Abstract : Angular control of the sound radiation can be achieved by using a compact array of independently programmable loudspeakers operating at the same frequency range. The drivers are usually distributed over a sphere-like frame according to a Platonic solid geometry to obtain a highly symmetrical configuration. Prototypes of compact spherical loudspeaker arrays have been recently developed and applied in room acoustics measurements, electroacoustic music performance and synthesis of directivity patterns of acoustical sources such as musical instruments. However, many aspects concerning their control, design, electromechanical behavior and ability to provide a more realistic sound experience than conventional audio systems remain unclear. This work concerns the analysis and synthesis of sound fields by a compact spherical loudspeaker array and aims to contribute to clarifying some aspects mentioned above. A control strategy based on the acoustic radiation modes of the spherical array is proposed, which presents several advantages over the usual strategy based on the spherical harmonics. A theoretical and experimental analysis of the electromechanical behavior of compact loudspeaker arrays is also presented, in which the acoustic coupling between drivers inside the array frame is taken into account. In addition, optimum driver signals corresponding to a given target directivity pattern are derived using two different cost functions, indicating that the realism of the synthesized pattern may be significantly increased by neglecting the phase of the target directivity pattern. Finally, the proposed theoretical models are validated through measurements of electrical impedance, loudspeaker diaphragm velocity and directivity patterns.