Beamformer performance with acoustic vector sensors in air

Michael E. Lockwood, Douglas L. Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


For some time, compact acoustic vector sensors (AVSs) capable of sensing particle velocity in three orthogonal directions have been used in underwater acoustic sensing applications. Potential advantages of using AVSs in air include substantial noise reduction with a very small aperture and few channels. For this study, a four-microphone array approximating a small (1 cm3) AVS in air was constructed using three gradient microphones and one omnidirectional microphone. This study evaluates the signal extraction performance of one nonadaptive and four adaptive beamforming algorithms. Test signals, consisting of two to five speech sources, were processed with each algorithm, and the signal extraction performance was quantified by calculating the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of the output. For a three-microphone array, robust and nonrobust versions of a frequency-domain minimum-variance (FMV) distortionless-response beamformer produced SNR improvements of 11 to 14 dB, and a generalized sidelobe canceller (GSC) produced improvements of 5.5 to 8.5 dB. In comparison, a two-microphone omnidirectional array with a spacing of 15 cm yielded slightly lower SNR improvements for similar multi-interferer speech signals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)608-619
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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