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Experiments on a System for the Synthesis of Virtual Acoustic Sources

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The results are presented of a series of experiments designed to evaluate the subjective effectiveness of a digital signal processing system for the production of virtual acoustic sources. The signal processing system, described in an earlier paper, ensures that the acoustic signals produced in the region of a listener's ears by a pair of loudspeakers are substantially equivalent to the signals that would be produced by a virtual source at a prespecified angular location. In this work, attention is restricted to the horizontal plane containing the listener's ears, the pair of loudspeakers, and the intended location of the virtual source. The signal processing system is designed to be able to produce the desired signals at the listener's ears irrespective of the acoustical environment in which the sound is reproduced. The approach used automatically incorporates the design of inverse filters which compensate for the reverberation in a given acoustical environment. Experiments are therefore undertaken not only in anechoic conditions, but also in a listening room and in the interior of an automobile. The system is shown to be remarkably effective in producing accurately localized images over a wide range of angles to the front of a large population of experimental subjects. The system is not so effective in producing images to the sides of listeners and is not effective in producing images to the rear, these images usually being perceived at "mirror" angular locations to the front of listeners.

JAES Volume 44 Issue 11 pp. 990-1007; November 1996
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AES - Audio Engineering Society