Audio News

Audio News for July 6, 2012

Dolby Atmos = The Next Step in Theatrical Surround; Samsung/Microsoft Computer is More Than Touchscreen; Sound Mixing Rules

Published on July 6, 2012

Dolby Atmos = The Next Step in Theatrical Surround – Dolby Labs has taken their great track record for theatrical surround technology to a new level by increasing the number of configurable channels to 64 [NOT a typo]. Actually, Atmos uses a pan-thru array which allows panning of any sound thru all the speakers in the theater, and these speakers now include various additional speakers on the ceiling and behind the screen – depending on the size of the theater. In other words, each speaker is given individual attention. Mixers now have more control over the sound and sound effects in a film. It also simplifies delivery, because Atmos is backwards-compatible with legacy Dolby formats. No longer will content creators have to mix multiple soundtracks for different venues. So far only a dozen theaters in the U.S. are set up for Atmos, but that will expand quickly. The latest Pixar animation feature, Brave, uses Atmos. Their slogan is “Hear the Whole Picture.”

Samsung/Microsoft Computer is More Than Touchscreen – Samsung and Microsoft have released a 40-inch LCD panel that has four legs like a small table and can recognize 50 points of contact from  multiple people at the same time. Users can grab information with their hands. Each individual pixel has a camera element that enables users to grab digital information with their hands and interact with content thru touch. PixelSense technology accurately identifies input from multiple people simultaneously.  A Corning Gorilla Glass coating protects the surface from shock and liquid damage, allowing it to be used horizontally as a table or embedded into other furniture. It runs Windows 7 and can connect to a variety of peripherals. It’s so far available in Australia at about $13,000.

Sound Mixing Rules – Audio expert Frederick J. Ampel addressed a conference on mixing of live concerts. He said: “Any sound reproduction attempt should be focused on producing a convincing and realistic presentation of what is happening ‘on stage”…This means recognizing some essential rules that more often seem to be forgotten if not ignored in current practices:” (Among them:)
“Rule No. 1 – Not everything in a mix needs to be heard all the time. Music is a dynamic entity and it flows – instruments move in and out of focus. Trying to make everything audible leads to mush.
Rule No. 2 – Unless you’re Phil Spector, a wall of sound is a bad idea. Music needs space around both the total program and each individual part. Think in 3D, not 2D.
Rule No. 3 – If it’s too loud, it’s too loud. Proving you can reach the physical performance limits of the sound system proves nothing except you have the wrong focus. Loudness is no substitute for quality of aesthetics, and is not a requirement. Just because a few band members are deaf does not mean you have to add the entire audience to the rolls of the hearing-impaired. Besides, as level goes up the ability to discriminate among the various parts of any performance goes down.”  [Thanks to the Boston Audio Society Speaker for quotes.]




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