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Database Matching of Sparsely Measured Head-Related Transfer Functions

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The effectiveness of binaural reproductions depends on the accuracy of those spatialization cues that are unique to an individual’s personal physiology. These cues are embedded in the Head-Related Transfer Functions (HRTFs), which guide sound from a given source direction to a listener’s ears. This report discusses the design and evaluation of a HRTF database matching system that pairs users to premeasured HRTF sets created from a sparse set of individualized acoustic measurements. The utilized spatial grid, which was derived from an LDA classifier, consisted of 68 filters nonuniformly distributed across 5 elevations from -30° and +30°. A binaural localization study confirmed the original hypothesis that the similarity between subsets of binaural filters can be generalized to represent the relationship of the HRTFs of origin. Analysis of the participant responses provided strong evidence that HRTF database matching is useful. The designed implementation was successful in providing users with alternative HRTF datasets when the similarity of the matched data to the search query was above a certain similarity threshold. It was also shown that low-similarity HRTFs can lead to decreased spatial localization accuracy.

JAES Volume 65 Issue 7/8 pp. 552-561; July 2017
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AES - Audio Engineering Society