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HRTF interpolation and ITD personalization for binaural synthesis using spherical harmonics

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The Head-Related Transfer Function (HRTF) represents the acoustic signature for human spatial hearing, characterizing the diffraction of sound waves by the anatomy of the listener. HRTFs vary greatly from person to person, representing a major issue in reproduction quality of spatial sources over headphones. As each individual is morphologically different, these functions are particularly difficult to transpose to other individuals without audible artifacts. As the inter-aural time delay (ITD) plays a predominant role in azimuthal location, we focus here on the personalization of this cue. Using HRTFs measurements obtained for a KEMAR dummy head measured on the full sphere with a 5° resolution, something not easily possible on actual individuals, the spectral part of the HRTF and the ITD were separated. This allows for the relatively independent combination of pinnae and head contributions. The error in interpolation and recreation of the spectral component was analyzed as a function of modal order through subsampling of the dataset. A method of synthesizing the ITD using individual morphological data and an external HRTF database was also evaluated. The dataset matching between measurement grids was also accomplished via spherical harmonics interpolation and the effect of modal order was again evaluated.

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