3D Audio

Overview

3D Audio represents a step up to a new level of quality in sound reinforcement. The acoustic impression is more natural and transparent, more immediate and more exciting. A whole new world of possibilities becomes available to the sound designer.

The sound source is no longer bound to a single loudspeaker. The large number of individually controlled loudspeakers inherent to the system allows sources to be freely positioned in the performance space and given individual sound characteristics. This allows, on the one hand, source oriented sound reinforcement of the performance on stage, and on the other hand impressive sound effect reproduction of, for instance, a thunderclap or indirect atmospheric backgrounds.

The key to this new level of quality is the exploitation of the psychoacoustic processes which allow a listener to localise a sound source, a factor largely ignored in conventional sound reinforcement up until now. The overall acoustic impression is created by the sum of the cues provided by multiple loudspeakers from different directions. The listener is not consciously aware of any individual loudspeaker, and the resulting acoustic experience is transparent and extremely natural, more powerful and more direct. The audience is no longer sitting in front of a two dimensional reproduction with flat and artificial sounding reverb, but rather in a natural and realistic sounding acoustic space. In contrast to a conventional stereo system, the sweet spot is no longer a restricted area in the middle of the field. The entire listening space experiences an acoustic panorama which corresponds precisely to what is visible on the stage.


Applications

  • Sound-reinforced concerts (classical + pop)
  • Spoken theatre, opera, musicals
  • Sound effects (theatre, shows, cinema, trade fair stands, events, exhibitions, sound installations, planetariums, amusement parks, cruise ships…)
  • Laboratories

Usage situations

1. Stationary sound sources (e.g. microphone stands in an orchestra)

 

2. Moving sound sources and static microphones
(e.g. microphones in front of or above a theatre stage)

© Arno Declair

© Arno Declair

 

3. Moving sound sources with programming
(e.g. playback of moving sound sources)

Bühnenbild der „Meistersinger“

 

4. Close miked moving sound sources in combination with a tracking system

© Arno Declair

 

5. Immersive sound as room simulation

 

6. Immersive sound as a theatre effect

© AFAS Theater

© AFAS Theater

 


Typical loudspeaker configuration

  • 5 line array sources above the front of the stage
  • 6 – 10 loudspeakers spaced along the front edge of the stage
  • a network of full-range loudspeakers uniformly spaced around the walls and ceiling of the auditorium at different heights
  • Sub-woofers as required

Procedure

Rendering process

Two different types of rendering process are available in Vivace:

  1. With centre reference
    In addition to the playback of Ambisonic recordings (B-Format up to 3rd order), several different panning algorithms are implemented in Vivace, which can move a sound object with automatic level and delay panning around the audience. For this to function satisfactorily, the loudspeaker coverage from every individual loudspeaker needs to include the entire audience area. When this prerequisite is achieved, direction and distance to the object, object size and the ratio of direct sound to spatial sound are all adjustable and programmable in Vivace.
  2. Without centre reference
    The Vivace source area concept provides even more flexibility, and a real solution, for example, for venues with a very wide stage area. In this process, source areas are defined on the stage and around the audience area, each with its own set of level and delay settings for the loudspeakers. The aim is perfect localisation of the various sources, combined with homogeneous level distribution across the entire audience area. The automatically generated settings are visible to the user, and can be manually adjusted according to need, thereby eliminating any restrictions on sound design caused by constraints of the system. The centre points of the defined source areas then serve as anchor points, and Vivace interpolates the loudspeaker level and delay settings for the individual sound objects from this base. In addition to the level and delay settings, a transition between the spatial sound settings for the individual source areas is calculated, allowing programmed movements to generate grandiose acoustic effects.

The advantages of source areas:

  • Uniform level distribution in combination with precise localisation across the entire audience area, regardless of the width of the stage
  • independent acoustic characteristics for each source area (spatial sound settings with reflections and reverberation, level and filters and perceived distance to the source, definable by the user)
  • Continuous delay adjustment for the sound objects ensures optimal precision and sound quality

General advantages:

  • The simulation function allows visualisation of complex sound reinforcement systems (loudspeaker simulation independent of the manufacturer)
  • Depiction of the position of the objects in the plan view and the 3-D model of the venue allows fast and easy positioning of the objects

Programming and control:

The Vivace Control software provides the user interface for the entire system (available for Windows, Linux or MacOS). The software features a number of automatic functions and assistants which make it an easy to learn and powerful tool for operating the system, even in high stress live situations. Parallel operation from multiple user interface computers and offline programming functionality also contribute to the usability and flexibility of Vivace.

Methods for controlling object positions include the following:

  • Object position definition from the Vivace Control GUI and DAW plug-in:
    • Mouse and touch-screen control
    • Timeline with editable audio content (position, audio settings)
  • Object position via OSC control message (from tracking systems, hardware controllers, smart phones, external software)
  • Object positions and movements stored in the main-frame (recall via web client)

Audio material:

  • live input from microphones or playback devices
  • DAW with a Vivace plug-in
  • integrated multi-channel player
  • Mono / Stereo / Ambisonic 3rd order

User interface

User Interface 2D Modell

Plan view showing source area positions and loudspeakers

User Interface 3D Modell

Simulation function for fast and easy optimisation of audio settings

User Interface Objekte

Sound objects on the stage

User Interface Timeline

Timeline for automated object movements with multi-channel audio player

Overview

Overview

Applications

Usage situations

Typical loudspeaker configuration

Procedure

User interface

Overview

Overview

Applications

Usage situations

Typical loudspeaker configuration

Procedure

User interface

Everything you need to know about our room acoustics systems

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