Dr. AIX's POSTS — 13 September 2017

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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

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About Author

Dr. AIX

Mark Waldrep, aka Dr. AIX, has been producing and engineering music for over 40 years. He learned electronics as a teenager from his HAM radio father while learning to play the guitar. Mark received the first doctorate in music composition from UCLA in 1986 for a “binaural” electronic music composition. Other advanced degrees include an MS in computer science, an MFA/MA in music, BM in music and a BA in art.

As an engineer and producer, Mark has worked on projects for the Rolling Stones, 311, Tool, KISS, Blink 182, Blues Traveler, Britney Spears, the San Francisco Symphony, The Dover Quartet, Willie Nelson, Paul Williams, The Allman Brothers, Bad Company and many more.

Dr. Waldrep has been an innovator when it comes to multimedia and music. He created the first enhanced CDs in the 90s, the first DVD-Videos released in the U.S., the first web-connected DVD, the first DVD-Audio title, the first music Blu-ray disc and the first 3D Music Album. Additionally, he launched the first High Definition Music Download site in 2007 called iTrax.com.

A frequency speaker at audio events, author of numerous articles, Dr. Waldrep is currently writing a book on the production and reproduction of high-end music called, “High-End Audio: A Practical Guide to Production and Playback”. The book should be completed in the fall of 2013.

(10) Readers Comments

  1. Received following in a newsletter yesterday but no follow up today at noon ? What’s up ?

    So here’s the deal. There will be an email newsletter going out tomorrow at exactly 12 noon PDT (Pacific Daylight Time). It will contain the link to the Kickstarter page AND describe the process of securing your own unit (or multiple units if you like). I have a dedicated YARRA 3DX VIP sign up list but I’m going to include people on the RealHD-Audio list as well. You’ll get this email only once, I promise. But the first 1000 people that back the campaign can get the YARRA 3DX sound bar, subwoofer, setup DVD, YARRA 3DX app, AND 6 AIX Records surround albums of their choice for 50% off the MSRP of $599. You spend $299 and get a state-of-the-art sound bar that looks great, sounds great, and provides immersive 3D sound for music, gaming, AR/AR, and home theater

    • Dave, if your email is anywhere in one of my lists (iTrax, RealHD-Audio, AIX Records, or YARRA 3DX subscriber), you should have received an email at precisely noon on Tuesday. Not to worry, there are still some 50% discounted units available. Here’s the link to the newsletter: YARRA 3DX Campaign

      • Confused Mark, I have been on your mailer from time zero so assume HD Trax and definitely Yarra’s VIP list since you kindly introduced us to this effort. I thought your offer to include 6 AIX labels was icing on the cake. Is it possible to include this promotion ?

        • Dave, I just checked on my email management system and your email was found. Maybe the newsletter went into the SPAM folder or something. If you become a backer of the YARRA 3DX campaign, you’ll receive the 6 AIX Records offer.

  2. I’m not sure if I ended up using the right Kickstarter link or not. I expected to see some mention of the 6 albums on a special Kickstarter page but did not. After clicking around for awhile I went ahead and became a supporter not too long after noon PDT.

  3. Hi Mark, Well, I did it. I popped for the $300 package. I usually wouldn’t have done that without being able to audition the product before I dropped the money. But I trust your judgement and it seems like the Yarra is definitely worth the $300. I was worried more about the quality of the sound than the actual 3d surround sound.

    I know that they claim to have HiRez certification but that is for things other than the actual sound. But knowing what a stickler you are for good sound, I have to believe that it will meet my expectations. I was just worried about the 33mm drivers. They seem so small. Do you think that they will ever upscale the soundbar? Going to 50mm shouldn’t make the bar all that much longer.

    Anyway, now the wait begins. It will seem like a long 6 months or more. I know how these things go. We’ll probably be lucky to get them by June of next year.

    • Kit, thanks for the support. You won’t be disappointed. The size of the drivers isn’t the issue. In fact, for beamforming purposes, the closer the drivers are the sharper the beams. I’ll make you a bet — you’ll have a YARRA 3DX unit before the end of the first quarter.

      • Thanks Mark. No bets, but I’ll be happy as a pig in new mud if it comes in then. LOL I presently have a BOSE soundbar with the TV in the living and an old fashion 5.1 separate speaker system down in the family room. Not sure where I’ll put the Yarra yet, but probably downstairs. I listen to most of my music there but music sounds good through the BOSE too, even though it is only a 2.1 system.

        Thanks again for bringing this system to all your faithful followers attention. I might not have known about it otherwise.

  4. Hello Mark thanks for all the info and keep up the good fight for fidelity. I’m eagerly awaiting a YARRA 3DX bought on your recommendation. I have been using a pair of JBL LSR-4328P powered digital near field studio monitors for my home stereo and one has developed a hum. I’m not sure if I want to get it fixed or sell them. I haven’t experienced listening to enough sound systems to say how they rate but they have let me feel recordings on a whole different level. If you have any experience with these monitors, how do you think they compare to the YARRA 3DX? I get that there is some apple/orange comparison but will the YARRA 3DX be as clear?

    While I’m typing, are you hearing many complaints about the drone of sub-woofers from houses and cars? I live in Dallas and I often need to wear earplugs at night. Not because of an obvious loud noise but low frequency sound that is registering in a way that is confusing. It has taken five years of it getting slightly louder for me to realize that it is modern music that doesn’t have the distinct base beat that filled the neighborhood in years past. I can’t hear it outside because of the overall noise of the city. To be honest it really has been getting to me, it is disconcerting to hear a noise and not know it’s location because of the low frequency and then it disappears when you go out looking for it. It made me feel a little more sane when the new neighbor told me he has to have a fan on to block it out, other people I asked don’t hear it. I used a spectral analyzer on my ipad and, after turning off the auto level on the mic off, it shows a good amount of noise under the range of human hearing but I don’t see the fluctuations that I hear but that might be because of the Fourier settings. I know I specifically have an hearing issue because I stayed out of the city and it so happened there was a road with fast truck traffic a distance away but at level line of sight level with a depression between and the frequencies the road noise was producing registered in my ear with the same strangeness. Some is me and some is the environment so that’s why I am wondering if you have heard others complain in a similar way and perhaps if you know a way of tracking sources of low frequency, low energy, offending noise.

    • Trevor, I can’t say I’ve heard anything like what you describe. That’s amazing! And a little disconcerting to be impacted by spurious low frequency sounds.

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