This investigation examines the operational size-range of audio images recorded with advanced close-capture microphone arrays for three-dimensional imaging. It employs a 3D panning tool to manipulate audio images. The 3D microphone arrays used in this study were: Coincident-XYZ, M/S-XYZ, and Non-coincident-XYZ/five-point. Instruments of the orchestral string, woodwind, and brass sections were recorded. The objective of the test was to determine the point of three-dimensional expansion onset, preferred imaging, and image breakdown point. Subjects were presented with a continuous dial to manipulate the three-dimensional spread of the arrays, allowing them to expand or contract the microphone signals from 0° to 90° azimuth/elevation. The results showed that the M/S-XYZ array is the perceptually “biggest” of the capture systems under test and displayed the fasted sense of expansion onset. The coincident and non-coincident arrays are much less agreed upon by subjects in terms of preference in particular, and also in expansion onset.
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