Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type





Electrical Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Kevin D. Donohue


The speech of a person speaking in a noisy environment can be enhanced through electronic beamforming using spatially distributed microphones. As this approach demands precise information about the microphone locations, its application is limited in places where microphones must be placed quickly or changed on a regular basis. Highly precise calibration or measurement process can be tedious and time consuming. In order to understand tolerable limits on the calibration process, the impact of microphone position error on the intelligibility is examined. Analytical expressions are derived by modeling the microphone position errors as a zero mean uniform distribution. Experiments and simulations were performed to show relationships between precision of the microphone location measurement and loss in intelligibility. A variety of microphone array configurations and distracting sources (other interfering speech and white noise) are considered. For speech near the threshold of intelligibility, the results show that microphone position errors with standard deviations less than 1.5cm can limit losses in intelligibility to within 10% of the maximum (perfect microphone placement) for all the microphone distributions examined. Of different array distributions experimented, the linear array tends to be more vulnerable whereas the non-uniform 3D array showed a robust performance to positional errors.