|The Science of Domestic Concert Hall Design|
by Ralph Glasgal
|Ambiophonics for Any Taste and Budget|
No expense spared 360° high-end system using TacT components.
As above, showing Soundlab line source electrostatic speakers. Also includes mechanical Ambiophonic wall to allow convenient comparisons between mechanical crosstalk cancellation and the RACE program.
Results of listening tests conducted at New York University. Click here to read an interesting NYU thesis elaborating on this result.
Click here for New York University YouTube demo of stero/RACE comparison
Praise for Ambiophonics... click here for more comments from audiophiles
"I have no words to describe my first experience with Ambiophonics using the MiniAmbio. My thirteen year old son summarized it as “this is so much better”. I was tapping my foot which I don’t even remember ever doing before this…..If only I had shed my audiophile purist mentality 10 years ago when I first experimented with Ambiophonics I wouldn’t have wasted so many years chasing equipment seeking stereo perfection."
-- S T Chelvan (Malaysia)
"I downloaded the Hotto Ambiophonic Transcoder to use in reaper and wow what a difference! For the first time in my life I am hearing music the way it was intended by the engineer and the musicians. I tracked a band over the weekend and right away I can hear what’s wrong in the mix. Everything is so apparent and in your face. I am no longer being lied to by the speakers and the room I am in. I can hear when reverbs and delays clash with each other so much easier now. Honestly, I can’t ever go back to listening to stereo ever again. It’s such a waste of time. How can something so awesome be so unheard of? Everyone should be able to hear music this way."
-- Paul Herlihy, recording engineer
-- Andrew (TacT RCS user)
The large lab at Ambiophonics Institute houses the initial experimental no- compromise, high-end, 3D Ambiophonic system featuring front and dual rear full range SoundLab electrostatic Ambiodipoles, and electronics for the system's 30 speaker channels. Shown are some of the 24 SoundLab Surrstat electrostatic ambience speakers being driven by convolvers using real stored concert-hall impulse responses, thus allowing Panorambiophonic reproduction of most existing stereo CDs or LPs. A video projector and parabolic screen allow 5.1 operas, concerts and movie soundtracks to likewise be reproduced Ambiophonically with full circle localization of direct sound dialog and effects.
Getting Ambiophonic's psychoacoustic benefits even on a budget in a small room. The affordable listening room at Ambiophonics Institute uses Bose AM-5 satellite front Ambiodipole/subwoofer, and LCD display. Not shown are the two AM-5 satellites used as the back Ambiodipole for full surround true 360 degree localization of all movie direct sound sources.
Enjoy not only the Depth, Clarity, Realism, and Enhanced Transient Response, but also the 180° Sound Stage of Loudspeaker Binaural Reproduction when Using Ambiophonic Technology to Play Standard Media
Ambiophonic programs and components eliminate stereo loudspeaker crosstalk, produce front/rear sound stages (180°/360°), and deliver the high fidelity one ascribes to normal everyday 2-eared hearing. Loudspeaker binaural (in contrast to the stereo loudspeaker triangle) generates an unprecedented sense of depth, clarity and presence. Also, in the absence of stereo crosstalk, comb filtering and central low-bass energy doubling are eliminated making truly flat acoustic response possible. For live, large-scale music recordings the optional use of surround speakers allows the construction of domestic concert halls that provide an enveloping, you-are-there experience especially for opera DVDs, or rock concerts.
The home stereo and 5.1 reproduction arrangement that we are all familiar with is psychoacoustically flawed. There is simply no way conventional stereo or 5.1 can recreate the panoramic spread and depth of sound we hear in concert halls, churches, theaters, or rock concerts. With Ambiophonic sound reproduction, however, you really can be there.
For example, 2 microphones spaced 7 inches apart will capture a time difference of about 700 microseconds for a side source and this is what will be stored on the LP or CD; but when played back stereophonically this time delay will be reduced to about 220 microseconds and such a source will no longer be heard at the far side. Siimilarly, the level differences picked up by mics or panned and stored on disks or in files is similarly reduced during stereo reproduction so that a sound originally recorded at 90 degrees is now heard at 30 degrees.
Recovering this hitherto hidden localization data in ones existing library is what makes Ambiophonic listening siuch an adventure.
Tabs are provided to assist users with any degree of technical sophistication or lack thereof. Whether you are component oriented or are skilled in the use of PCs or MACs, we hope you will want to try Ambiophonics. Use the technology you are most comfortable with. There are also sample music and movie clips that you can listen to and/or watch to get a bit of an idea of how Ambiophonics compares to stereophonics.
We hope that when you do have your own Ambiophonic system going that you will let friends, manufacturers, media outlets, blogs, and forums learn of your experience.
The Ambiophonic method achieves exceptionally realistic reproduction of staged, acoustically or electronically generated music especially from the existing library of two-channel sources such as CDs or LPs. Ambiophonic reproduction of most such existing recordings will outperform any existing or proposed surround, multichannel recording or reproduction system for music, video, or games.
The material here should lead to a better understanding of some under-appreciated characteristics of the human ear and provide a better sense of what binaural or concert-hall sound fields consist of, so that listening rooms can reproduce sonic events with consistent and unprecedented realism even when using the vast library of already existing two-channel recordings. The authors anticipate that not everyone will want or be able to implement all of the Ambiophonic paradigms but even employing one of these suggestions will increase the perceived realism of the reproduced sound. It is hoped that, over the years, audiophiles, equipment designers, sound/video recording engineers and magazine editors will come to better understand the goals and acoustical principles involved and apply them in the future to their own products, systems and reviews. Click here for a quick start tutorial.
What is Ambiophonics?
The Ambiophonics method combines an exploitation of seldom applied, but well documented, psychoacoustic principles with the basic rules of good musical performance space design to create believable concert-hall sound fields in dedicated home listening rooms. Ambiophonics moves the listener into the same space as the performers, by accommodating to individual external ear and head characteristics, minimizing interaural correlation at the listening positions, abandoning the traditional stereo loudspeaker equilateral triangle, recreating early reflections and reverberant fields via computer, and eliminating front-loudspeaker crosstalk. The Ambiophonic sound reproducing technique is a worthy successor to both stereophonic or surround-sound listening configurations, in that it can consistently generate a "You Are There" sound field even from standard LPs, DVDs or CDs that the ear-brain system will accept as real.
Recording engineers should note that an Ambiophone 2/4 channel mic array has been designed to make 2 or 4 channel recordings that can reliably provide 180 degree or 360 degree direct sound localization anywhere in the horizontal plane. See RecEngineering Corner for details.
Protopype of new 4.0 Ambiophone
To hear excerpts from 2 and 4 channel recordings made with the Ambiophone click on the demo tab above.
Free Ambiophonic App
Free Ambiophonic App for the iPad
From Hotto Engineering.
Play "stereo" music, video, or game soundtracks Ambiophonically using any iPad, iPhone, or iPod dock or other loudspeakers.
Ambiophonic App for Android
First Component Products!
180° sound stage
Experience the increased depth, realism & clarity of Ambiophonics
Ambio4You, a noted manufacturer of DSP audio products has developed a line of very affordable Ambiophonic products. Click here for product details and purchasing information. Click on the image above for a brochure.
Free RACE 2/4 Channel Ambiophonic Transcoder for PC/MAC/LINUX
At Stephan Hotto's website you can download free programs with control panels that use the RACE equations to cancel crosstalk. These Ambiophonic player programs run under Windows, Mac or Linux. The secret is that these are Java enabled and thus are not OS dependent. You need to have JRE (JAVA Runtime Environment) installed or get it here: http://www.java.com/download/manual.jsp.
The Ambiophonic Transcoder produces a 360° sound field and has a center sound boost control to allow Ambio reproduction to sound more like the stereo loudspeaker triangle which doubles the lower frequency sound level for mono or central sound sources. This accommodates stereophiles who prefer this boost. An optional high frequency bypass feature avoids processing high frequencies where no audible crosstalk exists avoiding unpredictable HF level and polarity errors for some arrangements or settings.
See PC/MAC page for downloading and installation details.
VST PLUGINS AVAILABLE
Click here to go to Stephan Hotto's website for the download and a tutorial on using the plugin.
This is a very sophisticated version of RACE which includes a variety of novel adjustments to cope with unusual recordings, loudspeaker arrangements, or just personal preferences.
Note: The non-profit Ambiophonic Institute hopes that other component and software manufacturers will avail themselves of this technology and include Ambiophonic features in their product lines. All aspects of Ambiophonics are in the public domain and may be used without fees by any home user or manufacturer. We congratulate TacT Audio for being first to include the RACE algorithm in a hi-fi component product.