test arrays is presented. Results show that the hybrid technique, based on measurements of an array element's full-sphere magnitude and phase response, is the most accurate predictor over the broad range of transducer and array types tested. A second technique, based on assumed phase response, is shown to be accurate in cases where the element's acoustic center is fixed. Three other traditional prediction techniques are shown to have limitations which can lead to significant errors.

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