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Wave Field Synthesis
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Wave Field Synthesis is a principle of spatial sound reproduction that allows sound sources to be positioned inside or outside a room in such a way that the impression is created that they truly emanate from that position. The perception of these virtual sound sources in the space is independent of the listening position.
To achieve this, a large number of speakers are required in the room, controlled by a central processing unit. This system is used to represent the sound field in the room.
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.
Sources and references
Sascha Spors, Rudolf Rabenstein und Jens Ahrens (2008). The theory of wave field synthesis revisited. AES Convention Paper