08.02.2017 | Ausgabe 1/2017

Perception of nearby sound sources

Measurement and evaluation of a near-field HRTF set

Neumann KU100 dummy head, mounted on the VariSphear measurement system. (Image: authors)

1. Introduction

Dynamic binaural synthesis serves as a powerful tool for headphone-based spatial audio reproduction. It enhances traditional binaural technology by adapting the sound field to the listener’s head orientation in real time. This results in improved sound source localization and reduced front-back confusion. Furthermore, there is strong evidence that dynamic binaural synthesis can increase externalization of virtual sound sources. The basic principle of dynamic binaural synthesis relies on head-related transfer functions (HRTFs), which describe the directional filtering of the incoming sound caused by the head, pinna, and torso. At this time, a variety of measured or simulated HRTF sets are available. However, most sets are far-field HRTFs, which means that the sound source was placed at a distance of at least 1 m. Thus, the acoustical specifics of nearby sound sources in the region within 1 m of the listener‘s head are simply ignored, even though they are well known [1]. Considering near-field HRTFs would allow to adequately synthesize nearby sound sources, and thus might possibly improve the plausibility of a virtual auditory scene.

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