I mentioned briefly in my first post from the 2015 CES Show that David Chesky introduced me to his Ph.D. friend Edgar Choueiri on the first evening of the show. This is the guy that has updated the use of binaural recording and reproduction technology so that it can work in a room driven by only a couple of speakers. While the rest of the world seems content on elevating headphones as the ultimate way to experience recorded music, Dr. Choueiri wants to bring the world of 3D audio into your living room…and he seems to be making some progress. This is one of my doctoral areas of study and thus I’m very interested in what 30 years of technology advancements have brought to binaural recording.
When I entered the room and met the professor, he picked up a vintage stereoscope and handed it to me. This is what we are doing…only we’re working on the sense of hearing rather than sight. In case you haven’t been rummaging around your local antique store looking for a stereoscope, you may be more familiar with the updated children’s toy versions that had discs to deliver 3D visual stories. They looked more like binoculars, you held them up to the light and presto, and the images really did appear in 3D space. The magic happens because the content intended for the right eye gets ONLY to the right eye and the left content gets only to the left eye. That’s the miracle of 3D movies in the theaters or at home.
I couldn’t sleep last night and ended watching the Martin Scorsese directed movie “Hugo” last night from midnight to 2 am on my 65″ Panasonic. It paled in comparison to the 3D IMAX version that I experienced when it was first released. I’m a big fan of 3D done right…if you haven’t seen “Hugo” in 3D, it’s on my highly recommended list.
Dr. Choureiri’s system is called BACCH-SP and is available for purchase a selected high-end audio retailers. The SP stands for stereo purifier. The retail price is $55,000. But what does it do?
While I was waiting to get a chance to experience the 3D sound demo, David Chesky positioned himself in the single chair in the demo space while Dr. Choureiri did a few measurements. It seems the key to getting the best possible experience from your processor is to fully calibrate the unit to your individual situation. This includes setting up the speakers in the exactly the right place. In the demo room, they rather small speakers were not more than 4-6 feet away from the listening position. Then there’s the head tracker. Yep, the unit uses an infrared head track that follows the position, rotation, and elevation of your head as you move around in front of the unit and playback speakers. The setup is done using an iPad app and it establishes physical limits to how far you can move before the crosstalk cancellation ceases to work.
I’ll keep writing on this tomorrow…got to get my late afternoon nap.