Friday, September 22, 2023
In this Podcast, Walt Zerbe, Sr. Director of Technology & Standards at CEDIA talks with Poul Holleman of 4D Sound and Peter Aylett of Officina Acustica about what 4D sound is. Peter attended a live electronic music event where Max Cooper was performing live through 4D sound system which brought prompted a discussion with Poul at 4D Sound.
I am CEDIA,
I am CEDIA, I am CEDIA, this is the CEDIA CEDIA. Podcast, the oldest form of communication with humans is storytelling, you know, people sitting down around the campfire, telling stories of their hunter gatherer triumphs of the day. And it, it kind of it kind of had that amazing community feeling everyone was sitting down, sitting around this speaker, and the electronic music artists were what we're telling a story through through sound. But the sound was was incredible injustice level of immersiveness. And the thing I found really striking, and it didn't really matter which way you faced, the mix made sense. So unlike a conventional gig where you face forward, you listen to the music, it makes sense when you're facing the stage. It really, it really didn't matter.
Walt Zerbe 0:55
Hello, and welcome to another CEDIA, a podcast. I'm Walt Zerbe, Senior Director of Technology and Standards and your host for the CEDIA, a podcast. And today, we're going to talk about something completely different. You've heard us talk a lot about audio and experiences, and immersive audio. But I bet you've never heard of anything called four D sound. And that's what we're going to be talking about today. And I learned about four D sound from Mr. Peter a lead, who is one of the participants on this cast today. As you all know, you've heard of Peter before, he is one of the principals that offered gene Acoustica. I know he loves it when I say it, just like that, or especially Maritza does. It was the other half of that company. And he introduced me to Paul Holloman. And Powell is one of the co founders and one of the directors of for D sound. So, Paul, I want to welcome you to the podcast, if you wouldn't mind. Before we get into some of the other discussions just give us a little background on you. And a little background on four D sound. Before we get into like, what it is I just kind of want to get a little little background on it.
Peter Aylett 2:16
Yeah, sure. Well, first of all, thanks for inviting me, I'm happy to be here. My personal background is that I got interested in music as a teenager, mostly, let's say in rock and roll. And then I decided to study music and technology and Utrecht University of the Arts. And where I first first thought that I would record bands and stuff like that I got interested in a program called Max MSP, which allowed me to quote my own music, tech, technological applications. And soon enough, I got interested, let's say a combination of an engineer, software developer and composer to create my own environments for electronic music and electronic music composition. And I got super interested in using like multi speaker setups, because in Max MSP, it's suddenly very easy to have multiple outputs. And when you have access to more speakers, that was very interesting to me. And this led to various projects and where I met like minded people who then in 2008, founded for the sound as a project and later also as a company, which is from the early on, like a collective of music technologists and composers, where we really think like on the, from the base on about the creative aspects and the technological aspects of what it means to work with spatial sounds. And this, yeah, lets us into establishing a company building the first system, which is now the first of many, and a continuously growing network of artists, engineers and composers, many different people with many different backgrounds working with our technology.
Walt Zerbe 4:13
Okay, so now we're gonna move to Peter. Peter, I was very jealous when you contacted me and said, you know, cuz he, we all love the experiential stuff. And if any of us experience something, that's amazing, we tell each other and Peter, you contacted me and you said you had the most wild experience, going to listen to some music. So I'd like you to explain what that experience was and why it was different.
Paul Holleman 4:42
Well, you know, the first thing to say is that the reason I'm in this business is not because of technology. It is because of music. As a kid growing up, I was really, really, really privileged to grow up in a family that was just full of music. When I was a kid rather than get a babysitter my parents used to take me to the Fed. Festival Hall to the Albert Hall to the Wigmore Hall. And their instruction to me was, look, we're going to a concert if you just want to fall asleep, fall asleep, if you want to listen, listen, and you know what, I never fell asleep. So I had an upbringing, just just full of classical music, and that that gave me a love of music. And then I needed something to play it on. So I got myself a Hi Fi system as a teenager, and the rest is kind of history. So to me, to me, it's all you know, the technology is, is always a means to an end. It's not it's not the thing itself. It is it is art. And I've been a fan for quite a few years now of an electronic music artist amongst many. Our next week on Tuesday, I'm going to a prom concert in London proms known for classical music, but I'm going to see another one of my favorite electronic music artists, which is John Hopkins, which should should be absolutely magnificent. But anyway, another one of my favorite artists is a gentleman called Max Cooper. His his history is he's he's a scientist, I think he's got a PhD in computational biology, from from memory so smarter than I've ever been retail. And he's he's he's one of the founders of a really interesting network called mesh. And if you want to explore mesh, go to Mesh mesh mesh.net. That's not a stutter. They really were three meshes mesh mesh, mesh.net. And mesh describes itself and I'm reading off the website now exploring the intersection between music, art, and science. And mesh had an event back in May 13 of May, which was called MeSH live at a fantastic space in London called stone nest. That's an old church. So lots of hard surfaces, big soaring ceilings balcony, really, really cool space to experience performance asset. And the the event was the beginning of the afternoon was musicians, research scientists, engineers, like Paul, all coming together to just to just talk about what they're doing in in the space of immersive audio. There were there was there were a couple of neuroscientists there and I just found it fascinating. All of this very, very deep. And it was exactly that it was it was the intersection between music, art and science. And that was fascinating. So when there was my son, we had a great afternoon, then they cleared the space to get it ready for a concert, which was all electronic music. Couple of artists. But I want to talk about Max Cooper. Max Cooper is known for very, very immersive live gigs went to see him about a year ago at the Roundhouse in Camden. And at the Roundhouse, the audio was fairly standard, but the video was incredible. There was a mesh screen between him and the audience that was being projected on there was projection going on behind him. So that that sort of 3d depth with this huge projection mess in front of me it you know, it was it was an incredibly immersive gig and stone NAS at mesh live. There weren't there weren't any video, it was just a very, very, very dark church. But it was it was a gig like I've never been to. Firstly, every you know, it was electronic music and you could dance to it. But everyone started sitting down. And I'm not I'm not going to spoil the technical thing. I think Paul needs to describe what four D sound is. But I'll I'll spoil it slightly by saying right in the middle of what you'd consider the dance floor, there was a speaker. And we were all sitting around the speaker, though a couple of 100 people there probably, you know, I shuffled my way in early and got a got a front row seats rounds. And it was kind of it was kind of evocative like a campfire. And you know, the old the oldest form of communication with humans is storytelling. You know, people sitting down around the campfire, telling stories of their hunter gatherer a triumphs of the day. And it, it kind of it kind of had that amazing community feeling everyone was sitting down, sitting around this speaker, and the electronic music artists were telling a story through through sound, but the sound was was incredible in Injustice level of immersiveness. And the thing I found really striking and it didn't really matter which way you faced the mix made sense. So unlike a conventional gig where you face forward, you listen to the music. It makes sense when you're facing the stage. It really it really didn't matter. And it was it was being it was music created for and being mixed specifically for this, this very sophisticated spatially sound system. And about halfway through a few a few people stood up, I was one of the first and we actually did you know, stop start to have a boogie because you you can't sit still with me that kind of music so it transition you know, it wasn't a wild club with everyone in the mosh pit. But you know, it ended up being over everyone don't sing along. But I've I've rarely experienced such an immersive sound environment. And it's the kind of gig I could have been blindfolded the whole way through, and it wouldn't have made the slightest bit of difference. And as someone who's grown up with sound, who's whose job is the reproduction of sound, I contacted Walt because I know Walt is also really, really passionate about sound and all its forms to say, Hey, we've we've got to talk about this. And I'm interested to see where today's discussion goes, because this is a podcast for the residential integration channel. And this isn't necessarily going to be an easy thing to integrate into many people's homes. However, I reckon if you've got a client, and they want something completely different, the you know what I really want to get across and I know I've been very long winded saying it is that within our industry, when we talk about immersive audio, people go, Oh, do you mean Dolby Atmos then? Well, actually no. Dolby Atmos is is one of many, many formats. And in our world, we've also got Auro, 3d. And there's lots of music been been recorded with the correct microphone, and then encoded and Auro 3d, those DTS and in the pros space. Now if you go into the live, so I'm talking big stadium type gigs, you've got DNB, huge German speaker manufacturer, they got a system called soundscape. You've got l acoustics who have got a system called Elissa, you've got Mayer sound who got a system called constellation that's, you know, traditionally been about kind of acoustics augmentation. But now you know, they're getting into using these arrays and steering objects around, you've got ISO know you've got a whole load of companies that are appreciating that the next dimension in music, it's not necessarily about the notes. It's not you know about the instruments. It's it's spatial, spatial, is absolutely the next frontier in music. I think you've probably heard enough from me. So back to you guys.
Walt Zerbe 12:44
Well, I'm just gonna say sold because I'm, I just I love this new frontier. So Paul, I'm going to ask you, so what's different? What what, now's the time to start to talk about 40 sound and what your whole system is, we could also get into if you wanted to, I mean, I do like a, we need to know what it is B, we could talk about potential residential applications. Let's see, we could also get into a little bit of the neuroscience, if you want it as well, I'll
Paul Holleman 13:15
just bust in and say one thing and the other. The other thing that really, really, really got me thinking on the day. And this is kind of, you know, not how we work as an industry. But every single one of those speakers in that space was omnidirectional. And that and that was, oh, this is this is really, really, really interesting. But yeah, I just wanted to quickly mention that. Sorry, the button.
Peter Aylett 13:39
Yeah. All right. That's almost true, what you're saying there, but I will get into the technical details later, what is different? Many things but where I would like to start is that 4d sound is created. By and with musicians, we see it as an instrument. And like as Peter is saying that technology is a means to an end that like from the very start for the sound has been designed like that. That does not mean that we are not audio and bro enthusiasts and gear and we like that. But in the end, it's about the result about the experience. And I hope you get what I'm saying is that we also we like I very much prefer to talk about Spatial Sound, not spatial audio, I think it's two different things. I think spatial audio is more as the connotation of the equipment and the DSP and a digital signal processing and all the technology and I don't know system architecture that's behind a system. And sound means what's actually the sound in a space it's you know, it's the waves. It's how air is moving and how it's it's ending up in your ears. So The word audio implies, like a technological focus, like, wow, look at all the speakers. We, for us, it's Whoa, what did I just experience? And it might
Walt Zerbe 15:11
find all these molecules.
Peter Aylett 15:14
Exactly what did all these molecules do to me? And how is this this artist sending them to me? Like, the second thing is that which is important, and very much relating to this is that sound is anyway spatial, perhaps not right now through our headphones, because it's really inside our head, arguably, but like in the outside world, sound is always spatial. So yes, Spatial Sound spatial audio is the next frontier. And we are writing and have been co creating that wave, I think also with with with 40 cents, but it's not a next super special effects that will create all and, like a lot of impact. It can, it definitely can. And also how Max Cooper used it in his music, like he's definitely doing some very rigorous things. But then the end or at the core, it's about being able to control and create music with how sounds, more or less actually behaves in the real world. And if you would ask a storyteller, maybe in ancient times when speaker technology is anyway, not invented yet, and you would ask a storyteller? Like how would you create a narrative with using sounds, and just imagine what the sounds would do, you know, they can move around, they can be just like, you know it, but how would you, if you would have ultimate creativity, then he will not think of spatial sounds but sound as he or she knows it. And that's what we are trying to do. And this also means that, you know, the way we developed, the technology starts at a naturalistic way of reproducing sounds, or generating sounds even. But then as soon as the technology emerges, I would almost say emerges in front of us, because we are creating it from from this point of view, you can accelerate certain parameters. And then like, from very real and naturalistic, you can also go to very surreal to even absurd and completely out of this world. And then it's like, oh, wait, but this is you can do creative stuff, and crazy things with this. And another thing that I think also makes it different is that while exploring this brute, we have always been collaborating with artists always. So actually, Max Cooper has been a longtime friend of 40 songs, he was one of the first artists and residents back in 2013, to do a show. And I can very well remember him working in the studio and his enthusiasm and diligence and is almost completely insane. Attention to detail learned us really a lot like what like his kind of artist wants to do when he gets offered such systems such an instrument. And we've worked with many different kinds of artists who will look like from a different angle to the same matter or have a different view or different expectations off of it. And collaborating with all these artists, in projects on site or at residencies in Studios has always influenced how we design our technology. So it's a creative technology at the core. That's about sound. And yes, we call it Spatial Sound to make it a bit more clear what it means technologically, but in the end, it's it's about sound and also sound in the real world. And then I'm talking about the more natural environments like environmental science doesn't have a focus, there's no stage per se, you know, it's all around to you. Max, was also very happy to just sit at the desk at the side of the space at Stone nest. And sometimes the fans would look at it like, oh, wow, there's Max Cooper, but then they will soon, you know, reoriented themselves to almost as Peter described like a ritualistic happening around to center speaker. And I think, in the end for both the artists, me as an engineer and the listeners, it's an intuitive way of interacting with sound and, and the within an environment.
Walt Zerbe 19:49
Okay, so I do want to get into the system a little bit into like, of course, you know, with Atmos, I'll just use that as an example. There are channels and there are some beakers and there are typical things that you employ. Before we get into that I had kind of a higher level question. Like, I'll use Max as the example. How does he practice? Create or mix in 40? Sound? In other words, how was the 40? instrument played? When Max did that concert? Was he doing it live right there interacting with the sound system in the space? And I don't think he was probably in the center where everybody was enjoying it. So he's a little, probably off kilter. What's that sound like for Mac? So how does? How was creation of the music done? Is it is it always live? And they just feel it and do it? Or how I mean, sounds like a involved setup, as Peter was saying before, to have in your small room, right? To bear What was the last thing create? Like, well, I'm sitting at a desk with a pair of near fields. So if I was going to create music, that's how I create it right now. But I wouldn't you know, what, I potentially have a little 4d setup in my room if I was going to create music and in 4d, can you explain a little bit about
Peter Aylett 21:11
that? Yep. So when you work with with 40 sounds, you thinks in terms well of space, you can position sounds in space statically, you can move them around, we have tools to easily create trajectories that for the behavior of that sound. And so the first thing is to forget about the speakers. Because the one for the sound system maybe has eight speakers, that would be a small one, the other 40 sound system would have over 100 speakers, that would be a very large one. And then at Stone nest in the old wells chapel, we had 32, omnidirectional speakers. Plus, for actual directional speakers, it was what we call a hybrid system and some sub woofers. And because Max, he knows how to work in space anyway, because that's one of the things that he does in his work in general. And also he has quite some experience with 40 songs over the years. So then how what it looks like is that he arrives a few days prior to the two in this case, the church don't nest. And he brings old a new material in an Ableton Live Set for the sounds is like our sound engine is a standalone application. But common way to control it is through max for life devices. There are different ways, but the common way to do it, because obviously many artists work with Ableton, just like Max. And then he brings stems of tracks. And he brings ideas on how to spatialize different tracks. And some could be may be very static, you know, he could want to build an architecture like Office music, where every wall has a different sound, and maybe the ceiling is going up and down. That's like a spatial idea that you can have. Other things could be way more organic, which, like resemble a flock of birds, which are just flying around in the space, but also leave the space and then come back. And then what happens is that Max's is trying out stuff in the space and also feeling the space, including its acoustics, because inevitably there have to be acoustics involved. And then he starts trying out things. And this results in an Ableton Live sets that in his particular case, I don't know exactly, but let's say is for 50%, it's, it's, it's an automation and the way that he like produced pre produces his tracks. And then there are a lot of life elements and some of the life so he's sitting there with a MIDI controller, and maybe one or two synthesizers, and he is, of course in this space. So he's in the same listening space as the audience, although sitting on the side, but definitely in the same space. So he does not have his own monitors or anything. It's really a shared Yeah, listening space, he sees the 40 sounds monitor, which is a visualizer of the behaviors of the sounds, you know, you can see the walls cool, so you can keep going up and down. You can see the swarm with different what we call sound particles moving through the space. And then what he does life is on his MIDI controller, like on the one hand conventionally controlling the synthesizers that he has, and would be controlling in the same way with different gigs. But then next to it, you can assign his MIDI controller or an iPad interface that we also have two parameters of the 4d sound system which is for instance speed, so life he can react to the audience also, I think, Okay, now this ceiling must come down. I wait a little bit, okay, now it comes down. If the flock is off like otherworldly electronic sounds, this flock of birds is like flying around sounding very electronic, we have an effect called spatial delay, which is like a complex feedback delay system, which reacts to the spatial properties of that flock, you know, so the faster one of the sound particle moves, affects the delay time, for instance, that will be similar to Doppler, and there's also other spatial properties. And then he can, and then he can manipulate those parameters life, the speed of the flock, the amount of elements the flock consists of, of course, also the audio that feeds into it. So he's controlling his own music, he brings stems, he has a live element and then for the sounds, Live Control is a huge part of it. Peter,
Paul Holleman 26:00
it's a it's a question and that is Do you Do you consider for the sound to be an instrument in itself? Or do you consider it to be an another dimension? With which existing sounds can then be spatialized?
Paul Holleman 26:19
I don't think the one excludes the other does it?
Walt Zerbe 26:23
It's both it's extra.
Peter Aylett 26:24
Yeah. I think I think it's it's both we like from a system architecture, you it would be a system I suppose. But from the way you went interact with it, it's definitely an instrument because it also challenges you it's more than a tool giving you solutions for problems that you can think of yourself beforehand. Now it gives you new information and possibilities which challenge you and then you try it out and can suggest explains can also played life intuitively. So it's definitely an instrument. And I it's it's also a new way to to produce or reproduce sound. But as I said before, I think it's almost more a step back to what we are anyway already used to really control that, you know, that naturalistic or then that it's per se, why it's hybrid? It's both, it's both. Does it make sense?
Paul Holleman 27:28
No, it does my my fellow on Sorry, what my follow on question is that we've we've so far been talking about an electronic music artist, where all of all of the all of the sounds are generated electronically Yeah. How might these this this new wave of immersive sound systems be used with analog acoustic instruments?
Peter Aylett 27:59
Yeah, also endif in quite several ways. So first of all, because of this omni directional environment, and maybe in a bit I can also tell a little bit more about these only directional speakers. But if you amplify an acoustic source, life indices system, it sounds very natural, if you amplify or if we sometimes tend to say magnify, because really the amplification distortion is gone or near gone, like a violin in the space, you can increase the volume, like the loudness of the violin, but still it will remain having it's like acoustic quality, like you can hardly distinguish the acoustic source from the Amplified source. So that's very interesting into blending it also with with with other sounds. And what happens often is that when using options that play acoustic instruments are writing for the system or writing, creating with the system is this immediate urgency of What does space mean in my compositions for some, like often it happens, I want to feel the audience to be inside my instrument I want to make my tiny instrument as big as the space is and you know, crawl through it and find the different corners of my cello or of my voice. It can also mean that you you want to transform the space and start maybe with a very acoustically honest projection of the instruments but then for instance, with live sampling, taking bits of that instrument and start manipulating it and now we are perhaps back at the flock of birds have a flock of birds have life sampled sounds from the instruments revolve around the performer. We have also worked with Position Tracker so that the system knows where certain object or person is. So then also when a performer moves through the space, the sound can be attached to it or be repelled by it or all kinds of interesting, like tricks.
Paul Holleman 30:20
I've explained I've experienced a few gigs, a few large stadium gigs when the likes of Elissa and constellation and the DMV system are being used. That's position tracking on the on the artists Yeah, rather than just have to banks have flown speakers which is all mono. As you know, there is an actual spatial mix and as a guitarist who's playing walks from one side of the stage to the other at the live gig, you can actually perceive that which is which is amazing. Yeah, and my my, my follow on question, you know, just bringing it back to the fact that this is a podcast for kind of the the residential channel is how is just like in in cinema, sound mixing in the object world. CMT have come up with a format to say, you know, here, here is the basic format, you can then port that to Dolby Atmos, you can put that to DTS, you can put that to different other things. Is there the same kind of thing in in the music field where an artist can create Spatial Sound? And then that Spatial Sound can then be reproduced on a wide variety of different hardware platforms?
Peter Aylett 31:40
Not yet. As far as I know, not yet. I think there's a lot of I mean, there's so much innovation happening right now with all these brands and technologies that you also just mentioned. Dolby Atmos, in its own ways, of course, been a standard for a long while now, but mainly within the realm of cinema. They're doing more and more also music experiments. But it's, I mean, yeah, in the end, Dolby is also a licensing company, it's very close. I think it's, I think it's important that for now, I would say there are like a few islands exploring Spatial Sound in their own way. And that altogether, we evolved to something that might become a standard. Perhaps that's also because at 40 sound, we are a bit too stubborn yet to give in to do standardization, although we are definitely interested in it. And some of our development roadmap also includes standardization to a certain extent, so it becomes more even more compatible between spaces because with 40 sounds you can virtually render for any speaker configuration. And any speaker type. Yeah,
Paul Holleman 32:58
yeah, Chris. So Christian Heil, who's the the founder of L acoustics. I've known him for a while. And for a while, he's been talking about the concept of soundscapes. So, you know, we, we, in our industry, talk about cinemas and we talk about stereo systems, and we talked about hifi systems, I really like the idea that when when we think about the space, that we conceive that space from the very very, very beginning, as being a space in which soundscapes can be reproduced. And that can that can be mono that can be stereo that can be Atmos up mix that that can be a wide variety of different formats, because you know, I'm, I'm looking at what I've experienced, I'm talking to two artists and and certainly everyone in the electronic music field is looking at this and thinking us you know, this is this is just the next dimension to compositions. It's the next dimension to my, to my creativity. And I'm really looking forward over the coming sort of years and however long it takes to see how we might as an industry, some someone has an entertainment space, someone has a living room, just just for us to get out of the mentality of having a couple of big asked speakers and some subwoofers in there and create from a technical perspective, these spaces that music artists that that able to express themselves in and were able to reproduce that with a really good degree of artistic content.
Peter Aylett 34:33
Yeah, yeah. 40 sounds actually collaborates quite a lot also with with architects, conceptually and also a few practical or actual projects I should say. Because sound and Spatial Sound is often an afterthought in terms of room design. And even in theaters, and it's becoming less and less the case because of this spatial audio wave, obviously. But it's, it's an afterthought like, okay, it must look beautiful, it must be functional for whatever is the intention of the space and and oh wait, we also have to hang a few speakers. So like, all together, we are creating this new concept and infrastructure to understand that you also want to dress spaces with sound. And indeed, that that standardization or somehow compatibility with different formats create access for artists will be parts of this. And I think as soon as, let's say modest, multi speaker system in terms of at least quadrophonic, but preferably, like eight speakers also, in domestic environments become affordable. We have a few test setups in domestic environments, but it's more for r&d, then it's like a product we have, at least at the moment, then that's very interesting, in multiple ways, also, because I think it can create more, let's say healthy environments. Because if there's always this stereo pair of speakers in this particular position, particularly in your room, then it's always coming from there. But when you have also what we create, like omnidirectional environments, it's more naturalistic and less pressing on the brain and maybe wandering off a little bit. But this is definitely part of the evolution of, of spatial sounds also in the word for homes, or other public spaces. Paul,
Walt Zerbe 36:39
you're, you're talking to the right audience, because we can sell speakers. So we're quite interested, and we can work with spaces and architects and everything. So that's why, Peter, I'm glad you asked that question, because it's really fascinating. And Peter, you have another question.
Paul Holleman 36:55
Or first comment, I can't take credit for this phrase, I read it somewhere. I don't know who first said it. But the phrase is, acoustics is the head and architecture. And the interesting thing about what what we're hearing is hearing as the only sense we can't switch off, you can close your eyes, you can choose not to smell something you can choose not to touch something we cannot choose not to experience the acoustic of a space. But yeah, there's pull so rightly said, it's the last thing to be considered. And especially with a lot of modern architecture, which is a huge amount of hard surfaces. These these spaces just ended up being not human centric at all. And my other comment was, what was it five, six years ago, one of the big industry buzzwords was biophilia, bio, biological the natural world around us Philia, our love of our love of the natural world. And so much of that conversation was was about oh, you can have this big display that then displays nature. But again, we didn't ever really talk about sound. And I think it's incredibly exciting to, to, to bring sound into into architecture, and engage that sense that we can't switch off and sound can can change our moods. It can it can make us laugh, it can make us cry, it can make us happy, it can make us sad, it can calm us down, it can stimulate us. And again, there's there's so much talk in the industry about human centric bio adaptive circadian lighting, whatever we want to call it. Light, light, light, light, light. In other words, what it looks like, that's an easy sell to an architect, because of course, every architects and interior designer wants to consider what things look like. But I'm loving the idea that we have an incredible future as an industry, engaging the design and architectural community on Well, let's get these spaces sounding magnificent. And let's get these spaces as as a, as an active part of engineering the way that we as humans behave in the built environment. I think that's an amazing future for us.
Peter Aylett 39:12
Yeah, also, I
Walt Zerbe 39:13
couldn't agree more
Peter Aylett 39:14
and also empowered or empower, make the common people understand what is the role of acoustics so if they walk into a new building, that they only not only think, Oh, this looks amazing, but they also understand, oh, this sounds amazing, and they just have a little bit of understanding also why that is the case. You know, people often say that they enjoy silence to, you know, to rest, but actual extreme silence in an anechoic chamber is horrible, you know, silence that means peace means something completely else. And this directly relates to traffic noise, but also the reflections from hard surfaces. Definitely. And also,
Paul Holleman 39:58
I think my brain must be well I'd a bit funny because I really enjoy anechoic chambers.
Walt Zerbe 40:04
Paul Holleman 40:06
Yeah, I guess
Walt Zerbe 40:08
before we get into the system, I just, I see such a wellness aspect of this. I was recently in in a major car crash where I flipped like four times in the air and rolled a bunch. And it was it was pretty brutal and part of my recovery. And I think one of the most effective parts of my recovery was music. And I just let go got into the music. And it, it was incredibly healing. So I can, you know, as stress and everything goes up in this world, that everything gets more complicated. I can really see what Peter's talking about. We've had discussions on it before, but it's exciting to me that we could move in this direction. And, and be more built in to the architecture and, and have things come from everywhere, as you said, Powell that we we listen in immersive sound all the time. That's what we do. So it's actually unnatural to sit in front of a pair of speakers because not what we're used to. But I was just talking about speakers, you want to talk a little bit about this omni directional speaker. So let's let's just get a tad bit into the mechanics of the system. So you can explain to everyone you know what it's like other heights are there as are their horizontal layers, multiple horizontal layers. Can you explain a little bit about that? Yeah.
Peter Aylett 41:35
Let me start a little bit at the beginning. So when we started conceptualizing what we wanted to achieve in creating a special Sun technology, we we explicitly did not want surround. Now it should not be sound around you. And then that's it. To put it simply, we wouldn't want it to be able to also have sounds inside the space. And one of the first drawings was therefore a three dimensional grids have to be determined speakers. So there was actually also a speaker inside the space that you could walk around. And this three dimensional grid became the model that we started researching for. And then we met a brilliant guy called layout cleric, who is the founder of blue line acoustics. And maybe the stars were aligned, but he just finished his product of the Omni wave or only drive which is an omnidirectional loudspeaker, which is capable of of what it will or what it does, it already says it like it radiates omni directional. And this has a lot of implications like in its in its simplest way, it allowed us to have speakers in the center of the space and be able to walk around it without the color shifting. I mean, as you and your listeners understand, if you have a traditional directional speaker, if you're in front of it, then you get the sound as it is meant but when you walk around it, it distorts the color shifts and this does not happened with an omnidirectional speaker. But additionally, what is only directional speaker does it. It makes sure that there is no edit distortion to the signal. And then I don't mean distortion as in Jimi Hendrix distortion, I mean distortion as in slight, like comb filtering, like slight adjustments in the speaker, which are caused by directional speakers because it basically behaves as a horn as a resonator. And if the speaker is only directional, the speaker cone is convex. So there's no resonance or reflections in the speaker itself. So it's it's completely free of the the most subtle distortion. And this is also why Leo called it he sadly passed away three years ago, but so we owe him a lot. So I want to give him a lot of credit. He coined it's the inaudible loudspeaker, which sounds crazy because you buy a loudspeaker to actually listen to it. But what this means is that you actually listen to the sound it produces and are not like your how your brain processes the acoustical information. It does not relate to the speaker where it's coming from. So if you combine this with the three dimensional grids of speakers that we used to build our systems with, which again can vary from eight speakers in the shape of a cube to a multi layered both horizontally and vertically, amount of 100 speakers When we project our virtual sound sources, on the speaker grids, they are not attached to the speakers, but you're actually listening to sounds that move through space. And the sounds using our software, how we designed it, you can give it dimension. So it can be infinitely small, which would be a point source. But it can also be a line source. So it's like a propeller could rotate through space, it can be a surface being a wall or a ceiling, or it can be a box, then it has a certain volume, so you can feel like a part of the space or the entire space or somewhere in the middle. And then thirdly, and this is, all of this is because of the speakers in combination, also, with our software, of course, is that this only directionality, it is only directional sound environments that we create, they do not have a sweet spot, there is no you don't have to have the perfect triangle, like with a stereo set of speakers. Because you have as a listener, you have all the freedom to move through this, this grid of speakers. And getting back to architecture, you're designing an architecture of sound. So as a listener, you have a certain perspective. So you can be if we are in a big space, you can be in the one corner, and maybe there's a very soft sound in that corner that you experience as a listener because you are there, but the listener at the other end of the space cannot even hear it or it's it's it's incomprehensible. And the same guns for that's cool. Yeah, you can build a tower of sounds in the center of the space and walk around it or through it. And that's that's really different from surround sound. Which Indians projects. Yeah, around you. And that's basically a bit more than that. But you know what I mean?
Walt Zerbe 46:54
I'm sure it is, where would somebody go to experience this? So Peter, you are lucky enough to be able to experience that as is this only in the UK area right now? Or, you know, we have every we have a global audience to this podcast.
Peter Aylett 47:10
Yeah. Now what we did in London was so called for the sound investments project. So that was, let's say, a pop up studio. We were there for a total of five weeks with listening sessions, live performances, and also seminars, and a workshop, etc. And right now, there are two permanent studios in the world. One is called Monome studios in Berlin, which has 60 channel 40 sound system, and then there's lope in Vancouver in Canada, with I don't know exactly, but over 30 speakers, actually, including bass transducer sounds like a road trip to me. Well,
Walt Zerbe 47:58
yeah, it's exactly what I was writing this down.
Peter Aylett 48:02
And, and during this autumn, actually, a new space will open in New York City. And it's an exhibition space in a new museum. Please follow us to hear more details about that. I cannot announce it in full details. And we do projects on location I will be at
Walt Zerbe 48:21
the AES show in October in New York. Hopefully that's not too early. But I'm not far away from New York. So I'm just talking selfishly, it sounds really fascinating too. It sounds like you really need to experience it to grasp it. I mean, I get what you're saying with with the with being able to build let's say an acoustical structure and be able to go in it out it out of it and have it you know, swirl around it, you have a lot of finite control over space, planes sound it sounds really fascinating, but I'm sure you don't really get it until you experience it.
Paul Holleman 48:57
I really I really want to reiterate that anyone listening to this thinking, oh is spatial audio spatial music. It's just Dolby Atmos, isn't it? No, it really really, really really isn't. This this experience is completely, completely different. It's nothing like listening to even a superb Dolby Atmos mix. In a superb Dolby Atmos specific room. This is very, very different.
Peter Aylett 49:23
I feel flattered. Thank you cool.
Walt Zerbe 49:27
Well, you know, we, I trust Peters ears because we've listened to lots of stuff together and I know how he perceives. So yeah, I'll take that for exactly what he said. So what have we missed that you would like to get across? If we haven't covered anything? I think we've done a really nice job talking about how 4d sound is different and how involved it is. And then it's not just a system to reproduce things. It's also can be an instrument it can be a whole bunch of things. Is there anything else that we've missed that you wanted to? You wanted to get across call?
Peter Aylett 50:00
Mmm No, I don't think so like if if if I consider your audience, I think this is a good overview of what we do and why we do it and enough about how we do it, I can get very much more technological. But that would add like 30 minutes to this conversation. At least. Yeah. No, I'm, I'm, I think I'm happy with that. Let
Walt Zerbe 50:28
me let me ask one technology oriented question. Are you doing any experimentation on perception of the listener? It sounds very scientific. It sounds like you're doing a lot of a lot of things that we all perceive in different ways. And I'm sure people perceive things differently. So How deep are you getting into the neuroscience side of this?
Peter Aylett 51:00
So psycho acoustics is obviously an important part of our research and development. We collaborate a lot with scientists also who really have a more scientific agenda in working with our technology and conducting certain certain research. I would say that, that that's, like the core developers, we work mostly intuitively, like intuition is where it all starts. But we are definitely aware of many psycho acoustic phenomena that we integrate into the technology and into the instruments that we that we built. But yet, like but we work mostly with our hands and just building it and are a bit less researchers ourselves. However, in the coming year, this is unfortunately, not something I can say too much about. But there's a big project coming on that will spend man 24 to 26, which is going to be a collaboration with 14 institutes in Europe, and also many academia are involved. And we so this will be a very deep research together with some great partners into creating a mixed reality experience where we are where the objective is to, as realistically as possible projects, an acoustic orchestra for within a listening space without the orchestra actually being there. And this is all the like psycho acoustics will be a huge part of this. Okay,
Walt Zerbe 52:52
well, this is super, super fascinating. I, I thank you for giving us the time. I'm sure you're one busy guy, you know, growing and building this company and doing all this stuff. So this is fascinating. And Peter, I also thank you for making sure that that we have an application of so what you know, this is a residential installation kind of angle over this podcast. But you know what? We're moving that direction. So I think it's it's really interesting. I think this is the future. I'm super excited about it. So, Paulo, I want to thank you very much for taking the time to be on this podcast with us today.
Paul Holleman 53:31
You're welcome. pleasurable. Thank you. And same
Walt Zerbe 53:34
with you, Peter. And how is there a website that you would like to cite also put it in the in the notes of the podcast?
Peter Aylett 53:43
Yeah, you can find us on four D sound.net.
Walt Zerbe 53:47
Okay. All right. Well, thank you again, both of you. And I hope you got something out of this. All you listeners because listening is it and as Peter said, you can't turn your ears off, which is one of the coolest things ever. So and with your ears on I will just all remind you to please keep an open mind. For more information on CEDIA visit CEDIA dotnet
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