A principal components analysis (PCA) of the median head-related impulse responses (HRIRs) in the CIPIC HRTF database reveals that the individual HRIRs can be adequately reconstructed by a linear combination of 12 orthonormal basis functions. These basis functions can be used generally to model arbitrary HRIRs, which are not included in the process to obtain the basis functions. To clarify whether these basis functions can be used to model other set of arbitrary HRIRs, an numerical error analysis for modeling and a series of subjective listening tests were carried out using the measured and modeled HRIRs. The results showed that the set of individual HRIRs, which were measured in our lab using different measurement conditions, techniques, and source positions, can be well modeled with reasonable accuracy. Furthermore, all subjects reported not only the accurate vertical perception but also the front-back discrimination with the modeled HRIRs based on 12 basis functions. However, as less basis functions were used for HRIR modeling, the modeling accuracy and localization performance deteriorated.