Binaural Reproduction of Finite Difference Simulations Using Spherical Array Processing

Jonathan Sheaffer, Maarten Van Walstijn, Boaz Rafaely, Konrad Kowalczyk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Due to its efficiency and simplicity, the finite-difference time-domain method is becoming a popular choice for solving wideband, transient problems in various fields of acoustics. So far, the issue of extracting a binaural response from finite difference simulations has only been discussed in the context of embedding a listener geometry in the grid. In this paper, we propose and study a method for binaural response rendering based on a spatial decomposition of the sound field. The finite difference grid is locally sampled using a volumetric array of receivers, from which a plane wave density function is computed and integrated with free-field head related transfer functions, in the spherical harmonics domain. The volumetric array is studied in terms of numerical robustness and spatial aliasing. Analytic formulas that predict the performance of the array are developed, facilitating spatial resolution analysis and numerical binaural response analysis for a number of finite difference schemes. Particular emphasis is placed on the effects of numerical dispersion on array processing and on the resulting binaural responses. Our method is compared to a binaural simulation based on the image method. Results indicate good spatial and temporal agreement between the two methods.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)2125-2135
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE/ACM Transactions on Audio Speech and Language Processing
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2015


  • Binaural processing
  • finite difference methods
  • finite-difference time-domain (FDTD)
  • microphone arrays
  • room acoustics
  • simulation
  • sound reproduction

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics
  • Computational Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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