Source excitation strategies for obtaining impulse responses in finite difference time domain room acoustics simulation

Damian Thomas Murphy, Alex Southern, Lauri Savioja

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper considers source excitation strategies in finite difference time domain room acoustics simulations for auralization purposes. We demonstrate that FDTD simulations can be conducted to obtain impulse responses based on unit impulse excitation, this being the shortest, simplest and most efficiently implemented signal that might be applied. Single, rather than double, precision accuracy simulations might be implemented where memory use is critical but the consequence is a remarkably increased noise floor. Hard source excitation introduces a discontinuity in the simulated acoustic field resulting in a shift of resonant modes from expected values. Additive sources do not introduce such discontinuities, but instead result in a broadband offset across the frequency spectrum. Transparent sources address both of these issues and with unit impulse excitation the calculation of the compensation filters required to implement transparency is also simplified. However, both transparent and additive source excitation demonstrate solution growth problems for a bounded space. Any of these approaches might be used if the consequences are understood and compensated for, however, for room acoustics simulation the hard source is the least favourable due to the fundamental changes it imparts on the underlying geometry. These methods are further tested through the implementation of a directional sound source based on multiple omnidirectional point sources.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6-14
Number of pages9
JournalApplied Acoustics
Early online date25 Mar 2014
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2014

Bibliographical note

© 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (


  • finite difference time domain
  • room acoustics
  • Simulation

Cite this