AES to Discuss Illusions in Sound – The 22nd UK Conference of the Audio Engineering Society (AES) opens this coming week in Cambridge, England. It will cover the art of creating convincing audio illusions thru the use of psychoacoustics – our knowledge of hose the ear/brain combination works in enabling us to hear and localize the sounds around us. Among the subjects of 20 papers will be consumer and sound reinforcement systems, speaker design, and an overview of the latest in spatial recording and reproduction. Dramatically different approaches to the creation of surround recordings will be contrasted, along with a panel asking “What do we really want from surround sound?” There will also be two demo rooms in which current 3D and planar spatial reproduction systems can be experienced, compared and enjoyed, with a wide variety of content. For more information: www.aes.org
Home-Quality Audio Coming to Cars – Buyers of luxury autos are beginning to demand the same high quality surround sound in their vehicles that they are enjoying in their homes. This means not only better speakers, amps and installation for surround, but also the ability to play music from CDs, DVDs, MP3 players, hard drives, memory sticks or from either of the two satellite radio services. The Lexus LS460L offers a Mark Levinson system for $2530 extra that features DVD-Audio, surround sound from 19 speakers, 450 watts of power and a 30 GB hard drive. The 2007 Chrysler Sebring can be had with the MyGiG sound system, which uses Boston Acoustics speakers (but is not surround). Acura was the first to offer surround sound in their 2004 TL sedan. The challenges in the auto environment include extreme heat and cold, rough pavements, wind and road noise, and very cramped quarters for speaker installation. The trick is to design the sound system when the car itself is still on the drawing board – achieving results more difficult or expensive to get in aftermarket installations. Some of the solutions are to mount the subwoofers out of the way under the front seats, and to use DSP to shift the “sweet spot” from the center of the car to the driver’s head.