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Comparisons between VBAP and WFS using Spatial Sound Synthesis

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This paper presents analysis methods that make use of synthesis concepts by means of movements of sounds in virtual 3D auditory space at audio rate. The main focuses lies on the modulating effect caused by moving a sound around a listener, commonly referred to as panning. Here, we will demonstrate a comparison between two common panning approaches: Vector-Base Amplitude Panning (VBAP) and Wavefield Synthesis (WFS). Both apply some type of secondary source selection process, reducing the number of active loudspeakers at any moment in time. Under specific conditions it therefore becomes possible to compare VBAP and WFS directly. Using a technique originally developed for 3D sound synthesis over multichannel loudspeaker arrays at audio rate, both VBAP and WFS are adapted to be emulated by this technique. By using this sonification process, the differences between panning with VBAP or WFS can then not only be visualised but also heard. This makes spatial sound synthesis not just a creative tool for sound creation, but also an analytic tool that can help illustrate characteristics of spatialisation approaches.

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