In August, Ralf Zuleeg and John Taylor from d&b, in cooperation with the Sydney Opera House and Australian Distributor, National Audio Systems, conducted a two day workshop on spatialisation.
“The intimate connection between audience and performers has always been at the heart of the opera house experience,” says Taylor, “but to evoke such intimacy for sound reinforcement performances has always been limited by the available technology.”
Sometimes referred to as ‘holophony’ or 3D sound, sound spatialisation expands on the idea that loudspeakers are not simply reproducers of sound. In the workshop the team presented how each box can operate as a building block in a sound field; constructing soundscapes, simulating acoustic environments and generating virtual sound sources.
“In short, modern PAs disable our natural ability to mix in our heads,” explains Taylor. “The source-oriented approach, as we are proposing, counters that disability. That can and should be an important part of the live music experience; allowing listeners that same discretion to mix at will, even in a sound reinforcement environment. The idea is to start a discussion about what is possible and where the benefits could be. In the end we all want to make the loudspeakers disappear and just hear the music. These demonstrations were an important starting point.”
Day one began with Taylor discussing the art of perception, how we hear music, and what a conventional sound system does to that perception. This was then demonstrated by a string quartet performance, by recording and playing back through different types of sound system configuration, from mono, stereo and ‘wall of sound’ to spatial sound. The next day the concept of spatialisation and spatial sound systems was explained in detail by Ralf Zuleeg and demonstrated with a five-piece band, including a sound check explaining the required workflow.