Wave Field Synthesis

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Wave Field Synthesis is an advanced spatial audio reproduction technique that aims to create a truly immersive sound experience by accurately recreating sound fields in three-dimensional space. It goes beyond traditional stereo or surround sound systems by synthesizing wave fronts rather than simply reproducing individual sound sources.
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Self-explanatory picture

In Wave Fiels Synthesis, an array of closely spaced loudspeakers is used to generate sound waves that interact with each other in such a way that they create a virtual sound field. By controlling the timing, amplitude, and phase of each individual loudspeaker in the array, it's possible to precisely manipulate the sound waves so that they converge at specific points in space, effectively recreating the acoustic properties of a particular environment.

Physical fundamentals

Wave Field Synthesis is based on Huygens' principle, which states that a wave can be reproduced as the sum of its elementary waves. Conversely, it follows that with many elementary waves, any desired sound wave can be synthesized.

These elementary waves are then represented using speakers and sum up to the wave that is to be depicted.


The method is frequently employed in the field of sound installations to simulate a 3D sound field. Additionally, there are occasional movie theaters equipped with such a system. Wave field synthesis is also used in live sound reinforcement to create immersive sound environments.
Overall, Wave Field Synthesis has a wide range of applications across entertainment, communication, education, and assistive technology sectors, where high-quality spatial audio reproduction is desired to create immersive and realistic audio experiences.

  • [REF]
  • T. Ziemer, Psychoacoustic Music Sound Field Synthesis, Chapter 8 - Wave Field Synthesis, pp .203-243, 2020.
  • Sascha Spors, Rudolf Rabenstein und Jens Ahrens (2008). The theory of wave field synthesis revisited. AES Convention Paper
  • Wellenfeldsynthese für Eventbeschallungen, Bachelorarbeit, Rafael Philip Ludwig, Institut für Signalverarbeitung und Sprachkommunikation der Technischen Universität Graz, 2012; BA_Ludwig_Wellenfeldsynthese_für_Eventbeschallungen.pdf (tugraz.at)
  • Das huygenssche Prinzip, Karlsruher Institut für Technologie; https://psi.physik.kit.edu/147.php