Oslo, Norway (March 24, 2021)—Nomono, a spatial audio research firm focused on processing spoken word content in podcasts, broadcast and VR/360 video productions, has brought on Peter Cedmer as its vice president of Product Management.
Prior to joining Nomono, Peter served in similar roles at Dirac, and as both chief product officer and chief technology officer at Jays Headphones. He brings experience in the field of connecting signal processing technologies to audio products, with the focus on providing quality sound to end-users.
“To have someone with Peter’s experience join our team at this time is just what we need to help take our research, and build it into compelling tools that will help podcasters, journalists, and other audio content creators tell their stories, while simplifying their workflows,” said chief executive officer, Jonas Rinde, Nomono. “Many years of research and development have led us to this point, and the whole team is energized to start incorporating our findings into the next generation of audio creation tools.”
“This is an exciting time for spatial audio. We’ve seen major manufacturers make noteworthy progress in bringing immersive, interactive audio playback capabilities right into the mobile devices and headphones we use every day,” said Cedmer. “Our mission is to make it easy for audio storytellers to capture and distribute great sounding object-based audio content, while at the same time minimizing bottlenecks on the content creation side.”
For the pro-audio world, March marks the one-year anniversary of everything getting turned upside down by COVID-19. Since then, we’ve all been on a rollercoaster of times alternately hard and hopeful, but things are tentatively starting to look up. With the U.S. now vaccinating more than 1.5 million people a day and Dr. Fauci predicting all Americans could be eligible for vaccination as soon as April, “normal” isn’t around the corner, but it is finally on the horizon.
That means it’s time to roll up our sleeves—not only to get a shot, but to start preparing. “Normal” doesn’t happen with the flick of a switch; you won’t wake up one day and start mixing for a packed house again or find your studio booked solid just because the pandemic has subsided. It could happen—but only if we work for it, laying out the foundations for that kind of success, brick by brick, in the months leading up to it.
A big part of getting ready will figuring out how to incorporate all the radical pro-audio changes and advances we made over the last year. Frankly, that topic is so big that you can’t get all the insight you need from just Pro Sound News—which is why PSN has joined forces with Mix and Radio Worldto create the Pro Audio & Radio Tech Summit, an online expo taking place on Thursday, April 1 (no, this is not an April Fool’s joke).
The free one-day event will feature an exhibition floor, panel presentations, chat rooms and a host of media presentations showcasing the latest technologies and trends in pro audio and radio. Pro Audio & Radio Tech Summit will feature two individual program tracks within a single exhibition hall—in each program track, industry experts will explore how manufacturers and users are making use of both current and emerging technologies in order to keep the media coming.
The Pro Audio Track will feature sessions on remote production, the multipurpose House of Worship studio, the rise of immersive music, audio networking technologies, podcasting and Improved Audio for Education. Through expert panel presentations, sponsor demos and attendee networking, Pro Sound News and Mix will bring manufacturers, engineers, producers, musicians, educators and industry experts together to look at the state of music production as we come out of the most disruptive year in memory.
The Radio Track will feature sessions on hybrid radio, AoIP, virtualization, streaming, business continuity and trends in transmission. These topics will be of interest to any radio broadcast manager or engineer who manages technology or uses it to advance their careers and business missions.
One of the best things about a virtual event is that the doors don’t close at the end of the day; all of the content—and exhibit booths—will be accessible on-demand to attendees for a month after the event, so if you can’t make April 1 (or more likely, if there’s just too much good stuff to absorb in one sitting), you dig into the offerings at times that work best for you. Head over to www.proaudioradiotechsummit.com to sign up for free, and I hope you’ll join me and the rest of the team from Mix and Radio Worldon April 1.
Salzburg, Austria (November 10, 2020)–The OVAL is a 227-seat cultural showcase set inside Salzburg, Austria’s EuroPark shopping mall. While it’s long offered a mix of music, drama, cabaret, cinema and more, in July, it upped the ante by adding a L-ISA Immersive Hyperreal Sound technology from L-Acoustics.
Right from the start, the room’s architecture, which features a steep atrium grandstand and a 13-meter-wide stage that is only 15 meters from the control room, posed challenges to conventional L-C-R sound reinforcement systems. “Thanks to L-ISA, not only was the conventional technology replaced, but a completely new, immersive listening experience was created at every seat,” explains Rupert Pichler, managing director of Pansound and project manager for the L-ISA conversion in the OVAL.
The sound design by Martin Rode, head of Application Install D-A-CH, comprises a Scene system with five arrays of three A10 Wide, evenly hung above the stage and across its entire width, along with two sets of three KS21 subwoofers each, flown horizontally behind the Scene system and configured in an end-fire cardioid array. A total of five 5XT placed in front of the stage serve as frontfill, while three coaxial X8 per side are placed along the walls, with a further two X8 on the rear wall, and five ceiling-mounted 5XT create surround and overhead sound. The entire system is driven by LA4X amplified controllers.
Signal Sound & Light Distribution, L-Acoustics Certified Provider Distributor for Austria, provided the OVAL system.
China (November 3, 2020)—Video game publisher Shenzhen Leiting Digital Entertainment Company in China recently commissioned a 5.1.4 game audio studio. “For a games company like ours, an audio studio is a must,” commented composer and game sound designer Knuckles (Jianyu) Zhang, who led the studio project. “Our requirements are quite special, though. What we want is not just a recording studio, nor a standard mixing studio or a reviewing studio. To be precise, what we want is a ‘game sound lab’ to assist us in the conceptual design of games.”
Originally conceived as a surround sound studio, the space was developed with acoustic design and construction handled by Qiao Zhenyu of Huanyu Acoustics, who persuaded Knuckles to go fully immersive. “I knew that many games had already used the 5.1 format to produce sound. But Qiao suggested that since it was already 5.1, why not make it 5.1.4 by adding the four height channels? I realized then that immersive audio technology is no longer a new thing, and we as creators surely have to learn to master this format.”
Now completed, the facility is based around Genelec Smart Active Monitors, with 8330A nearfield two-way monitors and a 7370A subwoofer, plus 1234As. The studio engaged the system integrator DMT to install a pair of 1234As as its main stereo monitoring system, with a 5.1.4 immersive system comprising 11 8330A nearfield two-way monitors in all positions, complemented by the 7370A subwoofer. All the monitors were supplied in a polar white finish. The entire system was configured and calibrated by DMT using GLM loudspeaker manager software.
Knuckles is convinced that immersive audio is the format of the future for games developers. “In recent years, the domestic games industry has attached greater importance to the sound experience. As we look to the international market, we’re finding that more and more games with big-budget production are using immersive audio to create the sound experience—because sometimes we just want to step into another world and forget about real life—or even ourselves—for a while.”
Anaheim, CA (September 30, 2020)—Extron has unveiled its new SSP 200 Surround Sound Processor designed for pro AV applications in corporate and commercial environments. The new processor automatically decodes Dolby and DTS formats from HDMI sources to discreet audio outputs.
The unit offers up to 10 built-in outputs, plus additional outputs via an EXP port, includes support for the latest immersive formats of Dolby Atmos and DTS:X; and sports an upmix function that synthesizes multichannel audio from stereo content.
Featuring an HDMI input with loop through and EXP expansion port connection to DMP Series audio DSP processors, the SSP 200 is designed for integration into pro A/V installations. The SSP 200 is housed in a 1U, half rack width enclosure that is rack‑mountable and is said to require less space than a typical consumer surround processor or AV receiver. It can be controlled and configured using RS‑232 serial control or via a network connection.
“The SSP 200 addresses the increasing demand to provide immersive audio systems in boardrooms and auditoriums”, says Casey Hall, vice president of Sales and Marketing at Extron. “It offers a host of integrator-friendly features not found on other surround sound processors, all provided in a compact half-rack package that makes the SSP 200 the AV professional’s clear choice over bulky consumer receivers.”
Knowsley, UK (August 5, 2020)—Henrik Oppermann, creative director at immersive content specialist Sonosphere, has been building up the company’s immersive sound library by collecting everyday nature sounds in his native Hessen, Germany, using his new 3-D microphone rig.
“Being in lockdown in the countryside offered me a great opportunity to start capturing natural sounds and extremely fragile soundscapes,” he says. “The rig I’m using is very low noise, which works perfectly for capturing detailed ambiences; something like a forest in the early morning or at night oozes with a multitude of sounds.”
Oppermann’s rig consists of four Sennheiser MKH 800 Twin studio condenser microphones connected to a Sound Devices 888 portable mixer-recorder. Windshields, another important element of the rig, are Baby Ball Gag Windshield by Rycote.
“This type of set up works incredibly well for recording delicate ambiences without introducing any additional noise disruptions,” Oppermann explains. “I call it the quietest rig on Earth.”
The microphone arrangement is loosely based on the ESMA (Equal Segment Microphone Array) technique developed by Hyunkook Lee. This, together with the Sennheiser’s AMBEO cube, a larger set-up consisting of nine MKH 800 microphones, were the inspiration behind Oppermann’s rig.
“The externalization effect and depth when you render to binaural or multi-channel speaker systems is just beautiful and has a particularly wide soundstage. The detail you can capture is stunning and that’s what is so special about this rig — the purity of the sound is unprecedented,” says Oppermann.
This unusual microphone set up comes with a higher price tag than a standard rig, but the quality of recordings speaks for itself, according to Oppermann. “It took me a while to realize what you can do with it and how to post-produce immersive recordings. You need quite a bit of knowledge about 3-D sound in general and how it functions. But once you have done your post work, what comes out the other end is awe inspiring.”
Oppermann offers a final word of advice on how to capture nature’s wondrous sounds and translate them into real-life immersive listening experiences. “Do as much research as possible and try to get your hands on an Ambisonic microphone, or any kind of microphone rig that you can build yourself. It’s always a good idea to experiment as much as possible with different recording techniques so you are fully immersed in this world and are familiar with spatial sound. The rest will follow.”
New York, NY (June 22, 2020)—With COVID-19 forcing many professional sports teams to play with no spectators, much has been suggested about providing viewers at home with faux crowd noises to supplement the game. Little, however, has been said about providing a similar consideration for the actual players, aiming to rack up points within a cold, empty stadium…until now. Playing without the motivational force that is an alternately jubilant crowd or seething mob, athletes may not be as engaged in their performance on the field, and thus TiMax Crowdscape has been invented, says the company, to provide athletes with “a live and interactive sonic cocoon of sound that immerses the players in realistic and responsive spectator reactions to the game.”
The Crowdscape system includes on-board playback, spatialization, mixing and system zone management as it utilizes a multichannel “bowl” sound system mounted in the bleachers, pointing in towards the playing area. One or more operators use iPads to trigger and variably spatialize selected crowd atmosphere loops as well as cheering, applause and booing spot effects, plus whatever other tailored content is relevant to the game and teams. Samples are spatially mixed to anywhere in the arena or stadium using individual iPad 3D panners, faders and triggers, and can be merged selectively into the existing house system for added immersion.
Crowdscape operators can also spatially mix external crowd effect stems from broadcasters or Viewer Response systems and place them in the appropriate segments of the arena or stadium. Downmixed stereo, 5.1 and mono crowd content feeds can also be simultaneously generated live in Crowdscape and returned to the truck for broadcast or streaming.
TiMax Crowdscape is currently being tested in Canada in an NHL hockey arena format, using a 10.4 multichannel bowl system with also includes spatially distributed sub-bass. Fully-scaleable Crowdscape is also offered, in conjunction with regional PA rental houses, in larger 12.6 configurations and beyond for football and baseball stadiums.