Design of Steerable Spherical Broadband Beamformers with Flexible Sensor Configurations
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In broadband beamformer applications with dynamically moving sources, it can be important to have a simple mechanism to steer the main-beam. It can also be desirable if the beampattern of the beamformer is invariant to the look direction. A number of design methods for such beamformers, based on the spherical harmonic transform, have been reported in the literature. However, these methods require the sensor positions to satisfy a certain condition which may conflict with practical considerations. This paper proposes a design method which obviates this restriction thus allowing for spherical arrays with arbitrary sensor configurations. Moreover, for a comparable level of performance and computational complexity to the existing spherical harmonic beamformers, the proposed beamformer requires fewer sensors. The trade-off is that the design of the beamformer now depends on the sensor positions. Other considerations, such as the effects of array misorientation and robustness, are also discussed in this paper and illustrated by design examples.
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