Auditory perception and indirect sound
A. Immersive Listening Experiences
It is well known that in good concert halls the listening experience of musical performances is much better and above all much more intense than in less good listening environments, one also speaks of much better immersiveness. The listening experience when listening to stereo and surround audio does not come close to such a listening experience in good concert halls (in stereo 2 spatial dimensions are missing in the reproduction anyway and in surround 1 spatial dimension is still not included in the reproduction).
However, the listener expects a substantial step forward in the direction of real immersiveness from 3D audio, which is also of high importance when listening to pop music. But the currently known 3D audio solutions lack this crucial feature to far too great an extent, particularly disappointing in this respect is the headphone playback.
B. Direct Sound and Indirect Sound in Auditory Perception
Good-sounding natural environments, which stand for a high intensity of listening experiences, are characterized by good-sounding indirect sound (reflections and diffuse sound), while direct sound, which reaches the listener by direct paths, is by definition independent of the environment in question, i.e. it is the same in all environments.
The main strength of current 3D audio is the reproduction of 3D direct sound, such as objects in 3D games and effects in action movies with 3D audio. The focus is on good localization of the sound sources.
According to the observations and analyses of Saalakustik.de the reason for the weak intensity of listening experience of current 3D audio (and also of many less good-sounding natural listening environments) seems to be that in these situations the specifics of indirect sound are very poorly conveyed to human perception, so it is as if the perception of indirect sound is reduced of its most essential components when listening to such 3D audio.
For music recordings, some current 3D audio recordings use a trick: sound sources are not only placed in front, but also to the side, back and/or top. In individual cases this may work impressively, but on the whole it distracts from the lack of a basic spatial impression based on indirect sound.
From the functioning of and the handling of its Enveloping3D methods, Saalakustik.de can draw insightful conclusions about the functioning of the perception of indirect sound and the interaction of the perception of indirect and direct sound.
Audio to date appears to address only one part of auditory perception, namely a perceptual mechanism specialized predominantly in the identification of sound sources and basic information about the respective spatiality. It seems that this "essential" sound perception mechanism is the currently known and scientifically described type of auditory perception.
The strengths of this kind of auditory perception lie in the localization of sound signals and in speech intelligibility. The perception of spaciality as represented by indirect sound is also possible with it to a limited extent; it is apparently even sufficient for normal stereo reproduction. In 3-dimensional hearing, however, the perception of spaciality with it is only rudimentary, as in a kind of basic version, because essential aspects are missing - in analogy to visual perception, one could say that auditory perception in this strongly limited form has to do without colors.
Such "colors", however, only make it possible to a desirable and for 3D audio necessary extent to perceive otherwise inaudible tonal details and intermediate tones on the one hand, and the atmospheric attributes of sound fields on the other.
More importantly, the interaction of essential auditory perception and comprehensive spatial sound perception leads to an immense enhancement of overall sonic intensity and immersiveness. Sound perceptions of this kind can have an incomparably greater emotional impact on the listener than is possible with essential perception alone.
Apparently, comprehensive room sound perception in the sense described is based on processes and mechanisms that have so far escaped scientific observation and research, one could also speak of a terra incognita. Saalakustik.de`s mission is to make them accessible to audio technology and also to acoustics with the methods presented here.
D. Solution for 3D Audio
Unlike previous 3D audio methods, the Enveloping3D audio methods from Saalakustik.de are able to address essential perceptual mechanisms from the area of comprehensive spatial sound perception as well as to shift the 3D audio listener into a truly immersive mode of perception.
Unlike the perception of sound fields in natural environments, the audio in question can be tuned with high precision to a kind of optimal perceptual corridor for particularly high immersivity - it is expected that a level of immersivity not possible in natural environments can be achieved in this way. Additional design options open up creative scope for artists, sound engineers and, in appropriate configurations, for listeners as well.
E. Solution for Room Acoustics
Similarly, the Acoustic Shaping method can be used to transform less good-sounding rooms (e.g. some concert halls) into much more impressive acoustics.
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Enveloping3D - 3D Audio
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Acoustic Shaping - Room Acoustics