The first 36 hours of the YARRA 3DX Kickstarter campaign are behind us and the support has been beyond our wildest dreams. We topped our initial funding goal of $50,000 in less than 4 hours and pledges continued to pour in throughout the day. Right now there are almost 500 backers and the funding total is nearing $200,000. It seems there is great interest in a small, affordable, 3D sound bar. If you haven’t had a chance to check out the campaign, there are still units available at 50% off the suggested retail price or $599.
The company behind the YARRA 3DX technology touts it as the “world’s first, affordable” beamforming sound bar…and it is. I got some push back from a few potential customers informing me that the Yamaha line of sound bars have been doing this sort of thing for years. In fact, Yamaha makes a very solid sound bar but it is based on 10 year old technology. Improvements in DSP-based sound field modeling have dramatically improved over the past decade putting the YARRA 3DX unit in a class by itself — especially at less than $1000. The inventor of the MyBeam™ branded technology tucked inside the YARRA 3DX box is Peter Otto, a fellow Cal Arts music composition student in the late 1980s. When I asked him about the comparison with the Yamaha technology, he was complimentary about their sound bar and explained how YARRA 3DX differs.
First, the Yamaha bar is most effective when used in a symmetrical space. Unlike the transaural functionality of the YARRA 3DX unit, the Yamaha box bounces sounds off of the side walls to convince you that there are sounds at your sides or behind you. They use beamforming to direct the sound past your head — we shoot the properly processed left and right channels directly at your ears. Peter told me today that he’s getting 30 dB of crosstalk cancellation between your left and right ears! That’s a phenomenal amount of separation.
Technology always moves on. The Yamaha team visited the UC San Diego spatial audio lab and “kicked the tires” of the new sound field modelling technology developed at the university (which has been licensed to the Comhear company). They may also have wanted to see if their intellectual property was somehow at risk. The new patents work differently than those licensed by Yamaha and deliver 3D audio without using ultrasonic carriers (used by some other directional audio companies and reported to be potentially harmful to human hearing) and wall reflections.
So is the YARRA 3DX really the first, affordable beamforming sound bar. Most definitely yes. There are others but they are not affordable by any standard – over $50K or times more than the YARRA 3DX. I actually pledged $599 for two units myself. I can’t actually call them Christmas presents but some members of the Waldrep family are going to get immersive surround sound sometime in the first quarter of next year.
Contributing to our Kickstarter Campaign would be most appreciated. Here’s the link:YARRA 3DX Campaign