What Doesn't Work
Wave field synthesis is a method of spatial audio reproduction that is capable of virtualizing complete acoustic environments. Sounds can be made to appear anywhere within or outside the listening area. The method doesn't rely on psychoacoustic exploits because it synthesizes a stable physical wave field.
WFS is based on the Huygens principle: a wavefront can be thought of as a superposition of numerous smaller wavefronts. Thus a wavefront for a virtual source can be approximated by overlapping wavefronts originating from actual sources at other positions. In practice, loudspeaker arrays are arranged in a line, plane, or a circle around the listener. Signals are emitted along the loudspeaker array at carefully measured delays to produce the desired composite wave front shape.
Wave field synthesis is in use at a number of venues around the world. In particular, WFS technology is attractive to theaters. The Fraunhofer-spinoff IOSONO has wave field synthesis installations in Disney World, Orlando, Florida; Bavaria Filmstadt, Munich; Odysseum Science Adventure Park, Cologne; and at their offices in Los Angeles and Erfurt.
Matt Montag 2010