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Computer Modeling of the Sound Field in Small Rooms

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The finite element method (FEM) and boundary element method (BEM) are established techniques for solving problems in acoustics when the properties of the room surfaces are known. Their application in room acoustics has long been limited due to the broad frequency range of interest in most room acoustics problems, lack of background in curriculum at most universities, practical problems such as the lack of easy-to-use software, and the insufficient power of affordable computers. The increased interest in the low-frequency range, the poor results from attempts to extend high-frequency methods to the low-frequency range, and the improvements in software and hardware are, however, leading to an increased interest in the application of these methods. In room acoustics, FEM/BEM can be used to extract the resonance frequencies of room modes (not BEM), the frequency response functions for various loudspeaker-receiver positions, and the evaluation of the apparent radiation impedance seen by the loudspeaker. The accuracy of such predictions, the various techniques for defining damping (absorption) and sources will be discussed. Finally, the available software will be commented on.

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