FAQ 3D Sound

1. What is 3D audio?

3D audio is sound in the horizontal, as well as in the vertical plane. A listening experience just like what we have in real life. In terms of content, three-dimensional sound environments offer a much more “sensual”, or natural sound quality. The recipient is in the middle of the sound scene, he/she can move through the sounds surrounding him/her, and explore the space through listening.

2. What is the difference between 3D audio and conventional surround-sound?

We use a 3D sound system not based on wave field synthesis: MNTN - The Sound of the Mountain. It offers a much wider scope of possibilities for the creative process compared to conventional multichannel systems. When creating a soundtrack, the design is not tied to the actual number of loudspeakers used (which is the case in 5.1, for example). We design for the three-dimensional space itself: instead of sending a sound-object to a speaker, we place the sound-object in the desired position in space, regardless of the physical loudspeaker position and the geometry of the space. It is possible to construct a very high-resolution and precise soundtrack, in which everybody has the optimal listening experience; in such an installation, there are no „better seats“.

3. How many loudspeakers are required for 3D audio?

It primarily depends on the size of the listening zone and the nature of the sound content.
The listening zone is the area in which the visitors are supposed to be to perceive the sound scene. The bigger the planned listening area, the more speakers are required.
Just as important for deciding on the quantity of the speakers is the question about the nature of the content. If we're talking about dynamic acoustic scenes that are supposed to be very detailed and realistic, a higher amount of speakers is needed, than for a background sound atmosphere.

4. Is it possible to make an up-mix of conventional sound material, or must it always be specially produced in 3D?

In principle, an up-mix from conventional sound material (stereo or surround) is possible. Practically though, the full creative potential and effect of 3D Audio can not be attained in this way. 3D audio is not just blown-up surround,  but offers wholly new and innovative artistic possibilities that can only be reached in a format-specific production process.

5. What is the technical realization of 3D audio like?

When working in the studio, we move the sounds in a projected virtual space, similar to how you would use a graphics program to create a 3D animation. Both in our studio and at the actual venue, the sound system scales the sound-mix and renders it in real time for the particular environment with its specific speaker arrangement. A sound-mix that we create in the studio can be played back with no further adjustments in just about in any other space. Only two components are required for the playback at the venue: conventional loudspeakers and a 3D audio renderer.