Microphone Array

A microphone array is any number of microphones operating in tandem. There are many applications:

  • Systems for extracting voice input from ambient noise (notably telephones, speech recognition systems, hearing aids)
  • Surround sound and related technologies
  • Locating objects by sound: acoustic source localization, e.g., military use to locate the source(s) of artillery fire. Aircraft location and tracking.
  • High fidelity original recordings

Typically, an array is made up of omnidirectional microphones distributed about the perimeter of a space, linked to a computer that records and interprets the results into a coherent form. Arrays may also be formed using numbers of very closely spaced microphones. Given a fixed physical relationship in space between the different individual microphone transducer array elements, simultaneous DSP (digital signal processor) processing of the signals from each of the individual microphone array elements can create one or more "virtual" microphones. Different algorithms permit the creation of virtual microphones with extremely complex virtual polar patterns and even the possibility to steer the individual lobes of the virtual microphones patterns so as to home-in-on, or to reject, particular sources of sound.

An array of 1020 microphones, the largest in the world, was built by researchers at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.

Read more about Microphone ArraySoundfield Microphone

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