Skip to content

Reader for AES SOFA files to get better HRTFs


Notifications You must be signed in to change notification settings


Repository files navigation



This is a simple set of C functions to read AES SOFA files, if they contain HRTFs stored according to the AES69-2015 standard [].



On Ubuntu, to install the required components, enter

sudo apt install zlib1g-dev libcunit1-dev libcunit1-dev git build-essential cmake nodejs

Then, to compile enter following commands

cd build

cmake -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Debug ..

make all test

If you need an Debian package, call

cd build && cpack

To check for memory leaks and crazy pointers

export ASAN_SYMBOLIZER_PATH=/usr/bin/llvm-symbolizer

export ASAN_OPTIONS=symbolize=1


make all test


Installing the library is an optional step that puts the libraries and header files into a platform-specific directory structure. This allows mysofa to be used by other projects, either using the standard directory layout of the platform or by using CMake's support for install trees.

To install into the system location (e.g., /usr/ on Linux), call

cmake install .

This usually requires system administrator permissions (e.g., using sudo).

To install to a non-system location, provide a prefix path when performing the cmake configure step:

cd build cmake -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Debug .. -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=<CMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX> make all test cmake install .


Libmysofa has a few main function calls.

To read a SOFA file call

#include <mysofa.h>

int filter_length;
int err;
struct MYSOFA_EASY *hrtf = NULL;

hrtf = mysofa_open("file.sofa", 48000, &filter_length, &err);
	return err;

This call will normalize your hrtf data upon opening. For non-normalized data, replace the call to mysofa_open by:

hrtf = mysofa_open_no_norm("file.sofa", 48000, &filter_length, &err);

Or for a complete control over neighbors search algorithm parameters:

bool norm = true; // bool, apply normalization upon import
float neighbor_angle_step = 5; // in degree, neighbor search angle step (common to azimuth and elevation)
float neighbor_radius_step = 0.01; // in meters, neighbor search radius step
hrtf = mysofa_open_advanced("file.sofa", 48000, &filter_length, &err, norm, neighbor_angle_step, neighbor_radius_step);

(The greater the neighbor_*_step, the faster the neighbors search. The algorithm will end up skipping true nearest neighbors if these values are set too high. To be define based on the will-be-imported sofa files grid step. Default mysofa_open method is usually fast enough for classical hrtf grids not to bother with the advanced one.)

Or, if you have loaded your HRTF file into memory already, call, for example

char buffer[9] = "TESTDATA";
int filter_length;
int err;
struct MYSOFA_EASY *hrtf = NULL;
hrtf = mysofa_open_data(buffer, 9, 48000, &filter_length, &err);

To free the HRTF structure, call:


If you need HRTF filter for a given coordinate, just call

short leftIR[filter_length];
short rightIR[filter_length];
int leftDelay;          // unit is samples
int rightDelay;         // unit is samples

mysofa_getfilter_short(hrtf, x, y, z, leftIR, rightIR, &leftDelay, &rightDelay);

and then delay the audio signal by leftDelay and rightDelay samples and do a FIR filtering with leftIR and rightIR. Alternative, if you are using float values for the filtering, call

float leftIR[filter_length]; // [-1. till 1]
float rightIR[filter_length];
float leftDelay;          // unit is sec.
float rightDelay;         // unit is sec.

mysofa_getfilter_float(hrtf, x, y, z, leftIR, rightIR, &leftDelay, &rightDelay);

using mysofa_getfilter_float_nointerp instead of mysofa_getfilter_float (same arguments), you can bypass the linear interpolation applied by mysofa_getfilter_float (weighted sum of nearest neighbors filters coefficients), and get the exact filter stored in the sofa file nearest to the [x,y,z] position requested.

If you have spherical coordinates but you need Cartesian coordinates, call

void mysofa_s2c(float values[3])

with phi (azimuth in degree, measured counterclockwise from the X axis), theta (elevation in degree, measured up from the X-Y plane), and r (distance between listener and source) as parameters in the float array and x,y,z as response in the same array. Similar, call

void mysofa_c2s(float values[3])

The coordinate system is defined in the SOFA specification and is the same as in the SOFA file. Typically, the X axis vector (1 0 0) is the listening direction. The Y axis (0 1 0) is the left side of the listener and Z (0 0 1) is upwards.

Sometimes, you want to use multiple SOFA filters or if you have to open a SOFA file multiple times, you may use

hrtf1 = mysofa_open_cached("file.sofa", 48000, &filter_length, &err);
hrtf2 = mysofa_open_cached("file.sofa", 48000, &filter_length, &err);
hrtf3 = mysofa_open_cached("file.sofa", 8000, &filter_length, &err);
hrtf3 = mysofa_open_cached("file2.sofa", 8000, &filter_length, &err);

Then, all HRTFs having the same filename and sampling rate are stored only once in memory. If your program is using several threads, you must use appropriate synchronisation mechanisms so only a single thread can access the mysofa_open_cached and mysofa_close_cached functions at a given time.

Use libmysofa in CMake-based projects

libmysofa can be imported and used as a Cmake target into other projects. For this, the CMake configuration of the consuming projects has to contain a statement

find_package( mysofa CONFIG [mysofa_version] [REQUIRED] )

After that, a statement

target_link_libraries( <target> [PRIVATE|PUBLIC] mysofa::mysofa-shared )


target_link_libraries( <target> [PRIVATE|PUBLIC] mysofa::mysofa-static )

ensures that the target <target> uses the respective variant of the mysofa library.

In order for the find_package above command to work, three cases are possible:

  1. If mysofa has been installed to a system location, either using a package or using the cmake install . command introduced above, mysofa is automatically found by CMake.
  2. If mysofa has been installed to a non-system location using a <CMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX> path, add the variable definition -DCMAKE_PREFIX_PATH=<CMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX> to the CMake configure command of the consuming project.
  3. To use the mysofa libraries and header files of a mysofa build tree, add the variable definition -Dmysofa_DIR=<MYSOFA_BUILD_DIRECTORY>. When using the build instructions above, the build directory is the subdirectory build within the mysofa source directory.

OS support

Libmysofa compiles for Linux operating systems, OSX and Windows. By default, each commit is compiled with Travis CI under Ubuntu 14.04 and OSX 7.3 and with AppVeyor for Windows Visual Studio 2015 on a x64 system. In addition, FFmpeg is compiling libmysofa with MinGW under Windows using their own build system. To build it under in an big endian architecture, I use the following Docker environment on a x64 system:

docker run --rm --privileged multiarch/qemu-user-static --reset -p yes

docker run --rm -it s390x/ubuntu bash



The SOFA files are from, Piotr Majdak The K-D tree algorithm is by John Tsiombikas The resampler is by Jean-Marc Valin. The remaining source code is by Christian Hoene, Symonics GmbH, and available under BSD-3-Clause license. This work has been funded by German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, funding code 01IS14027A.