Welcome to the Spatialization Guide by the HOLOPHONIX team at Amadeus. You will find here a good starting point to understand sound spatialization, and learn more on how to use sound spatialization.
Frontal Sound Spatialization
Sound reinforcement systems can be composed of two key parts: frontal loudspeakers, for the sounds coming from the stage, and surround speakers, for immersive purposes. This section focuses only on the frontal system.
A traditional "frontal" stereo system would be composed of "main" left and right loudspeakers, sometimes with an additional central loudspeaker. With those systems, the "panning" of sounds from left to right is done in the mixer.
On the opposite, spatial reinforcement systems rely on multiple loudspeakers spread across the width of the stage, for frontal reinforcement. The spatialization of sounds is performed by an external audio processor (such as HOLOPHONIX) that uses complex algorithms, and is controlled with a user interface that allows setting precise localization for sounds.
Spatial sound reinforcement offers several advantages, depending on the algorithm used. This paper focuses on the benefits of "Wave Field Synthesis" over stereo in live performances.
Sound spatialization allows a high audiovisual correlation. With traditional sound reinforcement systems, there is no possibility to give a precise localization to sounds unless the listeners are at the center of the venue. Therefore, the audience will perceive the sound of the performer in the direction of the loudspeaker, with a huge parallax effect. Spatialization algorithms such as Wave Field Synthesis allow any audience member to perceive the sound coming from the right direction: the performer’s localization. Listeners are less distracted, less tired at the end of the show, and more focused on the content of the show.
Such a system unleashes many creation possibilities, allowing giving to your shows a much more realistic, tangible, and immersive experience.
The main loudspeakers spread above the stage allow for a precise, realistic localization of sounds, while the external loudspeakers at the end of the main array extend the sonic scene. Such a wide positioning area enables to play with offstage sounds, and to add a higher immersive sensation and realistic feel to reverberation, even without surround loudspeakers.
Finally, the use of surround speakers at the sides, rear, and ceiling of the venues open up possibilities to create a true three-dimensional immersive environment, for a seamless extension of the sonic scene in real 3D.
Enhanced Audio Experience
Thanks to the core characteristics of their algorithms, spatialization systems offer a better sound to a dramatically wider audience area than stereo systems:
- They significantly reduce the frequency masking effect that occurs in stereo and mono mixes, when summing audio signal sharing spectral characteristics, in the same audio channels. Therefore, spatialization reduces the need of tools that could alter sound, such as equalization or compression;
- Almost all the audience is able to perceive the right sound localization, where with stereo systems, only the center seats were covered.