Get immersed: Top audio companies highlight their offerings for 3D sound
FJI asked leading sound companies to highlight their products best suited to the new immersive audio installations in cinemas. Here are their recommendations:
Alcons Audio brings an evolutionary digital-cinema sound system program, with speakers, amplifiers and dedicated processing, reproducing speech, music and effects with non-compressed, non-colored, clear detail, with low distortion and full digital dynamics. Utilizing the company’s proprietary, multiple-patented pro-ribbon transducer technology, the Alcons CR3 three-way cinema screen system is specifically aimed at medium-sized applications, where excellent projection control with 1:1 accurate, non-compressed digital sound reproduction is required.
The CRS8 is the matching pro-ribbon reference surround system; by utilizing identical componentry as the Alcons screen systems, the CRS8 offers the exact same voicing for the surround channels. This makes the screen and surround channels blend seamlessly, for homogeneous sound throughout the cinema. (alconsaudio.com)
Barco’s Auro 11.1 immersive sound system not only allows for the next logical step in multichannel audio for cinemas but also offers a path to an open standard for immersive sound to enable a monumental evolution in the adoption of immersive cinema sound. As the next generation in audio sound technology that creates the most impactful motion picture experience, Auro 11.1 provides easy installation in new-built or existing theatres through its processing compatibility with current set-ups. Its unique three-layer approach which uses a 3D sound reproduction speaker layout, based on three axes (x=width, y=depth, z=height), allows for impressive envelopment of sound. The result of years of research with Barco partner Auro Technologies, Auro 11.1 creates natural sound in a way that is cost-effective for content providers and exhibitors alike. (barco.com)
Christie introduces the groundbreaking Christie Vive Audio™ solution to help exhibitors “complete the experience” for their moviegoing audiences. Designed for cinema, Christie Vive Audio leverages a unique articulated, single-enclosure line-array speaker design and ribbon-driver technology, and combines it with the first use of efficient, high-powered Class D amplification in cinema—all at an attainable price point. Its extended frequency response, high dynamic range and ultra-fast transient response, along with unprecedented peak-to-average SPL ratios and smooth and even coverage, meets the performance demands of the DCI specification. The complete Christie Vive Audio solution comprises surround and screen-channel speakers, subwoofers, and Class D amplifiers. (viveaudio.com)
The new DCi Network amplifier series is a complete line of high-performance cinema amplifiers based on proprietary DriveCore™ technology. Representing a significant step forward for cinema installers and owners, DCi Network features the following items:
• Rack rooms are now significantly smaller with DCi’s highly compact form factor with eight high output channels in a two-rack unit space.
• Cost of ownership is significantly lower, as DCi is designed with a highly energy-efficient universal power supply that consumes 75% less current and dissipates 70% less heat than traditional cinema amplifiers.
• Maintain the highest audio performance possible through digital audio transport in Dolby AtmosTM Connect/BLU link. Wiring your amplifiers is as simple as a RJ-45 connector.
• Comprehensive suite of audio performance monitoring tools that can be viewed remotely. (crownaudio.com)
Datasat Digital Entertainment is committed to 3D audio innovations. The Datasat AP20 is capable of delivering true 3D sound today with 16 channels of fully routable and controlled high-quality audio. Due to the flexibility and expansion slot design, future audio innovations will continue to extend the life of the AP20 platform. Some key innovations the AP20 is prepared to support are additional output options (24 channels +), new audio algorithms, and advance crossover and control features for highly complex 3D audio scenarios.
With two models of the AP20 currently available under the Datasat name, industry OEM partners, and additional products in development utilizing the same platform, Datasat is poised to help advance 3D in cinema for many years to come. (datasatdigital.com)
With Dolby Atmos™, filmmakers can now position and move sounds precisely anywhere in a theatre, even overhead, to heighten the realism and impact of every scene. More than 60 films worldwide and counting—representing a broad range of genres, from action thrillers and animated features, to comedy and horror—have featured Dolby Atmos.
Driving the experience is the Dolby Atmos Cinema Processor CP850. Using specific speaker location and performance attributes, the CP850 renders in real-time a custom mix for that room that accurately replicates the audio experience intended by the sound mixer. The CP850 supports Dolby Atmos playback up to 64 speaker feeds, configurable between 16 analog outputs and a Dolby Atmos Connect output. The CP850 supports Dolby Surround 7.1 and 5.1 digital playback as well as common Dolby formats used with alternative content in cinemas: Dolby Digital Plus™, Dolby E and Dolby’s latest up-mixing technology. To ensure proper setup and playback, each CP850 also includes Dolby’s Commissioning Service. (dolby.com)
FOCUX audio systems are the ideal sound solution for immersive audio systems like Dolby Atmos and Auro 11.1 which require more speakers and amplifiers. FOCUX coaxial cinema speakers bring the clarity to cinema sound. FOCUX’s cutting-edge technology combines the high/mid range. The mid-range and high frequency play from the same location, which effectively removes sound interference and perfectly reproduces the clarity of the sound. FOCUX’s digital amplifier featuring four channels is designed to be ultra-light and thin, but it is very powerful. The output power of each channel is up to 2100W/ 4Ω. It greatly increases the efficiency of its digital-cinema sound system by 100% more than the current analog system. The unique design is not only suitable for Dolby Atmos and Auro 11.1, but also suitable for boothless cinemas. Theatres can use fewer amplifiers for such big audio systems to achieve amazing sound impact. (focux.me)
High Performance Stereo
Motion picture soundtracks are created with great care no matter which format they may be. Motion picture sound systems should be created with no less care whether they be 5.1, 7.1 11.1 or Atmos.
High Performance Stereo has always believed that “Sound IS the Experience™.” That's why HPS® brought the very first feature presentations with digital sound to commercial movie theatres in 1985—four years before the rest of the industry. Envelopment is nothing new to High Performance Stereo. Our HPS-4000® sound systems are already known around the world as the most immersive available as well as the most beautiful and clear. Exclusive All Seats Hear Stereo™ technology and proprietary surround placement formulas provide full stereophonic coverage for the entire audience. When HPS-4000 sound systems are coupled with today's immersive soundtracks, audiences will experience the full potential of modern motion picture sound. (hps4000.com)
JBL surround loudspeakers are available in a variety of designs and power options to match any multi-channel surround requirement. The new SCS12 and SCS8 Spatially Cued Surrounds are the perfect option for ceiling applications. The SCS surrounds feature high-power coaxial drivers in a 12”, 400-watt model, and an 8”, 250-watt model. The SCS surrounds ship complete with mounting brackets. The CBT70J-1 is a 500-watt line-array surround featuring Asymmetrical Progressive Gradient coverage to deliver consistent frequency response and quality sound at every seat regardless of position. The JBL standard 8340A and 8350 surrounds are proven performers in thousands of screens worldwide. In addition, the AC2212, AQC2215, AM5212 and AM7212 models are also available for surround installation. (jblpro.com)
Kelonik Cinema Sound
With more than 10,000 screens using our speaker systems, KCS is one of the world-class leaders in quality, reliability, price and technical solutions for any type of cinema. Designed and engineered with very high fatigue-resistant materials, our products were among the first speaker systems certified for installation in THX screens. Now, with the advent of new immersive audio systems, KCS is authorized as well and, in fact, our products are already present worldwide in a high percentage of installations fitted with these types of sound systems.
To ensure the greatest effectiveness and suit each model to the cubic footage of any auditorium, KCS’ range of speaker systems is designed to cover any needs: SR-25 for small auditoriums, SR-28 for medium-size auditoriums, and SR-20 and SR-29 for the larger auditoriums. All our speaker systems have their respective brackets for installation with the required tilt in each project. And, of course, the KCS product line includes a range of top-end speaker systems for behind the screen which are specified according to the existing cubic footage in each auditorium. (kelonik.com)
Klipsch has introduced two new cinema subwoofers for maximum bass impact.
The Klipsch KPT-1802-HLS cinema subwoofer employs an industry-first, patented design with dual horn-loading on both an active and drone 18” driver, for maximum efficiency leading to both class-leading acoustic output and commanding sub-20Hz bass response previously unattainable from even larger driver designs. This high performance level is perfect for large cinemas and those desiring to provide the ultimate experience. The horn-loaded 18” drivers also provide a lower level of distortion with less driver excursion and a faster driver response for tighter, highly realistic bass.
The KPT-684-SW is a new, flyable version of the proven KPT-684 with the addition of internal aluminum bracing and fly points. With dual 18” drivers utilizing large, geometrically optimized magnet structures, the KPT-684-SW is an extremely high-output system attaining an incredible 105dB in sensitivity. It can extend bass response throughout a room and be ceiling-suspended in multiple areas back-of-house for Dolby Atmos™ surround zone bass management. (klipsch.com)
The Meyer Sound self-powered HMS-12 surround loudspeaker is optimized for use in cinemas, theatres and re-recording stages. The HMS-12 maintains a wide dynamic range, full fidelity and clarity during the most demanding of digital soundtracks. Boasting a wide frequency range of 59 Hz to 18 kHz and a maximum peak SPL of 130 dB at one meter with very low distortion, the HMS-12 ensures that the full intensity and nuance of cinema surround channels reach each listener without compromise.
The HMS-12 can be mounted on walls or ceilings at fixed or adjustable angles with optional wall-mount brackets, hinge bracket, U-bracket, and half-yoke, allowing the unit to be deployed per the requirements of any surround or immersive surround format. External DC power affords the flexibility of lengthy cable runs without conduits, while preserving the advantages of self-powered loudspeaker systems. (meyersound.com)
Immersive cinema sound formats give filmmakers much more creative freedom in the production of the soundtrack. They also place greater demands on the entire sound system, but especially on the surround loudspeaker arrays and amplifiers. Sound editors expect to be able to localize sound from any surround at any volume level, so each individual loudspeaker needs to be capable of producing clean, undistorted sound at levels nearly comparable to that of a screen channel. Because of the need for more precise localization, aiming of the loudspeakers also becomes more critical.
QSC offers a wide variety of loudspeakers for immersive sound surrounds. For most applications, model SR-1030 easily meets the demands of high output with no distortion. When precise aiming is needed, the AD S12 with integrated “X-Mount” bracket is an excellent choice. And for very large rooms or those with extremely high ceilings, we recommend the high-output AP-5122 (12-inch woofer) and AP-5152 (15-inch woofer). For immersive soundtracks that require extra low-frequency extension for the surround channel, we offer the GP-118 and GP-218 compact subwoofers, which can be safely suspended overhead or floor-mounted at the rear of the house. (qsccinema.com)
Sonic Tier Audio
Providing the greatest number of audio channels among the existing “channel-based” film sound formats, Sonic Tier Audio gives creators a powerful sonic palette with limitless possibilities. The Sonic Tier codec was developed to confront multichannel 3D audio by minimizing additional installations and maximizing compatibility with the traditional cinematic sound system. Up to 32 channels of 3D audio can be stored and transmitted efficiently and accurately within 16 audio slots of the standard digital-cinema package (DCP) without any loss of audio quality. When STA lossless audio data is decoded, the results are identical to the original audio data bit by bit. Sixteen audio channels in the surround area including the theatre ceiling make the sound field multi-dimensional, sufficient to give audiences a truly immersive sonic experience. (sonic-tier.com)
VCL Sound Experience
VCL Sound Experience recommends these models for 3D immersive sound:
Screen models—The choice of these systems obviously depends on the size of the theatre. We would recommend three-way models working on bi-am, such as our LW5105 and LW5109. That choice would be completed with the use of our DSP LW8080 processor and LW1500, LW2000 and LW3000 amplifiers.
Subwoofer models—Our absolute favorite subwoofer from our range is the LW6121, a 21" unit that reaches 20 Hz at -3dB. Depending on the size of the theatre, multiple units can be installed, and we recommend our powerful amplifier VK12044 to move them.
Side surround models—A critical component for Dolby Atmos. The timbre of the screen systems must be matched, as well as reaching the main listening area with small speakers. There’s nothing better than our powerful LAT7503 and LAT7505, with different dispersion angles depending on the model.
Ceiling models—For the first rows of the ceiling, we recommend installing LATs to match the side surrounds. The rest can be installed with our widely installed LW7209.
Lateral surround models—Our LW7209 works perfectly for this role.
Subwoofers for surround—Our LW7517 seems a surround, but it’s an 18” subwoofer.
Wall and ceiling support—We have double-swivel supports for every necessary aiming of the speakers, and special boards for theatre ceilings with guaranteed security.
Laser Device—A magnet-powered laser system sticks to the target speaker. Once this function is completed, it is moved to the next speaker with the same laser system. (vclsoundexperience.com)