A layman multimedia guide to Immersive Sound for the technically minded (Immersive Audio and Holophony)

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by jgazal, Nov 25, 2017.
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  1. bigshot
    Immersive sound in recordings is no more "real" than stereo. It just adds another dimension to the illusion. Believing that the best sound is recorded by capturing it realistically is like believing rabbits magically come out of a magician's hat. Just because something appears to be like that on the surface, that doesn't mean that the end result was achieved that way.
  2. jgazal
    Said that way, without the word myth, I partially agree, but limited to speakers.

    I don’t see why an eigenmike microphones would capture higher distortion than spot microphones.

    The problem is reproducing with speakers in a room.

    I also don’t see why eigenmikes, high density personalized HRTF with headtracking and headphones transducers, would render higher distortion than spot microphones mixed in stereo and played with acoustic crosstalk.

    Don’t you think that some illusions, better, emulations, have lower distortion than other illusions?
  3. bigshot
    It isn't a matter of distortion, it's a matter of flexibility. For sound to sound good, it has to be organized. You have to layer it with contrasts in timbre and volume all woven together into something that sounds balanced. Recorded sound rarely is balanced right from the mike, and the more instruments you have, the harder it is to capture balanced sound all in one fell swoop. Mixes are built and constructed. Elements are recorded with as much isolation from other instruments and placement as possible. This allows the maximum flexibility in the mix for creating and overall balance that reveals all the contrasting layers of sound clearly. If you try and capture all the instruments and all of the spacial information at one time, you end up too often with mush. And if you mike instruments with specific spatial perspectives, you can't layer instruments because all those different spatial perspectives might not jibe.

    It's the same as a painter painting a scene. He constructs a composition and a balance of light and shade and hue on the canvas. He doesn't just photograph a scene. This gives him the flexibility to create shapes that flow into one another and allows him to highlight the aspects of the composition that he wants to be the focus.

    A painter *makes* pictures, he doesn't capture images. A sound engineer *makes* a mix, he doesn't simply record it. Once it's done, it is perfect. More perfect than reality and if the painter or engineer does a really good job, it can seem more real than reality too.
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2017
  4. jgazal
    I see it. I wouldn’t mind if the spatial information were synthesized, as long as some proximity and elevation is conveyed, even if such effects are not coincident with the recorded voices or instruments.

    I still fail to understand why the sound from several soundfield microphones or from spot microphones cannot be mixed in Ambisonics.

    When I was trying to describe to you the concept of proximity, you wrote the following about Atmos and Ambisonics (last paragraph):

    I don’t know if Atmos enabled decoding processors can handle only objects instead of relying in a more and less comprehensive bed, but if I understood what you wrote correctly, rendering in 3-axis does not detract the “more perfect than reality” mixing approach.

    So now think about this procedure:

    What would happen if instead of a Blumlein stereo pair, an eigenmike were used?

    Would it be possible to mix those three vocal lines with Ambisonics to preserve the spatial information and at the same time the “right balance” Swedien was looking for?

    P.s.: can you imagine an artist singing several takes for each of those three vocal lines instead of using synthetic off the shelf reverb? Weren’t they perfectionists?
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2017
  5. bigshot
    Different instruments are miked at different distances and in different perspectives. You might mike an acoustic guitar very close to the strings. A drum might be miked from above at a distance. A piano might be miked from the perspective of the pianist, or it might be miked in the body of the piano, or it might be miked from a distance with the lid open. If you take one ambient signature and overlay it over another completely different one, and another different one, and another... all those spatial cues will muddle together. You won't read anything as dimensional any more, it'll just sound thick and confused. That's why most musical instruments are recorded dry in mono and then are placed in position in the mix. The spatial cues (reverb, echo, etc.) are added to the group to create a unified ambience after everything is recorded and brought into the mix. The only other option is to mike the whole group in position and in the proper ambience with a stereo microphone pair simulating the head of a listener. But that approach leaves you no flexibility to mix. You have to get everything perfectly balanced from beginning to end live along with the performance. That is very difficult and once you've recorded it, there's no going back to finesse things or make corrections.

    In the vocal example you mention, they are basically tracking the lead vocal and doubles normally, and they're just using the paired mike for a light bed of ambience. That works fine because all of the main vocals are tracked in mono. There's just one low bed that has the ambience in it. In case you aren't familiar with the process, doubled vocals are often tracked so tightly you don't realize there's more than one voice involved. The singer sings the lead twice hitting the exact same space and consonants for the lyrics. It beefs up the sound of the lead vocals. Michael Jackson and Elton John albums have a lot of this. It doesn't sound the same as a choir. And it isn't the same as reverb either. They probably added reverb on top of the doubles and ambience to thicken it all up.
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2017
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  6. gregorio
    An eigenmic or soundfield mics would not capture higher distortion, quite the opposite in fact, they would capture much higher fidelity than spot mics and that's PRECISELY why they are useless!! Didn't you read my post, particularly 4b? Listen to the drum kit at 7:40 on the virtual tour video you posted, listen carefully to the instruments in the drum kit, the kick drum and the snare drum for example. Now listen to the album you mentioned, Thriller. Does the kick and snare in the video sound even remotely like the kick and snare in Thriller? Pick something else: Motorhead, Prince, Seal, Sade, The Prodigy, Eminem, Coldplay or in fact pretty much anyone from the last 40 or so years, do the drumkits sound remotely like the accurately captured drumkit in your video? I find it unbelievable that you can appreciate the relatively subtle, immersive qualities of 3-axis sound reproduction while being completely oblivious to the massive difference between how a drumkit actually sounds in real life and how it ends up sounding in commercial music.

    How can a desire to reproduce something which never existed, be legitimate? Your "legitimate desire" is a desire which necessitates effectively killing or at least massively damaging pretty much all modern popular music genres. To me, that's about as far from "legitimate" as I can imagine!

    What has that got to do with anything? There is almost NO emulation going on here! You've posted a recording of a real drumkit and that's obviously NOT what we're emulating. Do you want to hear an emulation of a pathetic string "twang" captured with high fidelity 3-axis spatial information or do you want to hear that pathetic twang distorted completely beyond recognition, so it better matches what you think an electric guitar should sound like? A number of famous artists would struggle to sing "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" decently, why would we want to emulate that? Etc., etc.!

    You "wouldn't mind" something which doesn't exist? The ability to synthesise spatial information even in just 5.1 is pretty basic and the technology for what you "wouldn't mind" doesn't yet exist.

    Me too but unfortunately, that's the reality here. You continue to miss the point that bigshot and I are trying to explain to you, that it's ALL an illusion. You seem determined to interpret this as meaning that it's actually all real, except for the illusion of stereo. That the musicians are creating real performances on real instruments which we're accurately recording and then creating a stereo illusion from those recordings. The reality is: The instruments in real life sound little or nothing like we want them to, there is no real performance and therefore, how can we accurately record something which never existed? When we say it's ALL an illusion, we don't just mean an illusion of stereo, we mean the performance and the music itself is an illusion and we CANNOT create that illusion if we attempted to record and "preserve" 3-axis spatial information!

    I'm not sure how to break you out of the myth you appear trapped in. I'll try one more way; have you seen this short video? Click the link, watch it all the way through and then answer this question: How could we record/preserve and reproduce the 3-axis spatial information of the "Faa"??

  7. jgazal
    Out of the “FA” does not seem the same as “out of the blue”.

    Although info coming from the visual cortex can override info from the auditory cortex when all gets processed, perhaps in Broca’s area, this must not be a loosely or arbitrary “illusion”, as our brains were suffering from a “bizarre” disorder.

    Speech is essential in evolutionary aspects. If you are trying to work together with other humans, with incipient language, you must get the information right. That’s why our vision override the auditory ambiguity in the particular example you mentioned.

    When you see someone else lips pronouncing FA what is the chance he is trying to pronounce BA? So that “illusion” is fact highly correlated with reality.

    I wouldn’t use the word “illusion” in a surrealist meaning of “more perfect than reality” and extrapolate the specific McGurk effect to the way our brain solves all possible ambiguities between vision and audition.

    A precise perception of sound source location is also essential in evolutionary aspects.

    So in that court, when the jury heard two loudspeakers in front of them, they might be with eyes wide open and nevertheless their brain probably processed Michael Jackson’s as he were right in the middle between speakers. It does not matter if your visual cortex delivers contradictory information that you are in a court room with nobody in that virtual spot.

    IMHO, you must know what ambiguity you brain is trying to solve and which cue will prevail in each case.

    Why this experiment to quantity errors of elevation with higher order ambisonics by the BBC engineering team used speech as a test signal?

    So I also wouldn’t say the way our brain processes sound is uncorrelated with reality. IMHO it is actually highly correlated.

    You must have heard reflections in large arenas. You know there is no sound source in the reflecting walls but still you perceive the sound as coming from the reflecting wall.

    You must have also watched Professor Choueiri videos above.

    He also describes the evolutionary aspects in the way our brain solves the head movement ambiguity when playing back sounds with headphones. And here we have ambiguities between sound cues.

    In another instance, Professor Stephen Smyth also describes the ambiguity between a PRIR from a large room and the listener room size. It does collapse the externalization because sound cues are still altered dynamically with head tracking, but interesting enough, some users had described a sensation that speakers sound nearer than they were actually measured. I have asked if we could use a gear 360 and a gear VR to retrain our brains, but I received no answer yet.

    Some say that our hearing is more precise in the horizontal plane. When seeing straight, we may perceive the elevation of sound sources in a loosely way, but as soon as the sound catch our attention we tilt our head and our the transverse plane that cuts your head now isn’t coincident anymore with the horizontal plane and you perceive that elevated sound source with more precision. The Realizer now allows elevation head tracking.

    That said, I want now to describe two of my highest esteemed musical memories.

    The first was an rehearsal of my cousin’s band. He is a drummer and the drum was not amplified since, obviously, it was loud enough. Then I heard them playing Hotel California. Interesting enough, Eagles has one of the best selling albums of all time. And you are right, I never heard the drum in the same way I heard that day (but that might be just my feeling).

    So even being a real drum, I felt connected emotionally with that bass line and that music. Perhaps as emotionally connected as I am when hearing “The way you make me feel”.

    The second was a marriage in which there was a band with all instruments amplified. There was also an saxophonist with a tenor saxophone (and an spot wireless microphone) playing around the tables.

    I had never heard a saxophone playing around you with recorded music until recently. I hope the Realiser A16 and the Chesky record above can emulate that in a similar way.

    Nevertheless, I do understand and respect your work and particularly the creative value added by recording and mixing engineers. I am sure certain bass lines sound better after mixing than when they were recorded.

    But I have been reading your post many times and I still feel odd when I read the part about the vocals. It looked like the creative value of recording/mixing engineers would be somehow intrinsically and qualitative better than the creative value from musicians or artists performers.

    People used to say that Rod Stewart had the “wrong” type of voice and nevertheless he is very successful, even when he sings in unplugged MTV shows.

    What someone gifted with musical sensibility but who is not proficient in performing with acoustic instruments our with his own voice would do?

    Maybe electronic music with synthesizers?

    Would such genre be compatible with 3-axis mixing?

    Believe or not, when you search for mixing Dolby Atmos for music, this is one video you will find:

    You can find more on development of Atmos mixing with this particular genre here: https://www.dolby.com/us/en/technologies/music/dolby-atmos.html#3

    Well, I don’t feel such system can convey proximity for so many people in such a large listening area (the same challenges with movie theaters), but the concept of mixing synthetic sounds in 3-axis remains the same.

    So if I understood right you are saying that (a) 3-axis mixing is a bad choice or even prohibited choice for any music genre or any type of musical event.

    And if, again, I understood right, you may also be saying, that (b) acoustic virtual reality is also a myth or an utopia given the complexity involved to render 3d sound-fields.

    I naively thought that the creative value added by recording/mixing engineers and 3-axis mixing could be harmonized.

    You are an experienced audio professional and I am, well, just a regular guy. So I will trust in good faith that your assertions (a) and (b) hold always, in any circumstances, true.

    But tonight, when you lay up in your bed and put your head up on your pillow please pay attention to your feelings.

    And since this is the science forum, please come back tomorrow, because I would like to know, respectfully, if you still feel okay when you advocate for everybody to dismiss, a priori, music mixing in 3-axis, in any circumstances.

    If then you still tell me I am utterly wrong and that I am definitely driven by a myth, I will delete all my posts in this thread, in respect to your work and knowledge and because I don’t want people embarking in this supposed dead-end line of research driven by the same myth or utopia.

    And since I mentioned “The way you make me feel”, I will confess that I felt deeply sad about your post. It is really shaking when someone put at stake your beliefs, isn’t it?
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2017
  8. gregorio
    1. No, the challenge with movie theatres is somewhat different. In a cinema the audience is stationary, all oriented in the same direction, their position relative to the speakers is constrained and the acoustics are somewhat standardised from cinema to cinema. This is not the case with night clubs or many/most live gigs. Mixes designed for playback in clubs and live mixes at gigs tend to be rather mono with maybe just a few effects taking advantage of the stereo soundfield because a significant portion of the audience are not going to be positioned correctly to perceive the stereo effect. Dolby Atmos reduces the reliance on the stereo soundfield by providing significantly more that just two point sources but it is still reliant on stereophony to a degree. I think it's unlikely that Dolby Atmos will become a standard in clubs and even more unlikely for live gigs, although we may well see it appearing in the biggest clubs, from some of the most successful artists in certain popular music genres, EDM for example.

    2a. Hang on, you're talking about something rather different now. Before, you were talking about "preserving the 3-axis spatial information" and I explained that it is impossible to record and preserve that spatial information because we don't have one coherent acoustic space to start with (but a number of different ones) and because the different processing required to all the instruments/sounds in every popular music genre would not be possible if we did try to record and preserve the spatial information. However, that's a significantly different proposition from saying (for example): Let's make a bunch of multi-tracked mono recordings, with relatively little spatial information, process those tracks individually how we want and then place them in a 3-axis soundfield. If we did this, we would obviously be recording and preserving little/nothing of the spatial information, we would be creating/manufacturing new and entirely different spatial information and, we are certainly not talking about emulating any sort of real 3-axis soundfield here but of creating a hopefully aesthetically pleasing soundfield (from a combination of mono, stereo and multi-channel spatial effects). Additionally, all this applies to the majority of music products (the various popular music genres) not to niche music genres such as say classical music, which is typically entirely acoustic, where we would have a single coherent acoustic space to start with and where relatively little processing of the instruments is required/desired. However, we still have some issues even in these circumstances which preclude (or rather, restrict us from) simply recording/preserving the 3-axis spatial information.
    2b. No, I am not saying acoustic virtual reality is a myth! I'm not sure where you've got that from? I am saying that because with popular music genres there is no "reality" to start with, then logically it's obviously impossible to emulate a reality which never existed. So, we cannot have a virtual reality of popular music, although we could in theory have a sort of "virtual non-reality" or "virtual surreality" but it's not clear how we could achieve even that in practice without musical compromises and avoiding it being no more than just a cheesy gimmick (as with some early stereo popular music mixes).

    3. To be honest, your questions, conclusions and statements indicate that you have relatively little understanding of our work. We do not "add value" ... putting a chassis, wheels and suspension on a car does not "add value" to a car because without a chassis, wheels and suspension you don't have a car in the first place, just an incomplete pile of car parts! Engineering is an intrinsic part of the creation of all popular music genres, not an added value. For example ...
    3a. Not necessarily, in fact quite often a bass line could sound worse after mixing! This is because making the "bass lines sound better" is not the goal of mixing, making the bass line work better within the mix is the goal and that might mean making the bass line sound worse. In fact, it's important to teach student engineers not to try and do too much work to a bass (or any other) line in solo mode. Again though, it's not just a case of say a bass guitarist playing a line and then we change it after the fact during mixing, it's much more of an interactive process. What the bass player plays, how he/she plays it and what sound they produce will be informed by how it's going to be mixed and as that's rarely precisely known, this often means significantly changing what was played, even to the point overdubbing or completely re-recording it. I'm not talking about the latest technology here but about how it's been done for over 40 years!

    4. How could I "still feel OK" with that when it's NOT what I've advocated in the first place?

    5. Clearly you are wrong and driven by myth as far music is concerned, even acoustic music genres, although to a lesser degree. You are also somewhat wrong and driven by myth as far as most commercial sound in general is concerned. What you've presented here is not "a layman guide to immersive sound" but an hypothesis of what theoretically might occur in the future but it's a distant "might" because apparently without realising it, you're not just talking about technicalities of sound reproduction but a huge change in the art underlying music, a change to something new, as yet undiscovered and at the cost of abandoning the art we currently have and have had. If we look back in history, we see that the change from mono to stereo occurred gradually but once there was a decent installed user base of stereo then the popular music genres evolved to take advantage of it, even to the point of becoming reliant on it. Then we got 5.1 about 25 years ago and have had a decent installed user base for about 15 years or so but beyond a relatively few experimental albums, we've seen none of the huge music genre evolution to take advantage of 5.1 which we saw with the change from mono to stereo. Now you're talking about another big evolutionary step beyond 5.1, while the music itself hasn't even evolved beyond stereo yet and, shows no signs of doing so!

    Last edited: Dec 29, 2017
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  9. sander99
    Jgazal, I strongly urge NOT to delete all posts here, because no matter if you are (completely or partly) driven by myth or not: this thread contains a nice collection of interesting pieces of information, and this whole discussion with these audio professionals is very informative as well (and has changed my own thinking about some things).
    And also, maybe you already realise this yourself, I think there has been some miscommunication that is resolved somewhat in gregorio's last post.
    Indeed Jgazal you have adapted to the idea that at least for most popular music there is no reality to be recreated, but you alternatively would like some "artificially created" 3d spatiality in the future. Gregorio indeed says that this is not impossible, just not likely to happen in the near future..And that for some genres, with purely acoustic live music, indeed there is a reality that you could wish for to be recreated (although there are some issues).
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  10. bigshot
    It's not just popular music. It's pretty much all recorded music of all types.
  11. gregorio
    True. I was trying to make the point that with popular genres the whole idea of preserving spatial information is nonsense. With acoustic genres, such as classical music, the idea itself isn't nonsense because we do have a coherent acoustic space and we could in theory preserve it, although in practice it's typically not desirable to do so. I have heard of engineers using an ambisonics array to record an orchestra but without exception (as far as I'm aware) not just an ambisonics array on it's own but mixed with other mic inputs and of course mixing with other mics will interact with and damage/destroy the delicate timing between the capsules of the ambisonic array required for ambisonics to work. As far as I'm aware, when an ambisonics array is used, the output channels are converted into 5.1 or 7.1 to enable mixing with the other mics without too many phase issues but of course this conversion looses the 3rd axis (height information). I've been involved in the recording of orchestras and other classical/acoustic ensembles numerous times and used a wide variety of mic'ing patterns and combinations of mic'ing patterns but I've never been involved in a session where an ambisonics setup was part of the pattern, so I'm only going on here-say from the odd engineer I've spoken to who has used an ambisonics setup rather than personal experience/knowledge.

  12. jgazal

    Limited to proprietary app, but still an intent with recorded music:

    If anyone has a Gear VR available:

    Last edited: Dec 30, 2017
  13. gregorio
    It seems to me that you're still putting two and two together and coming up with six! Let's take this statement for example: "Boardman feels that music, most of all, can benefit from immersive audio techniques and if presented in this format, will ultimately allow the listener to better connect with the performance. “This is how we hear music live,” he says." - This raises two points:

    1. "Better connecting with the performance" is the very last thing we want in most cases! Who would want to connect with a performance of the drumkit one day, a performance of the guitar another day in a different acoustic space, a performance of the singer another day in another acoustic space, etc. And, even if the consumer did want that, the artists wouldn't allow them to have it. What the consumer wants, albeit maybe without realising that's what they want, is an artificial, highly processed illusion of all those performances occurring at the same time. So, just the fact he's talking about "the performance" means he's talking about purely acoustic music genres because that's the only time we actually have a performance.

    2. It's not clear exactly what he means here but just taking the statement at face value; that is very clearly NOT how we hear music live! What we perceive at a live performance is an experience which is a combination of what we hear, what we see and indeed all the senses, plus what we expect and are feeling. It's obviously impossible to recreate that "with recorded music", we're generally going to need a great deal more than just recorded music, we're also going to need at least recorded visuals as well. What we would need to achieve is for the consumers' brains to react to the recorded material the same way as their brains would react in the real life situation and achieving that is a moving goal post. For example, there was an early theatrical film which was nothing more than an unedited shot, lasting a couple of minutes, taken by a camera placed right next to a train track as a train was approaching and due to the camera position it looked like the train was coming straight at you. It was obviously in black and white, in 2D and there was no sound. Nevertheless, some early audiences ran screaming from the cinema, believing they were about to be hit by the oncoming train. Some people are more easily fooled by an illusion than others but I doubt anyone today would be fooled by that early example. The same is true of sound and at every step in the technology, even the very first step, there have been those who thought it sounded just like being there, initially quite a few but once the initial surprise/impact of the new technology wore off, then fewer and fewer. We also have to consider that immersive sound, binaural and ambisonics for example, are not new, they've been around for 40 years or so and yet have never caught on. With the current push towards VR we're likely to see more development and use of immersive sound but: 1. We're not talking about just recorded music/sound here, we're talking about new combined audio/visual media formats. 2. It would only work for certain types of music and certain types of storytelling. 3. The technology is improving but the tools are still fairly rudimentary and we're still a fair way from being able to totally convince everyone. 4. The music industry is going through a prolonged period of falling revenue, this economic backdrop dictates a trend towards music products which cost less to produce and therefore employs less skilled labour, lower cost equipment and facilities, allows less time to experiment and requires product completion in less time. All of which is of course counter productive to high quality, new format recordings.

    We're effectively going round in circles now, I've stated most of the above before and it's not making any difference because you have an unshakable belief in what you feel is most important, of what you think is possible/practical and, as with many strongly held beliefs of audiophiles, you're reinforcing that belief with advertising/marketing statements and the odd speculative experiment.

  14. jgazal
    We have now approximately 2000 page views in this thread, which is in the sound science forum of a headphone oriented enthusiasts site. That’s really an irrelevant number of viewers compared to the number of audiophiles, not to mention the whole universe of people consuming music. From such irrelevant number of viewers in this thread, very few will actually read my posts, because they are too long and analytical. Therefore, whatever misconception I may have written here, you can rest assured that it will not change the fate of musical industry or musical culture. And the first post has a disclaimer about potential misconceptions.

    So if you take your time to answer, is because you care.

    If you didn’t care, you would ignore me and let me simple write wrong things.

    I appreciate your consideration for this community and to a smaller extent for me. I say smaller extent because you write as I were committing a crime.

    So in retribution to your consideration, let me join your efforts to advocate your own point of view.

    You probably didn’t watched the making of because I edited my last post while you were writing. If you watch that video you will see that actually there wasn’t any coincident microphone.

    While the camera solves the optical parallax problem that @pinnahertz wisely exposed here, there will be still a cognitive ambiguity if only a coincident pair was used.

    That’s because you can rotate a sound field with Ambisonics as the listener rotates his/her head around its axis, but you cannot calculate the sound field the listener would hear as him/she moves his/her head to another x, y or z axis coordinates. That would be really annoying with the main vocalist.

    This ambiguity in sound field perspective could only be solved using objects and real time binaural synthesis or using an array of eigenmics:

    Or to a lesser extent:

    But there is also the possibility of opting for a traditional mixing because, as you say, it sounds better intrinsically better. I never mixed anything in stereo or Ambisonics or binaural synthesis, so let me strengthen that I trust you in this particular aspect. So readers of this thread be aware of potential future cognitive dissonance if you were building-up expectations reading my posts!

    Now that I contributed to your point of view, let me try to explain why stating the hypothesis of compatibility of musical mixing with 3 axis mixing (that you are strongly criticizing as to say what I quoted above and that I am driven by a myth) may not be harmful for the musical industry.

    So in the making of we see they are probably using spot microphones on main vocal and chorus (objects) and spaced microphones for ambience (bed).

    I would guess that their app mix those tracks on the fly using using binaural synthesis or DTS:X for headphones or Dolby Atmos for headphones, which is probably an Atmos or DTS objects and bed rendered in multichannel and the downmixed to binaural using a generic HRTF.

    Adjusting the binaural synthesis or the objects on the fly with the head tracking input will help with externalization. But there will be still a mismatch in HRTFs.

    How to use speakers instead of headphones?

    If they are using Atmos or DTS:X then you would only need an compatible receiver and speakers. How many playback environments are enabled to play multichannel? Very few. And to play Atmos or DTS? Fewer.

    If you have an Comhear yarra soundbar (beamforming phased array of transducers) or Theoretica Bacch4Mac (xtc) you can output the headphone binaural signal. But there will be still a mismatch in HRTFs. How many playback environments are enabled to play multichannel? Fewer than fewer.

    Actually, how many listeners really care about plain vanilla regular stereo? As I see it, most listeners use lifestyle Bluetooth speakers, headphones without PRIR externalization or legacy stereo equipment. They don’t want the hassle to set up multichannel environments. Of course there are dissident voices:

    That’s why beamforming phased array of transducers, that are easier than stereo to adopt, might be disruptive, as Peter Otto says in one of the videos linked in the first post of this thread. But it lacks HRTF personalization (but you are able to alter some parameters) and head tracking.

    So, as @castleofargh (he has a brilliant synthetic language while I am tediously analytical and the more you write the more you err...), summed up:

    So again I have to agree with you that the technology is not fully mature. But Genelec is releasing In 2018 a software to capture biometrics from portraits and searching HRTF databases for a close enough match. Sony was sponsoring Professor Choueiri 3D3A labs so I would expect something on that front also. All this is mentioned in the first post of this thread.

    And since I don’t know if you already mixed in Ambisonics or binaural synthesis (3 axis mixing), and played back in such environments (beamforming phased array transducers, Bacch xtc with two transducers or a crossfeed free PRIR), in my last post I just wanted to show any experiments in this regard to check if they really fail or, for still unknown techniques, they turn out well.

    So even if, remotely, I am not completely driven by a myth, you don’t have to worry about the way music is currently mixed.

    If mixing in 3 axis never reaches HT and audio environments and remains restricted to VR environments, you are okay and I own you and the head-fi community apologies. If it reaches the former environments and people want to consume it, you can probably use your stems and remaster for immersive environments, meaning stereo with real ILD and ITD or binaural synthesis or codecs relying in spherical integrals (you could use a “remastered for immersive sound” logo :)).

    Anyway, thank you very much for sharing all your knowledge. I could have not learned without your counter arguments.
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2018
  15. castleofargh Contributor
    the ability to fool our brain is pretty much there IMO. we can think we're getting something "real" under the right circumstances with the right gear and material. visual cues would certainly help a lot. how real and identical to some original we'll get, that's a different can of worms.
    the will to produce things that way is also a different matter, and just like with binaural, in the end only a small percentage of people are interested in trying to make a fac simile of the original. I know the audiophile world is always full of "the sound like we're with the artist", but most sound engineers I've talked to or seen interviews of, have a clear tendency to try and make a nice sound instead of a replica of the original.
    it would certainly be very limiting if the position and ways to record were forced for a simulation. and same thing for mixing and mastering, those would be gone in favor of some fancy software doing its thing alone.

    I mean we're satisfied with stereo panning being a gain setting per channel for most of the sounds ever released. it's clear that at least those productions aren't ready for any sort of realistic 3D. no matter how lax we can be on what we call "real".
    I'm almost as enthusiastic as you are, thinking about what we could do. we all here share at the very least that idea that hifi warriors should focus more on those areas instead of some silly jitter at -125dB. I have less of a desire to replicate real events because I think they're usually not that great. what makes a live event special is often not the sound quality in my experience.
    but one thing is sure, if we get tools, someone will use them! I don't think music has much to gain from full 3D, if only because we do expect musicians to have their feet on the ground most of the time, so there is that. but it doesn't mean some genres can't develop out of it or that we can't improve on the fidelity of what we already have(might require room treatment though).
    and I'm confident PDD or whatever his new name is, would have loved some more advanced technics knowing the listeners would also have different playback systems, to do stuff like that

    that song made me open my door to the wind so many times when I first got the album. I lived in a house which happened to have the door located where they knock in the song ^_^. real, nope. but fooled, oh yes!
    jgazal likes this.
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