- Spherical microphone arrays have been recently studied for sound-field recordings, beamforming, and sound-field analysis which use spherical harmonics in the design. Although the microphone arrays and the associated algorithms were presented, no comprehensive theoretical analysis of performance was provided. This work presents a spherical-harmonics-based design and analysis framework for spherical microphone arrays. In particular, alternative spatial sampling schemes for the positioning of microphones on a sphere are presented, and the errors introduced by finite number of microphones, spatial aliasing, inaccuracies in microphone positioning, and measurement noise are investigated both theoretically and by using simulations. The analysis framework can also provide a useful guide for the design and analysis of more general spherical microphone arrays which do not use spherical harmonics explicitly.