Foreground suppression for capturing and reproduction of crowded acoustic environments

Traditionally, sensor arrays and spatial filtering aim to enhance individual sources by suppressing ambient noise and reverberation. In this paper, the exactly opposite problem is examined, that of suppressing individual sources in favour of the ambient sound and of the whole acoustic scene in general. We consider a compact circular sensor array which is embedded in a crowded ambient acoustic environment and is at the same time prone to interference from directional speech originating from multiple nearby speakers.

We propose a method for suppressing the undesired components and we compare its performance with two established approaches in spatial audio processing, namely, direct-to-diffuse decomposition and Primary-Ambient Extraction (PAE). Experimental results and a listening test which are presented illustrate the superiority of our method.

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