Perceptual Sound Field Reconstruction and Coherent Emulation

Research Student: Dr Laurent Simon
Principal Supervisor: Prof Francis Rumsey
Co-Supervisor: Dr Russell Mason
Supported by: EPSRC

Start date: 2007
End date: 2011

Project Outline

Despite the progress 5.1 surround sound represented compared to stereophony, it has proved insufficient for full 360° foreground content recording. On the other hand, systems like Higher Order Ambisonics and Wave Field Synthesis, which aim at reconstructing a physically accurate sound field over an extended area, are often highly complex and require a large number of loudspeakers.

This project investigated the use of microphone arrays to enable a perceptually convincing reconstruction of an acoustical sound field using an 8-speaker system - which could be considered as being in the engineering 'gap' between traditional stereophony and recent sound field reconstruction techniques. By capturing separately the direct and the diffuse sound field with separate microphone arrays, one may be able to perceptually optimise the arrays for each task. Although the use of simple arrays might not lead to a physically correct sound field, the perceptual result might still be consistent. Such a system remains in accord with sound engineers' habits, where one often uses a microphone array for diffuse sound and spot microphones for direct sound, and rarely aims for acoustically accurate sound field representation.