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The Native B-Format Microphone

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Ambisonic sound recording is predicated on the acquisition of audio signals in what has been termed “B-format”, which is the output of a microphone array known as the Soundfield Microphone. That microphone is a tetrahedral array of nominally cardioid microphone capsules. The capsule signals are processed in such a way as to give four output signals which are proportional to the pressure and the three-dimensional particle velocity vector at the center of the array. These same signals can be achieved by the use of a single omnidirectional microphone and three figure-of-eight microphones located close to each other. Errors in the shape of the polar pattern or in the ratio of the direct to diffuse-field sensitivity of the microphones result. The two methods are compared in both a theoretical analysis and in acoustical measurements. The results of the comparison of experimental recordings using these two types of arrays will be presented in part two of this paper.

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