3-D Audio Makes an Appearance AT RMAF

Once I took a look inside, I had to know and hear more.

Meet Jeff Merkel, a CU-Denver researcher studying 3-D Audio. “I’m just evangelizing 3-D Audio,” Merkel told me during a brief lull before a group of people who had been hanging in the headphone area descended for a listen-and-chat. “We’ve been mostly doing electronic music and working with VR and video games, but we’re also interested in classical and immersive theater,” Jeff said

Turns out Jeff has been working with Rainbow Militia, a local Denver performance group. He’s also taken the rig to Burning Man. If you’re thinking how cool it might be to have someone curate your music as you trip in a 3-D sonic environment, you’re on the right track. For readers feeling trapped by the confines of two-channel audio and nailed-down environments, this is for you.

Anton's picture

Get Kal on this right away!

How cool is that!

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Wikipedia has info about 3-D audio :-) ...........

Kal Rubinson's picture

But what is it?

Edit: Ah. Thanks JRT.

I read the word "3-D Audio" just as a generic term and not appreciated it as a reference to processes related to Ambisonics, Ambiophonic or Chouiri's 3D Audio and Applied Acoustics (3D3A) work.

JRT's picture

Kal, I would encourage you to interview Edgar Choueiri at the 3D Audio and Applied Acoustics laboratory at Princeton University. I think your perspective would make that a very interesting interview.

JRT's picture

My understanding is that for this event, Jeff Merkel borrowed a portable 16.1 array, and is decoding B-format recordings for demonstration of immersive spatial audio, not just first order B-format but also higher orders.

count.de.monet's picture

Regardless of the format...getting high is the cheapest, most effective way to improve your system.

JRT's picture

"Some researchers have concluded that most self-inflicted hearing damage from excessively loud music at home is done while the victim is flying blind on drugs or booze. Stupefaction suppresses caution and dulls the awareness of high volume, and fatigue eventually causes the ear's sensitivity-control muscles to give up, losing their ability to protect the cochlear nerves."
— J. Gordon Holt

At the following link, see footnote 3.

count.de.monet's picture

Do you have a cite or just the opinion of a dead man who founded a magazine that now publishes decent measurements?

I couldn't turn up anything that supported Holt's statement. Most every study on hearing and drug use that I could find concentrated on toxicity of prescription drugs. I could find no study on listening behavior whilst under the influence. My comment made mostly in humour, was based on what I have observed - which of course is not science. My thoroughly unthorough, unscientific survey yields the following: Coke makes you turn it up. Weed makes you turn it down. and booze makes you wish you had an automatic table because you are too shaky to drop the arm.

Ortofan's picture

... digital sound-field processor for enhancing two-channel audio.

jeffhenning's picture

Having over the years experimented with expansive audio (only based on expanding the stereo sound field to 360° two-dimensionally) using various combinations of pro audio multi-effects processors, a Sony TA-E9000ES digital preamp, the Hughes AK-100 and even the Hughes iWow iTunes plug-in to varying levels of success, I find stuff like this to be fascinating.

Using all of this stuff was never simple and sometimes much less effective than hoped.

Two cases in point:

• A mono, video DVD of The Pat Travers Band from the mid-70's from London. Not particularly the highest fidelity, but running it through a DBX 5BX dynamics processor, bumping up the bass and treble, expanding the sound field through the AK-100 and adding some extra dimension to the very dry mono soundtrack with one of the DSP presets in the Sony preamp that mostly fed surround speakers, it actually sounded pretty good. Turning off all that stuff made the listening experience much less involving and the music collapsed back to the center of the TV screen.

• I can recall dozens of rock recordings (mostly since the late 80's) that were so crushed and basically destroyed in mastering that nothing could save them. Yes, you could make them expansive, but it was expansive dreck. That was a shame because I like a lot of the songs.

Currently, I'm using an Emotiva XMC-1 pre with KEF LS50 mains and a pair of Rythmik subs. I've found them to have incredibly expansive imaging in concert with the treatments used in the room. Even without surrounds, it sounds like there is more than 1 pair of speakers.

In the coming months, I'll be building out the surround set up and, eventually do the Atmos type of thing for a 9.2.4 rig.

I'm looking forward to getting a 16 channel processor/pre to see what one of those can do.

The only thing that makes me skeptical about upmixing with any surround processing format is that there is no way to tweak them. Both Dolby and DTS seem to deny the end user any ability to customize the processes to account for the source audio or the speaker set up.

Maybe someday.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Do you have any familiarity with the Harman/Lexicon Logic-7? ....... If so, what is your opinion about that processor/process? ....... Harman is currently using that technology in some of the hi-end automobiles :-) ........