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Comparative Analysis of Surround Sound Formats and the Current Practical Applications of Ambisonics

Transfer document, from MPhil to PhD

Andrew J. Horsburgh (BSc, Hons)


B00101433 andrew.horsburgh@uws.ac.uk Director of Studies: Dr D. F. Clark Secondary Supervisors: B. Geary, Prof. C. Grecos. Assessor: Dr G. McRobbie 1
A Comparative Analysis of Surround Sound Formats and the Current Practical Applications of Ambisonics

A Comparative Analysis of Surround Sound Formats and the Current Practical Applications of Ambisonics
Andrew J. Horsburgh (University of the West of Scotland, Scotland)
Abstract The Ambisonic audio format and the underlying reproduction theory have continually been optimised since inception during the 1970s by Gerzon. The audio format methodology for reproduction and recording events can incorporate a full three dimensional sound field, termed 'periphonic', or be rendered to a stereophonic reproduction array termed 'planar'. The Ambisonic format is scalable over the reproduction array size and is proposed to be suitable for all programme material, however, this claim has yet to be verified. Reasons for the lack of interest and commercial appeal in Ambisonics are unclear. This work investigates the attitudes held by those in the audio industry, evaluates the practical usability and compares - via subjective listening experiences - against other widely used surround sound formats. The practical implementations of Ambisonics as a modern audio production tool will be documented the field work for reference in future research.

A Comparative Analysis of Surround Sound Formats and the Current Practical Applications of Ambisonics

Table of Contents 1 Introduction 1.1 Development of Reproduced Audio 1.1.1 Stereophonic Sound 1.1.2 Surround Sound 1.2 Origins of Ambisonic Audio 1.3 Format Evolution 1.4 Ambisonic Format Distribution 1.5 Issues associated with distribution 2 Literature Review 2.1 Sound Reproduction 2.2 Ambisonic Beginnings 2.3 Principle Research 2.4 Research Centres 2.5 Current Research 2.6 Future Developments 3 Development of research area; Ambisonic Production and Reproduction 3.1 Problem Statement 3.2 Hardware Development Methods 3.3 Software Development Methods 3.4 Solutions to Problems 3.5 Modern Production Methods 3.6 Solutions & Motivation 3.6.1 Motivation 3.6.2 Production Methodologies 3.6.3 Solutions for Digital 4 Aims and objectives of study 4.1 Aims of Study 4.2 Objectives of Study 4.3 Methods of Research 4.3.1 Qualitative research 4.3.1.1 Perceptual Testing 4.3.1.2 Selection of Subjects 4.3.1.3 Selection of Materials 4.3.2 Quantitative Research 4.3.2.1 Focus Group 4.3.2.1.1 Group Selection 4.3.2.2 Study / Questionnaire 4.3.2.2.1 Purpose 4.3.2.2.2 Process of design 5 Research originality 5.1 Basis of originality 5.2 Possible expansion 6 Thesis outline 6.1 Scope of thesis 3
A Comparative Analysis of Surround Sound Formats and the Current Practical Applications of Ambisonics

7 Research progress 7.1 Research Completed 7.2 Work still to be completed 8 Time table 9 Professional Development 9.1 Recording Research 9.2 Commercial and Academic Contacts 9.3 Undergraduate Course Involvement References List of Figures List of Tables Appendices: A. Published Work B. Digital Audio Workstation Survey C. Articles

A Comparative Analysis of Surround Sound Formats and the Current Practical Applications of Ambisonics

1 Introduction Accurate surround sound reproduction has been at the forefront of research for the audio community since the inception of recorded audio in 1878 [4] with Edisons phonograph. A resurgence in spatialisation and surround audio has been prompted by 3D visuals becoming increasingly prominent in all areas of film and media industries. The audio industry has been slow to involve itself in full surround compatibility, however audio professionals are now being asked to meet the advances in visuals and compliment those with immersive experiences through compatible spatial audio formats. The music industry continues to primarily use discrete planar (2 dimensional horizontal) reproduction as the primary delivery format. There are several audio formats that can provide an increased immersion and heightened realistic experience compared with the currently adopted reproduction methods. One audio format that is considered to have this ability is Ambisonics [1]. A study into home environments has previously been conducted [2] that concluded users of video games consoles used surround sound as their primary listening format. The BBC also produced a paper [3] which concluded for listeners, Ambisonics was as good quality as other surround formats when music was the programme material. Continuing from these studies, this research aims to investigate if listeners and engineers can discern the increased spatial qualities that Ambisonics can offer but in sub-optimal environments such as the home. In using varying materials of music, games audio and film clips the user will be subject to a diverse range of audio and potential audio environments. Further information such as the layout, speaker size and user adaptive speaker levels will give a secondary data set for continuing research. 1.1 Development of Reproduced Audio In this section, a brief historical review of recorded audio development is presented. This has been included to inform the reader of the increased reality now faced by producers of audio across the music, film and games industries. The first attempts to reproduce a recording of the human voice, could only prove that pressure was being exerted upon the chosen medium of paper [4]. Until a recent digital transfer, this recording was unable to be reproduced in any fidelity or on any reproduction system. The recording unit consisted of a needle leaving a groove which correlated to a pressure change at the transducer (or microphone). Technically very little has changed at this base level however the improvements have been in the traducers, capable bandwidth, reproduction systems and delivery of the audio recording. Edisons phonograph [5] is widely considered the first practically useable recording and reproduction method, however, it was not until the development of the gramophone record ('vinyl record') and analogue tape that stereophony and fidelity increased to acceptable and reproducible quality. The use of vinyl changed considerably in 1918 with the cessation of Edisons patent due to 25 years having passed. The expiration led to developmental changes in the technical operation of gramophone recordings and replay. The changes included the method of recording, number of grooves, size of grooves and the material quality of the record itself. Improvements in the material quality altered the life of a gramophone record while allowing a wider dynamic range, improved signal to noise ratio and overall quality of the 5
A Comparative Analysis of Surround Sound Formats and the Current Practical Applications of Ambisonics

final production. Monophonic productions were still common place during the formative years of vinyl. Live signals from the mixing desk were processed and sent to the vinyl lathe for later reproduction. Simultaneously, Reel-to-Reel tape recorders were emerging through the 1930s in the form of the German Magentophon. In 1943 the first practical available stereophonic tape recorders and playback machines were made available. Magnetic tape, or cassette, appeared during the 1960s [6] and revolutionised the recording industry with the ability to simultaneously record several instruments for later processing and mixing. This was also the first technological improvement for creation of multichannel productions that could be edited and processed. Digitisation of audio first emerged with digital audio tape (DAT) in the late 1987. Audio reproduction in the home had stereophonic reproduction systems, such as a Hi-Fi stereo. The sound stages that were being produced for radio dramas and music productions often made clever and inventive use of having two channels to place instruments or voices. The most common of all delivery mediums was to be the Compact Disk (CD) that arrived in 1982 with the release of Billy Joel's '51 st Street'. Previously, there were many recordings and pressings onto CD but none were commercially released. CD soon became extremely popular as the quality of the audio reproduction was beyond any medium that it succeeded. This was defined by the non-degradation of signal, physical size, number of channels, bandwidth, dynamic range and cost to produce. Technological advances in recording medium and type of recording methods used (analogue, digital or hybrid systems) continue to change the fidelity and final product delivery from cassette through CD and to Blu-ray. The latest developments have enabled multichannel, large dynamic, high quality disks to be manufactured with no loss in quality from the original recording - however stereophonic files are still the most commonly used end-user format. 1.1.1. Stereophonic reproduction In 1881, the first stereophonic listening set-up was used to project an Opera performance from one room into another via multiple transducers (microphones) and receivers (speakers, or ear pieces). Under modern specifications, this was one of the first documented uses of binaural technologies for commercial appeal. For a period of half a century, this was the primary use of stereophony in commercial use [7]. The technology behind this attraction was the principle that a noise will propagate through the air isotropically. If two receivers are placed with different path lengths to the original sound, then upon reproduction of the transducers a stereophonic result will occur. E.g.; a sound will propagate from the natural emitting position in the stereo soundfield. This idea was further researched by Alan Blumlein and in 1931 was granted a patent in Sound Transmission [8]. Cinematic experience would be the driving force for his patent as it allowed for actors to be positioned relative to their on-screen position. Blumleins original proposed specification for audio reproduction method used two speakers and was described as binaural sound. Blumlein's ideas would be the genesis for Ambisonics, providing both the theoretical foundation and potential implementation direction [1]. 6
A Comparative Analysis of Surround Sound Formats and the Current Practical Applications of Ambisonics

1.1.2. Surround sound reproduction One of the first noted uses of surround sound for specific realisation of a synthesised environment is considered to be 'Fantasia' (1938) by Walt Disney. In designing the soundtrack for the movie there was also an audio reproduction requirement that 50 speakers had to be placed around the movie theatre. This specification allowed the bee in the piece to use the entire horizontal soundfield, this could only be achieved by the discrete speaker feeds for the 50 speakers. Latterly, uses of surround sound were limited by the method of reproduction and distribution. It was during the 1970s when Quadraphonic Long Plays (LPs) became available that surround sound began to make a commercial impact on the home environment. Using discrete channel feeds, Quadraphonic was not too dissimilar from the techniques employed for Fantasia, however, it differs greatly from Ambisonics. The use of speaker matrices and 'decoding' signals to produce true stereophonic imagery has not been shown to have been a consideration for the earliest productions of quadraphonic material. This is in contrast with Ambisonics and similar stereophonic materials, such as Ambiophonics and Binaural, where reproducing a true representation of a soundfield has been a central goal [1]. 1.2 Origins of Ambisonic Audio The mathematical formulation [1] used within Ambisonics allows for audio to be reproduced over a stereophonic (two) speaker arrangement or on much large speaker arrays (often 16) in irregular arrangements via a single multichannel audio file. Due to the matricing of Ambisonics the loudspeaker arrays are scalable. By using larger arrays and Higher Order Ambisonics an increased spatial awareness and spatial resolution can be achieved. The flexibility of this audio format over others that use height information, such as Dolby's Pro Logic IIz format, stems from the decoding process [9] on the audio outputs of any audio replay system which can be termed to be Ambisonic. Decoding Ambisonics over a user defined array of loudspeakers can be conducted using a variant of methodologies [9] such as diametric, polygon, Auditorium and Vienna decoders. Each of these methodologies has a similar output function and processing within the audio system. The streams of audio are processed centrally via a decoding matrix. The idea for this central decoding matrix is derived from Gerzon [1]. Previous research carried out on decoders [14,9] concentrated on several key features and areas such as: Can the playback decoder be termed Ambisonic due to the manner it processes audio? What are the spatial characteristics of the playback decoder under test? Are software implementations of superior bandwidth and accuracy to those of analogue design? A paper by Heller Et Al [9] has previously covered the theoretical components of producing an Ambisonic decoder and how successfully (or otherwise) this has been achieved in each instance. Consideration to consumer factors such as GUI [Graphic User 7
A Comparative Analysis of Surround Sound Formats and the Current Practical Applications of Ambisonics

Interface], processing usage or Operating System (OS) compatibility have not been taken into account. Lacking documentation in implementational technical issues, sonic qualities and ease of use have been neglected. 1.3Format Evolution The term Ambisonic can be used to describe several situations or types of audio. These are the situation under which audio was recorded, manipulated or reproduced / replayed via an array of speakers. Ambisonic formats can be classed via their theoretical basis and mathematical functionality. Widely used are A-Format, B-Format and G-format. A-Format The most basic of all the Ambisonic formats, A-format is used to record microphone signals that represent the soundfield. B-Format Conversion of direct capsule information to a 'general' soundfield representation, Aformat audio then comes B-format audio. This is an audio file that contains a soundfield with spatially accurate cartesian co-ordinates. C-Format A 'consumer' post-decode transmission format which contains two, three or four channels of UHJ specified signals (see below). This requires no further processing for the user as the speaker feed information has been encoded directly into the audio streams. C-Format contains; L : Left stereo compatible signal R: Right stereo compatible signal T: A third channel allowing for similar spatial resolution quality to B-Format. Q: A potential fourth channel which contains height information similar to the Z channel in B-Format. D-Format A 'consumer' post-decode transmission format which contains all the individual speaker information for a chosen array. G-Format Commercially, G-format is the most commonly used Ambisonic format because of the integration with a specific type of discrete speaker array the 5.1 ITU layout. There are several pieces of software [12] that perform functions on the signal to allow for these signals to be reproduced on a correctly calibrated ITU array. UHJ This is the stereophonic equivalent of Blumlein stereo, however it uses the information from the entire horizontal field projected upon the front two speakers. 1.4 Ambisonic Format Distribution Audio quality and ease of distribution are a continuing requirement and development of recording since the first recorded paper cylinder [4]. The ability to record in one format 8

A Comparative Analysis of Surround Sound Formats and the Current Practical Applications of Ambisonics

but to replay in another is an advantage formats such as Ambisonics can offer. For some users this is an attractive but under utilised aspect of the format. The content creators can design their sound fields with the intention to reproduce over a periphonic array and then distribute a commercial release for playback on any equal or lesser sized reproduction array with no perceived loss of audio fidelity. This is achieved via the decoding process. Decoding, as is further discussed in section 1.5, is an important aspect in the development of Ambisonic productions in the wider professional audio field. 1.5 Issues associated with production and distribution As has been described in the above sections, Ambisonics stemmed from stereophonic principles but has been unsuccessful in becoming the ubiquitous format for surround sound audio. There are several reasons which contribute to the failure in uptake by commercial entities [22]. The requirement for extra expensive hardware and speakers is widely regarded as the prominent reason. Quadraphonic productions also having a larger exposure in the general public and the subsequent failure left Ambisonics in a difficult position to build on from. Surround Sound productions from the initial recording stage through post-processing to finished product also suffered in development because of the almost exclusivity in research being conducted in academic centres. Software development has remained at the mercy of the developers, and with no commercial backing, progress can be slow and often Ambisonic plug-ins are not maintained or supported. In recent years, the distribution potential of the Ambisonic format has become a reality [11,12]. Technological advances in networking has given users the ability to send high quality multichannel audio files over networks. There are also the assurances in the spatial rendering that no quality is lost over this transferral. These improvements have removed the requirement for physical disks to be created, and therefore have allowed Ambisonic users to share files across the variant of formats available across the internet through communities. Surround Sound systems have also decreased in physical size, improved in their sonic reproduction quality and reduced in price compared to similar systems in the 1970s. Home computers also have sound cards which can support multi-channel systems and due to this, Ambisonics could be distributed to the home user and replayed on a fully available commercial system.

A Comparative Analysis of Surround Sound Formats and the Current Practical Applications of Ambisonics

2 Literature Review Identified in this section are some of the key documents which have provided the background theoretical foundations in Ambisonic, Acoustic, Spatial Rendering or practical implementations of Ambisonics. Each paper also has comments regarding areas of potential areas of research. Listed in order of publication date. Scientific American, 1881, pages 422-423 (reproduced at http://earlyradiohistory.us/1881opr.htm) Patent for T. A. Edisons phonograph. The patent details both the recording and reproduction elements to the unit that is considered the first stereophonic machine. The patent outlines the technology and discusses the validity of why stereophonic sound is important. This is the building block upon which all further research into spatial audio is built. Gerzon, M.A. (1980) Practical Periphony: The Reproduction of Full Sphere Sound. In 65th Convention of Audio Engineering Society. A key paper relating to the origins of Ambisonics, and one that outlines the philosophical ideals behind the development of the audio format, is Gerzon's Practical Periphony. Details in both the theoretical and practicality of the format are outlined in the paper. Expanding on previous work relating to stereophony and advancing speaker layouts, the paper gives the first account of Ambisonics as it is today. However, the paper is dated due to the technology and replay system used as the cost and implementation of the system has become less involved. Elen, R. (1983) Ambisonic Mixing - An Introduction. Studio Sound, September Issue. Several years into the development of Ambisonics, the first utilisation paper was published. This documented the potential adoption of Ambisonics within a traditional analogue based recording studio using hardware including Ambisonic transcoders and soundfield panners. Elen discusses Ambisonics using traditionally available tools however, since the publishing of this paper computational developments are now available that allow for quicker and easier workflows without the hardware requirements. Ellen's paper created a foundation that has only been built on by few academics (Nettingsmeier and Wiggins). Gerzon, M.A. & Barton, G.J. (1984) Ambisonic Surround-Sound Mixing For Multitrack Studios. Audio Engineering Society 2nd International Conference. Continuing from Elen's paper the year previous, Gerzon proposes Ambisonics for wider use, and claims that the format is both suitable and capable in accurate spatial reflections in ambient, dub or other similar genres of contemporary music. Gerzon details his ideas for future uses, but the paper does not make a full account of the practical implications nor sonic improvements of using Ambisonics. The publishing date leaves the paper lacking in the uptake of digital audio and the change in recording production techniques. 10

A Comparative Analysis of Surround Sound Formats and the Current Practical Applications of Ambisonics

Gerzon, M.A. (1985) Ambisonics in Multichannel Broadcasting and Video. A central paper in Ambisonics, Gerzon further details the abilities of the format as a proposed broadcasting tool. Many concepts and principles are detailed including production methodologies, functionality of Ambisonics in multiple array shapes, transmission format and a technical comparison with quadraphonics. There is an appendices attached to the paper that gives the UHJ decoding equations. Elen, R. (1991) Whatever Happened to Ambisonics ? Audio Media Magazine, November Issue. A magazine article written by Elen less than 10 years later than his original 'Ambisonic Mixing' paper examines the development of Ambisonics, including the failed rise from obscurity, to a perspective to future use. The article can considered relevant in outlook because there has been little documentation or real advancements in the practical use of Ambisonics. Often, the research on Ambisonics continues from Gerzon in optimisation of decoding functions for UHJ or Higher Order Ambisonics (HOA). Bamford, J.S. (1995) An Analysis of Ambisonic Sound Systems of First and Second Order. Theoretical simulation and analysis of several widely used formats are presented in this thesis. The Masters thesis compares Ambisonics to other surround sound systems across a variant of testing criteria: localisation of sounds, loudspeaker distance compensation, feasibility of system production and technical specifications such as phase and frequency. Results conclude favourably towards the Ambisonic format. Research that can be conducted from this thesis would be to include listening tests and the incorporation of Higher Order Ambisonics. By including HOA, vertical information can be assessed against modern competitors such as Dolby Pro Logic IIz. Wiggins, B. (2008) Has Ambisonics Come Of Age? Institute of Acoustics Paper A review paper on Ambisonics, and a perspective on how Ambisonics can be implemented and developed in the future which continues from Ellen's 1991 magazine article. Wiggins discusses the most modern approach to achieve Ambisonics via the digital domain computer based audio plug-ins. The developmental process in the plug-in creation and further use has been indicators of the authors confidence in the success in implementation. The final comment of Ambisonics having finally caught up with Gerzon's original vision of high quality, produceable, reproducible periphonic audio has finally come a reality. Bates, E. (2009) The Composition and Performance of Spatial Music. (Doctoral Thesis) Research into the spatialisation of materials, the perception and also how Ambisonics differs from other audio formats in the perceptual spatial resolution. The contents of this thesis gives details on the perception of hearing which informs the qualitative research proposed in this report. Baume, C. & Churnside, A. (2010) Scaling New Heights In Broadcasting Using Ambisonics. In Proc. of the 2nd International Symposium on Ambisonics and Spherical Acoustics. Paris. This paper further develops a relationship between the British Broadcasting Corporation and Ambisonics. Having previously been heavily involved in the development 11
A Comparative Analysis of Surround Sound Formats and the Current Practical Applications of Ambisonics

of UHJ, the latest investigation into adoption of Ambisonics is detailed in this paper. The research of this paper continues from Bamford's thesis by conducting a series of listening tests to determine if there is a preference between common standards such as stereo and 5.1 over Ambisonics. Concluding that there was no preference between the common audio standard formats ensure that Ambisonic material can cope in listening tests with no disguishment or detrimental effect to the signals. Tutcher, J. (2010) Ambisonic Sound Processing. MEng Project Report. Sound processing of Ambisonics is a digital implementation of Gerzon's original filters and optimal representations of the decoder schematics published in the early 1980s. In this report there contains information of an Ambisonic array being constructed and tested in specific criterion. The array is a first order Ambisonic reproduction array built with consumer grade electronics. Fulwider, M. (2010) Mixing Scenarios For B+ Format Audio. The thesis by Fulwider develops a novel mixing method outside of the common mixing environment using the Digital Audio Workstation Pro-Tools and audio plug-ins. It is based around Chen's B+ Format, not the conventionally used B Format. Despite the differences in the decoding section of the two formats (B, and B+) the operational manner in which the output signals are processed are similar. The matrices and signal path developed which was developed within the DAW share similarities to the analogue decoders in Elen's 1983 paper. In creating a format which can be made in a discrete widely available software allows for material to be prepared and then processed on two separate arrays or computers. Huiberts, S. (2010) Captivating Sound (Doctoral Thesis). Doctoral thesis examining the role of immersion within computer video games. Included in the study is an investigation into the importance of audio to visually dominating entertainment such as computer games. Phillips, E.M. & Pugh, D.S. (2005) How to get A PhD, Fourth Edition, Focal Press. A book outlining both specific details and processes which can be crucial to a successful post-graduate research degree. Information within this book will be applied in ensuring accurate methodology implementation and construct of reports. National Research and Development Corporation, 'Ambisonic Surround Sound System' This document was published with the intention of informing and explaining Ambisonics through development of theory and technology. The paper is unfortunately not dated but it can placed during the 1970s and 1980s. The NRDC was merged with other governmental research bodies during the late 1980s so it is unlikely that the paper was post 1985. 2.4 Future Developments Key conclusions from the literature have shown that despite several recurrences of interest from academic centres few professional practical adoptions of Ambisonics as a reproduction format have been made. 12
A Comparative Analysis of Surround Sound Formats and the Current Practical Applications of Ambisonics

Documentation of Ambisonic array construction and software development has been poorly maintained. The patents are still a primary source of first time Ambisonic developers and users despite there being digital implementations of these functions available. Those that have been documented have used software which comes at financial cost. This cost has been described as a turn off for many producers and Engineers. Commercial developmental costs have to be recouped, but with the format and techniques being under-used resource - there is a movement for maintaining the currently available freeware that has been developed [13]. Despite clear quantitative tests against other widely known audio systems, Ambisonics has, as yet, not had a full sonic comparison to these formats with trained listeners in a working environment such as a recording studio or live sound environment.

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A Comparative Analysis of Surround Sound Formats and the Current Practical Applications of Ambisonics

3 Development of Research area: Ambisonic Production and Reproduction In this section, the research field is defined and the methodologies chosen to carry out the research is outlined in detail. Specific detail is given to the papers and articles which have refined the exact area for further research. 3. 1 Problem Statement A resurgence of interest in the format comes from both academic centres and businesses [3,12,13]. Such renewed interest in the topic has resulted in a broader range of developments. These include continuing the optimisation of decoding functions, mathematical principles of spatial audio soundfield, the abilities of extracting information from the soundfield and models of scenarios where Ambisonics may yield improved results. One specific area of Ambisonics which has not benefited from such research has been the implementation and application of Ambisonics outside of laboratory simulations. As surround sound is becoming a format trend in the audio engineering industry, and a consumer listening favourite [13], specifics relating to the implementation of Ambisonic production require more research. The practical application of Ambisonics outside of simulations have also not been proven against Gerzon's original hypothesis that it can be used for all genres and types of reproduced audio, including traditionally produced music, cinematic soundtracks and computer game audio. 3.2 Hardware Specific Developmental Issues Ambisonic reproduction systems that were developed by Gerzon et all [1] suffered inconsistencies from speaker manufacturing. These inconsistencies were both in the build quality and speaker driver quality varying across those available. Creating large scale high fidelity reproduction arrays, even with 4 speakers, was costly and involved many separate pieces of hardware. The hardware often included decoders, audio panners, tape machines and power amplifiers [14]. Publishing the first Ambisonic decoder design Gerzon described the method of use and outlined the process in his paper [1]. Following research [9,10] examined decoders for specific components and designs used that enable a decoder to be described as 'Ambisonic' in operation. 3.3 Software Specific Developmental Issues Advances in computing power and software development has enabled software designers and researchers to code implementations of the Ambisonic functions [10]. Previous research has outlined the validity of the development process and implementation of some of these decoders. Heller [9] produced two papers which compared decoders against each other in various tests of signal quality, audio output and functionality. 3.4 Solutions for Problems Developmental and realisation issues that were raised by Gerzon [1,7,15] could be overcome by using smaller sized speaker cabinets. The speakers could also be internally powered reducing further hardware and cabling. Implementation of these smaller, lighter speakers meant that arrays could include height information without requiring bulky stands.

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A Comparative Analysis of Surround Sound Formats and the Current Practical Applications of Ambisonics

One such example is the project Cube [16]. 3.5 Modern Digital Production Methods Changing from magnetic tape to digital hard disk recording was to be a potential breakthrough for developers in spatial audio, and specifically those researching Ambisonics. Two main reasons for this are improvements in digital implementation of Gerzon's functions and quality retention throughout the process post-recording. 3.6 Solutions & Motivation 3.6.1 Motivation Motivation which informed the research is to identify, through a measured response of the audio engineering community, the currently upheld views on a perspective adoption of Ambisonics as their surround sound audio format of choice. The methodology chosen is to conduct a qualitative and quantitative study of Ambisonics in the current form, form a technical perspective but also include a social perceptive study taking the reproduced material qualities into account. Further details are contained in section 5. Without information relating to the public perception of surround audio and how that correlates to the professional attitudes held then commercial developments may progress at a lesser rate than otherwise. Further to this there has been little research conducted into the spatial qualities when decoding functions are compared. A large number of decoders may appear to be more transparent or accurate under laboratory conditions but under musical tests signals and decoding to real arrays the reality may somewhat differ. 3.6.2 Production Methodologies The methodologies currently employed by the majority of recording producing musicians and recording engineers follow a pattern of signal path to finished audio file. Described below can be considered to be entirely digital post-recording capsule as the processing and Revolves several key similarities: Method of reproduction will be stereophonic Will use Digital Audio Workstation software, commonly Avid's ProTools or Apple's Logic Studio. A large proportion of signal processing is done natively to the computer, using audio plug-ins. Many of the plug-ins have basis on hardware versions. Examples are Waves LA2A implementation of the Urei Levelling Amplifier 3.6.3 Solutions for Digital Ambisonic recordings and distribution have been restricted until recent technological developments in computing power, data storage and transmission [10]. Speaker quality and availability of similar characteristics within speakers have also been important factors since Gerzon's early tests in the 1970s. Outlined by Gerzon in [15] details the problems encountered with arrays of mismatching speakers and consistency of quality. These developments have given rise to new opportunities for creation and distribution using Ambisonics as the primary surround audio format. Due to the platform agnostic nature of Ambisonics, files can be transferred between PC systems or any surround sound replay system with no loss in quality resulting in the ability to distribute spatially accurate files for replay on any size of system has becomes a reality. 15
A Comparative Analysis of Surround Sound Formats and the Current Practical Applications of Ambisonics

As 3.6.2 detailed, many engineers and producers are choosing to work solely in the digital environment for their audio creation and processing. For a format such as Ambisonics that can provide high resolution spatial audio.

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A Comparative Analysis of Surround Sound Formats and the Current Practical Applications of Ambisonics

4 Aims and Objectives of study: This section details the initial questions which have prompted the research, while including the objective stages that are required for completion. 4.1 Aims of Study No single piece of literature has encapsulated the issues surrounding Ambisonics being used as a universal audio production and reproduction format. There has been research into the qualities of reproduction [17], methods of reproduction [18] and case studies into the use [2,3] but not a sufficient body of work created with the purpose to discern if Ambisonics can be used in the field across all aspects of audio. Previous papers [2] found that many video game players and music listeners are finding Ambisonically encoded audio to be almost indistinguishable from currently used surround formats. Continuing from these studies, this research aims to gather data regarding qualitative data derived from listening tests conducted in sub-optimal environments such as the home. Varying materials of music, game audio and film clips will be the three primary categories of audio. Each of these three categories will have a mixture of material which can be considered extremely spacious and reverberant to very dry direct sounds produced around the listening array. The aims of this investigational study are to answer the following specific questions: What caused Ambisonics to fail during the 1970s? The popularity of 'immersive experiences' with technologies such as 3D has this created the market for immersive surround, such as Ambisonics? Could Ambisonics be successfully applied within the home environment markets successfully within: Games Audio, Cinematic Audio and Music? If Ambisonics is deemed appropriate, what are the perceived obstacles by potential users?

4.2 Objectives of Study The objectives of this study are to provide answers and quantitative data to address the following questions: What are the views of surround sound held by the audio industry? Does Ambisonics provide the user with a heightened experience in comparison with other surround sound formats? Which of the currently available formats are used, and in which industry? What is the public perception of Ambisonics? Is there a demand for 3D spatial audio formats such as Ambisonics because of the sound quality quality and technological advantages? How can Ambisonics be implemented into the film, gaming and music industries as the universal recording, transmission and replay formats? In the first instance, the industry survey will allow for a detailed account of the current attitudes and requirements. This would in many other fields be taken as a review paper, however, with no previous research done in the field to draw on one has to be conducted. The information which can be gathered from this survey will give specific figures on the numbers of commercial and home users of surround sound systems, as well as details on the size and positioning of the systems. Attitudes towards surround sound systems have 17
A Comparative Analysis of Surround Sound Formats and the Current Practical Applications of Ambisonics

also not been gauged - therefore the marketing, product design and importance of surround sound systems in the larger Audio community could turn out to be misguided. Further detailed information on the types of audio replay formats which are currently employed by producers of surround sound content has also been neglected. Each of these questions can be answered by three areas of specific research: An audio engineering industry study into the use and interest in spatial audio, with specifics to consumer 5.1 replay systems. Providing qualitative data involving the sonic characteristics of Ambisonic arrays and decoders. The data will be generated by a series of perceptual tests that will involve three types of programme materials: Games, Music and Film. Creating a general guide to incorporating Ambisonics into the existing work flows within the field of Audio. 4.3 Methods of Research In this section there are two main elements to the research which are categorised under qualitative and quantitative research. Each of the two separate methodologies employed will be detailed under 4.3.1. 4.3.1. Qualitative Research It is important to include a qualitative method of research as described by [21] in order to assure for accurate results. A contrast to qualitative research, the quantitative aspect of research will measure the perceived quality of Ambisonics through a specifically designed listening tests and surveys [19.2-]. The listening tests are designed to measure the immersive quality and perceptual awareness of the reproduction formats. Across all the materials there is a theme of using surround information as much as is relevance for the programme material requires. In order to test the audio formats for their perceptual and immersive qualities a front end Graphic User Interface [GUI] has to be created in conjunction with the methodology of testing that has been chosen. The methodology that has been chosen is the International Telecommunications Union's ITU-R BS1116-1, or Multiple Stimuli with Hidden References and Anchor (MUSHRA) [19]. The ITU created this methodology of testing perceptual audio systems to ensure that perception of quality can be measured similar to 'blind' testing methods used in other fields. 4.3.1.1. Perceptual Testing Humans, by nature, perceive sounds differently both in frequency content and amplitude. This is a combination of the biological construction of the ear but also in how the brain interprets sounds. Due to the inconsistencies in hearing a standard test must be performed on a test group to ensure a median or result can be obtained [19]. In this research, a perceptually qualitative methodology will be applied using the MUSHRA subjective evaluation protocol [20]. The protocol uses a number of test samples along with a hidden reference, one or more anchors and the reference sample. Recommendation of using the anchors is to create an 'absolute scale' by ensuring minor artefacts are not rated in having poorer quality than the reference.

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A Comparative Analysis of Surround Sound Formats and the Current Practical Applications of Ambisonics

4.3.1.2. Selection of Subjects The test subjects who have chosen to participate in the study are a mixture of professionals with learned hearing abilities and those who have no professional training. Those with 'professional' listening abilities have been picked by their previous work in audio, either in live sound or in studio recordings. The audio engineers will not be chosen on their work within a particular field or genre of music, but instead on their abilities. The participants who have little or no formal listening training will be chosen at random. A mixture of age and sex will be maintained as to ensure no bias will be introduced. 4.3.1.3. Selection of test Materials Material selection was informed by the three large industries that currently use 5.1 audio formats as their surround sound format of choice. These three industries are; Audio Industry Film Industry Computer Game Industry 4.3.2. Quantitative Research Details on Ambisonics in numbers of perceptual differences when compared with other surround sound audio formats. If a substantial amount of participants can hear the differences in the formats, then a result can be drawn describing the nature of the change. The general trend can be used to describe, alongside the qualitative data, to illustrate the perceived advantages for incorporation into modern productions. 4.3.2.1. Focus Group A focus group will be held prior to the release of the study (detailed in 4.3.3) to create an understanding of where surround sound has currently made an impression on home and studio environments. 4.3.2.1.1. Group Selection Selection for the focus group has been chosen with similar aspects to those in 4.3.1.2, 'Selection of subjects'. Despite having a smaller number of participants a careful consideration has been made to ensure equal audio professionals and consumers are represented in the discussions. 4.3.3. Study / Questionnaire The participants for the study will be chosen through their professional association with several widely known internet communities and audio engineering bodies. Surveying a wide range of Audio Engineers to calculate their attitudes and response to equipment and formats has only been done previously on smaller sample sizes [3]. A reason for this is unknown. Large communities and forums for gathering such data are readily available (such as the Audio Engineering Society) and have yet to be utilised. In this research a similar methodology will be used in medical or governmental studies by asking simple questions to large audiences. The survey will include questions on current production methodologies, equipment utilisation and for opinions on surround sound in a wider sense. Upon collation of the data it is hoped that clear trends on opinions will emerge so that the future development of Ambisonics, in conjunction with the qualitative data, can inform future research to specific end-users. 19
A Comparative Analysis of Surround Sound Formats and the Current Practical Applications of Ambisonics

4.3.3.1. Purpose Using the internet communities to gather data from can be of use [21] to demonstrate a series of relevant issues or details. In this instance, details such as geographic location, age range, experience of surround listening and information regarding listening environment can be gathered for further examination. 4.3.3.1.1. Procedures and Design In order to ensure anonymity, the survey will be carried out through a third party (such as Survey Monkey or Google Documents) so no IP logging can be made on the participants. All of the details which the user submits will give the information to the conclude results. The design of the survey is to minimise end user confusion while maximising usable information for results. The participant will require to answer all the questions which are specifically aimed at producing a clear positive or negative result in preference of the Ambisonic format.

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5 Originality of Research The proposed comparative analysis between Ambisonics and several other surround formats, using a variant of materials across the genres and industries, will conclude if there is a preference or requirement for a format such as Ambisonics. Using both qualitative and quantitative methodologies of surveys and listening tests will establish if there is an audible preference which is measurable or if the preference is subjective with a correlation to the type of listening material used. This section contains the measure by which originality of this research can be considered against. A new or improved product A new theory or reinterpretation of an existing theory A new or improved research tool or technique A new or improved model or perspective There are many examples: a book, synthetic food or fabric. Examples of this are Darwin's Theory of Evolution or Einstein's Theory of Relativity An example would be a measuring device; computer package or equipment. A new interpretation of knowledge, such as the thinking of time as being a fourth dimension. Giving a field an opportunity to be studied which has been neglected, e.g.: moons of Jupiter This is a particularly useful starting point where the main features of the work are not known at the outset. Examples might be an analysis or reanalysis of a governmental policy. Professionals in many fields can produce these.

An in-depth study

An exploration of a topic, area or field

A critical analysis A portfolio of work based on research A fact or conclusion or a collection of facts or conclusions

Common outcome in most fields. An example being determining a constant in crime on housing estates. [Table1: Cryer, undated.]

Using the table as a guide [21], there are a variant of areas under which the proposed research will fulfil the criteria in the table. Each of the points has been highlighted and further explanation of reasoning provided. Previous original work. Gerzon and Ellen's work detailing a practical use of Ambisonics, optimisation of a workflow and stylistic preference amongst users can all be built upon using a combination of both the qualitative and quantitative methods outlined. Continuation of the results gained by Codemasters [2] and the BBC [3], further original investigation on perceptive and subjective quality can be done.

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A Comparative Analysis of Surround Sound Formats and the Current Practical Applications of Ambisonics

Providing single piece of new work. Otherwise not original. The results found under the Surround Sound questionnaire will provide some quantitative data on the industry tools currently used, and the methods under which they are used. Tentative studies provided unsurprising data, however, without confirmation of conjectures on the attitudes towards surround sound these cannot be used as definite. Testing someone else's idea Gerzon previously outlined and identified a use for Ambisonics beyond classical music recording and production, which is the mainstay of use for many users. An adaptation in using modern computing power instead of analogue hardware decoders creates the ability to decode any materials, non-specific to genre and computer platform, to Ambisonic. Empirical testing. The listening tests [in support of point 6] allow for the empirical tests which shall provide data into the listening specifics characteristics of Ambisonic decoders against other formats. Known material, new results. As the lower order Ambisonic format has been well established, there are certain test materials that have become synonymous with perceptual direction in Ambisonic arrays. This specific audio file will be used as a calibration reference in the user's array. Any amplitude changes the user makes will be submitted as data and can be used to examine the user's perception of amplitude in the array. Technique in new area. Development of the test materials for point 6 and point 7 require documentation of these techniques. This will beyond the depth in which anyone has used empirical tests before using the Ambisonic format. New Evidence in an old area. Ambisonics as a field originated in the 1970s and therefore any work which continues from Gerzon may be considered to be new evidence in the area. The process of using Ambisonics in commercially work flows and using data gathered from various sources (questionnaire and listening tests) will be used as evidence to build an argument for adoption of Ambisonics as a universal format of encoding and decoding audio.

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6 Thesis Outline Below is an outline of the contents page in the thesis. The contents page contains the sections and subheadings which will be required in order to both inform of previous research but also illustrate where the new research can be found. Contents 1 Introduction 1.1 Background Theory 1.2 Research Foundation 1.3 Aims and Objectives 1.4 Structure of Report The introduction section allows the reader to become more familiar with the concepts that Ambisonics was developed from. Background theory, developmental patents and the fundamentals of mathematical principles that Ambisonics uses. 2 Hearing and Cues Underlying Theory behind Spatialisation 2.1 Human Perception / Positioning in Space 2.1.1 Stereo & HRTF Technologies 2.1.2 Beyond Stereo Fields 2.2 Ambisonic Introduction and Theory 2.2.1 First Order 2.2.2 Second Order 2.2.3 Spherical Harmonic Representation for Higher Orders Ambisonics (HOA) Human hearing can be affected by a wide variant of issues, stemming from hearing loss to natural differences between ears. This section allows for an in depth consideration of how listeners can perceive spatial information, with specific information on Ambisonics, and how natural recordings can be created while observing the natural limitations in the hearing system. 3 Surround Sound Replay Systems 3.1 Currently Available Systems 3.1.1 Dot One 3.1.2 Ambisonics 3.1.3 WFS+ 3.1.4 Binaural / Ambiophonics 3.2 Listening Tests & Comparison 3.3 Testing Details 3.3.1 Music 3.3.2 Film 3.3.3 Computer Video Games 3.3.4 Other Programme Material 3.4 Results and Initial Conclusions Section 3 covers the major systems which have been adopted. The section contains information on each of the systems as well as their importance in the collection of qualitative data. The results from each of the systems will give important indicators as to the success in achieving the desirable natural sound outlined in Section 2. 23
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4 Decoding 4.1 Purpose of Decoding 4.1.1 Analogue Decoders 4.1.2 Digital Decoders 4.1.3 Determining Q Factor 4.2 Commercialisation of Decoders 4.2.1 Basic Requirements of Decoders 4.2.2 Optimisation of Decoders Future Improvements

4.3

Ambisonics, as outlined in Sections 1 through 3, is entirely dependent on the implementation of the output decoding of signals. Section 4 provides more in depth information relating to the specifics to decoding including their theoretical basis and current digital implementations. 5 Current Ambisonic Productions & Workflows 5.1 Previous Examples 5.2 Case Studies 5.2.1 Survey on Ambisonic Awareness 5.2.1.1 Audio Engineers 5.2.1.2 Consumers 5.2.1.3 Conclusions Listening Tests 5.3.1 Details & Participants 5.3.2 Music 5.3.3 Film 5.3.4 Games 5.3.5 Experience 5.4 Listening Test Conclusion

5.3

Production values of Audio Engineers have always been practitioners of their craft, and therefore the currently available documentation for Ambisonic workflows cannot be considered orthodox or standardised. Listening surveys will provide information on the 'sonic qualities' of the decoder. A production diary kept while creating the test materials will be used in this section to highlight incorporation issues in modern audio digital workflows, leading into section 6. Chapter 5 features the majority of original research detail. 6 Successful Integration of Ambisonics: Projection 6.1 Decoders: Quality Factors & Implementation 6.2 Speaker Quality & Size 6.3 Production Workflows 6.4 Conclusion

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A Comparative Analysis of Surround Sound Formats and the Current Practical Applications of Ambisonics

Finally, the last section concludes the research and alludes to future developments which may aide Ambisonics. 7 Conclusion In the final section the conclusions will be drawn from the research in sections 5 and section 6. Scope of Thesis The scope of the thesis will be to encompass a section of the population, specifically trained listeners and those in the Audio Industry, to gauge the understanding and opinion of Ambisonics. Simultaneously there are procedures outlined which demonstrate the potential of the format. These demonstrations are then critically tested to a group of listeners. Using a combination of development of materials and critically testing materials, all aspects of process can be documented. Specific areas of research that shall not be covered include furthering the developments in Ambisonic decoder design, optimisation of the mathematical functions related to specific audio material and listener positioning within different array types.

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A Comparative Analysis of Surround Sound Formats and the Current Practical Applications of Ambisonics

7 Progress Since October 2009, the Ambisonic & Spatial Audio Research Group (ASARG) has been created under the School of Computing department. The group has the primary function of researching and sharing knowledge within the field of sound reproduction. In the below section, 7.1, details are given as to the research and objectives that have been completed since October 2009. 7.1 Completed Research Since December 2009, a large proportion of available Ambisonic software has been critically evaluated under common criterion. The purpose of these evaluations was to discern and investigate the current available software that is marketed with the purpose of being an Ambisonic encoder or decoder. This research has informed the software that will be used in the qualitative data field work. During the evaluation of the Ambisonic decoders, an investigation that compared the hardware implementations against software implementations with respect to the original mathematical functions which dictate and make a decoder Ambisonic. This paper was accepted for the Audio Engineering Societys 128th Conference in London, held during February 2010. In December 2010, a second paper was accepted and presented to the Audio Engineering Society, 41st International Audio For Games conference. The accepted work was a review paper of the currently available computer games which have adopted the Ambisonic format, a question as to why the format hasn't been more widely adopted and a conclusion of greater universal acceptance for Ambisonics outside of a single developer. 7.2 Research to be completed In this section there will be more specifics given into each of the three main parts of the research, with emphasis on equipment and skills required. Content Creation & Equipment Specification In each of the three main categories of testing (Music, Film and Game Audio) there will be three tracks available for listening. Each of these tracks will require (under MUSHRA [19] guidelines) a reference, Ambisonic, 5.1 mix, Stereo, Hidden Reference and Anchor. The ability to produce these different 'formats' has been made possible by using digital decoders, and therefore the content creation will result in the largest part of the necessary work. The software required for the user interface will be written and produced in conjunction with an MSc student. Guidelines and absolute requirements for the software are still being finalised at the time of this report. Qualitative Data Test As outlined above, the listening environment will require the ability to replay in the changing array shapes of First Order Ambisonics, 5.1 ITU and Stereophonic. The chosen array is an 8 speaker circle that encompasses the listening position. A computer interface and Digital to Audio (D/A) sound card will be required so the subject can use the interface to select the pieces of test material themselves. The ability for the user to seamlessly move between formats removes any influence from those leading the test.

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A Comparative Analysis of Surround Sound Formats and the Current Practical Applications of Ambisonics

Quantitative Data The equipment required for creation is minimal, aside from a personal computer and access to Survey Monkey or Google Documents. As the survey closes, specialist software such as SPSS Modeller will be used to analyse and provide conclusive results.

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A Comparative Analysis of Surround Sound Formats and the Current Practical Applications of Ambisonics

Timetable

The following table is the proposed schedule for the research that has been covered in detail within sections 4,5 and 6. July, 2011 August, 2011 September, 2011 October, 2011 November, 2011 Begin to construct Java interfaces An initial focus group meeting Continuation of testing interface quantitative survey completed and open for submissions Beta test of interface Qualitative field work begins Quantitative survey closes for submissions Qualitative data condensed Qualitative field work ends Qualitative results available for publishing. Completion of Qualitative data analysis Contingency time for testing and data analysis Analysis & checking of all data sets Thesis introduction and initial sections completed Results chapter completed Thesis conclusions completed Submission of thesis Viva examination Contingency time for thesis amendments Completion of studies.

June, 2011

December, 2011 January, 2012 February, 2012 March, 2012 April, 2012 May, 2012 June, 2012 July, 2012 August, 2012 September, 2012

Due to the methodologies of research for the quantitative data set, the survey can be run concurrently to the qualitative data, as it will be conducted via Survey Monkey. The qualitative data will be gathered on site at the University of the West of Scotland campus using an array of 8 speakers and select test materials. Each of the test subjects will be required to listen to each of the specific samples and compare them on various specific criteria. The main aim of these tests is to critically evaluate the immersive qualities across music, games audio and film audio with selected audio formats with the results providing a reference point in which further spatial and psycho-acoustical research.

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9.0 Professional Development In this section the professional developmental activities that have taken place since October 2009 are listed. 9.1 Recording Research 4 Ambisonic recordings, and follow-up case study papers made. West of Scotland Concert Band Scott Tenant (Grammy award winning classical guitar player) Amanda Cook (Classical Guitar player) field recordings of crowd noise Other recordings were also upmixed into Ambisonic: Hot Jupiter - A three piece acoustic blues band. Nude Pilots - A hardcore punk band. Advisor on 4th year Honours Project November 2009 January 2010 French Honours student researching protocols transmitted wirelessly, with specifics on multichannel audio. 9.2 Commercial and Academic Contacts Conference attendance Ambisonics and Spatial Audio Symposium, IRCAM, Paris. 128th Audio Engineering Society Conference, Novotel, London. 2nd Conference on Games Audio Audio Engineering Society, BAFTA, London University Visits York University Dave Malham Hull University, Scarborough Campus Joseph Anderson Derby University Bruce Wiggins Company Visits British Broadcasting Corporation Tony Churnside and Chris Baume. ARUP Iain Laird 9. 3 Undergraduate Course Involvement Attended and voiced opinions on course direction and materials for both 2009/2010 and 2010/2011 sessions. Suggested and maintained requirement for Live Sound (or Sound Reinforcement) modules to be retained in course as the work environment and skills are highly transferrable and desired within industry. Teaching / Demonstrating Role Used previously attained skills in creative video editing to lecture in Audio Visual Integration [3rd year undergraduate module] alongside Dr. M. Carey. years. Assisted Dr. F. Clark in delivering Audio Signal Processing module to 3 rd

Helped develop and deliver Sound Reinforcement 1 and Sound Reinforcement 2. C. Grassie and Dr. D. Turner are principle lecturers. 29
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References [1] Gerzon, M.A. (1980) Practical Periphony: The Reproduction of Full Sphere Sound. In 65th Convention of Audio Engineering Society. [2] Goodwin, S.N. (2009) How Players Listen. In AES 35th International Conference.London. [3] Baume, C. & Churnside, A. (2010) Scaling New Heights In Broadcasting Using Ambisonics. In Proc. of the 2nd International Symposium on Ambisonics and Spherical Acoustics. Paris. [4] Feaster, P. (2008) Phonautograph Patent no. 31470, A Critical Edition. English translation. [5] Patent for T. A. Edisons phonograph, Scientific American, 1881, pages 422-423 (reproduced at http://earlyradiohistory.us/1881opr.htm) [6] Mullin, Jack, "Discovering Magnetic Tape," Broadcast Engineering, Intertec Publishing, Overland Park, KS, May 1979. [7] Gerzon, M.A. & Barton, G.J. (1984) Ambisonic Surround-Sound Mixing For Multitrack Studios. In Audio Engineering Society 2nd International Conference. [8] Blumlein, A.D. (1932) Improvements in and relating to Sound-transmission, Soundrecording and Sound-reproduction Systems. [9] Heller, A.J., Lee, R. & Benjamin, E.M. (2008) Is My Decoder Ambisonic ? In Audio Engineering Society 125th Convention. [10] Horsburgh, A.J. & Clark, D.F. (2010) Ambisonic Decoders ; Is Historical Hardware the Future ? In Audio Engineering Society 128th Convention. London. [11] Horsburgh, A.J., Mcalpine, K. & Clark, D.F. (2011) A PERSPECTIVE ON THE ADOPTION OF AMBISONICS FOR GAMES. In Audio Engineering Society's 41 st International Conference, London. [12] Goodwin, S.N. (2009) 3D Sound for 3D Games - Beyond 5.1. In Audio Engineering Society 35th International Conference. London. [13] Wiggins, B. (2008) Has Ambisonics Come Of Age? Institute of Acoustics Paper [14] Elen, R. (1983) Ambisonic Mixing - An Introduction. Studio Sound, September Issue. [15] Gerzon, M.A. (1985) Ambisonics in Multichannel Broadcasting and Video. Audio Engineering Society. [16] A self-built cube Ambisonic reproduction array. Accessed 1/6/11. http://cabezal.com/~inguz/cube/ [17] Guastavino, C., Larcher, V., Catusseau, G. & Boussard, P. (2007) Spatial Audio Evaluation: Comparing Transaural, Ambisonics and Stereo. 13th International Conference on Auditory Display. 30
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[18] Bamford, J.S. (1995) An Analysis of Ambisonic Sound Systems of First and Second Order. (Masters Thesis) [19] Gerzon, M.A. Criteria for Evaluating Surround-Sound Systems. Journal of the Audio Engineering Society. [20] Assembly, I.R. (2003) ITU-R BS . 1534-1: Method for the subjective assessment of intermediate quality level of coding systems. [21] Cryer, P. (2006), The Researchers Guide to Success. [22] Elen, R. (1991) Whatever Happened to Ambisonics ? Audio Media Magazine, November Issue. [23] Gerzon, M.A. (1975) Recording Concert Hall Acoustics For Posterity. Journal of the Audio Engineering Society Tutcher, J. (2010) Ambisonic Sound Processing. MEng Project Report. Fulwider, M. (2010) Mixing Scenarios For B+ Format Audio. (Masters thesis) Huiberts, S. (2010) Captivating Sound (Doctoral Thesis).

Tables TABLE1; Definitions of original research. Taken from Cryer, 2006.[21] TABLE2; Revised time table of research. Accurate as of May 2011.

Appendix A: Papers Horsburgh, A.J. & Clark, D.F. (2010) Ambisonic Decoders ; Is Historical Hardware the Future ? In Audio Engineering Society 128th Convention. London. 31
A Comparative Analysis of Surround Sound Formats and the Current Practical Applications of Ambisonics

Abstract: Ambisonic recordings aim to create full sphere audio fields through using a multi-capsule microphone and algorithms based on a meta-theory as proposed by Gerzon [11]. Until recently, Ambisonic decoding was solely implemented using hardware. Recent advances in computing power now allow for software decoders to supersede hardware units. It is therefore of interest to determine which of the hardware or software decoders provide the most accurate decoding of Ambisonic B-format signals. In this paper, we present a comparison between hardware and software decoders with respect to their frequency and phase relationships to determine the most accurate reproduction. Results show that software is able to decode the files with little colouration compared to hardware circuits. It is possible to see which implementation of the analogue or digital decoders match the behavioural characteristics of an ideal decoder. Horsburgh, A.J., Mcalpine, K. & Clark, D.F. (2011) A PERSPECTIVE ON THE ADOPTION OF AMBISONICS FOR GAMES. In Audio Engineering Society's 41 st International Conference, London. Abstract: In this paper the history of Ambisonics in computer gaming is presented, then described with a discussion of its current adoption and implementation, concluded by an examination of the role Ambisonic technology might have in the future of games audio. Surround formats, such as Dolby 5.1 Surround, have been used effectively within the computer games sector for over 10 years, with format used almost exclusively in some genres. However, recent developments in processing power and advancements in gameaudio engines (such as OpenAL incorporation [1], [2]]) it has become possible to use Ambisonics as an alternative surround audio format in all video games. There are currently only a limited number of game titles which use Ambisonic materials, and these have not yet been systematically catalogued. Appendix B: DAW Survey The user group of Ultimate Metal forum is a widely respected internet community who follow the latest in audio technology and applied uses. The survey was a short questionnaire detailing methods, equipment and demographic information about the participant. The results are currently unpublished but informed several small components of the research due to their nature. A journal article is currently in production with the results with a view to publish. Appendix C: Articles On the author's website [www.ajhorsburgh.com] there are several articles which relate to audio engineering, current affairs in Ambisonics and experience in working with Ambisonic. Each of these articles have been written with an informal presentation but serve to inform the general interest of other Audio Engineers.

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