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Subjective listening tests were conducted to investigate how the spacing between main (lower) and height (upper) microphone layers in a 3D main microphone array affects perceived spatial impression and overall preference. Four different layer spacings of 0m, 0.5m, 1m, and 1.5m were compared for the sound sources of trumpet, acoustic guitar, percussion quartet, and string quartet using a nine-channel loudspeaker setup. It was generally found that there was no significant difference between any of the spaced layer configurations, whereas the 0m layer had slightly higher ratings than the more spaced layers in both spatial impression and preference. Acoustical properties of the original microphone channel signals as well as those of the reproduced signals, which were binaurally recorded, were analyzed in order to find possible physical causes for the perceived results. It is suggested that the perceived results were mainly associated with vertical interchannel crosstalk in the signals of each height layer and the magnitude and pattern of spectral change at the listener's ear caused by each layer.
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