A virtual headphone based on Wave Field Synthesis

K. Laumann, G. Theile, H. Fastl

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


The term "virtual headphone" refers to specially designed loudspeaker systems aiming for transmission characteristics equal to real headphones. Particularly of interest is the exact pre-filtering of the speaker signals to compensate the effect of head-related transfer functions (HRTFs) between loudspeakers and ear canal. These so-called "HRTF inverse filters" are dependent on geometrical conditions and so they have to be updated with every head movement. In order to avoid problematic adaptive HRTF inverse filtering, the real loudspeakers are replaced by focussed sources generated according to the principles of Wave Field Synthesis (WFS). Head tracking controlled adjustment of driving functions allows easy source movement and thus fixed source positions in relation to the listener's ears, providing stable virtual headphone reproduction. A single static HRTF inverse filter network can be used. It is designed to ensure precise headphone equalization according to ITU-R BS.708 and offers accurate reproduction of e.g. binaural signals. A pilot study with a circular WFS array built in a panel above the listener's head has verified the functional capability of this concept.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3595-3599
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings - European Conference on Noise Control
StatePublished - 2008
Event7th European Conference on Noise Control 2008, EURONOISE 2008 - Paris, France
Duration: 29 Jun 20084 Jul 2008


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