I’ve been offline over these past few weeks again. There have been pressures associated with my university position, some family medical challenges (not my own thankfully), management of the book, and the demands of the YARRA 3DX campaign. I have intentionally avoided pushing the YARRA 3DX product on my own blog following the launch but after last week’s Kickstarter LIVE event, I’m inspired to share an exciting update. First, the campaign has already been a tremendous success. We reached our goal in a matter of hours (admittedly the goal was set too low) but we’ve eclipsed $600K! Honestly, I’m convinced that it could easily be twice that number but it’s difficult to demonstrate the “sound” of a speaker or the 3D audio immersive capabilities of the YARRA 3DX sound projector during a pitch video. You really have to hear one to be convinced.
So the CSO, co-inventor, and my very close friend, Peter Otto and I hosted our second Kickstarter LIVE event last Thursday to answer questions, talk about the technology, and demo the YARRA’s ability to localize sound in the space. This time we were granted access to the Spatial Audio Lab at UCSD, the place where Peter and several doctoral students imagined, researched, and realized the patented beamforming technology that makes the product work. You can still view the live stream by clicking here.
One of the most impressive things about beamforming is the ability to create very narrow, discrete beams of sound from an array of identical speakers. At about 47:00 minutes into the video, Peter demonstrates this by having me place myself AND the computer at 0 degrees in front of the array and then at plus 55 degrees and minus 55 degrees. What I heard at each position were three different audio programs. In the middle was the sound of a cafe with people clinking glasses, talking, and interacting…when I moved to the first off axis position at plus 55 degrees, without changing anything, I heard music. The sound of the cafe was completely gone. And finally, at minus 55 degrees, I heard the sound of woman’s voice talking about Ambisonics and immersive audio. The YARRA 3DX sound bar was simultaneously playing three difference programs, all of which were highly localized. There was no bleed or crosstalk. The programs were discrete and separate. You can watch the video and hear the same thing if you listen carefully. The demo was done without any tricks!
Now imagine two of those beams delivering properly processed binaural audio to your left and right ears. That’s how we deliver immersive 5.1 or 7.1 surround soundtracks or immersive music mixes to you without headphones.
The Kickstarter LIVE events are intended to be broadcast only but in this instance three local audiophiles showed up at the door. They took my announcement that “EVERYONE’S WELCOME” to invite themselves to the Spat Lab last Thursday. There was a gentle knock on the door right at show time — so I invited them in and set up some chairs along the site. This was Pierre’s reaction. He wrote a comment on the KS page:
“OK. found the place. Met Mark and Peter and they were gracious enough to let my two friends and I sit in the studio while they did the live stream. I’m already a backer, and now the two friends I brought are backers as well. We were able, after the live stream, to sit down and listen to a near field example of beam forming. Absolute magic. The ability to create a wrap around sound stage is absolutely stunning. I signed up because I thought this would be a nice upgrade to my TV sound bar. I left thinking this may well replace my high end audio speakers as well.
Thank you to Mark whose blog I’ve followed for a couple years now, and whose AIX catalog of music is my go to source for HiRes music. Thanks also to Peter. His disarming and thoroughly charming demeanor belie his status as a leading international figure in the field of sound. I walked away comfortable in the knowledge that these guys are exactly who they say they are, and the product does everything they say it will do. I’m very excited to take delivery early next year.”
The success of their experience has prompted the team at YARRA 3DX to imagine multiple “Hearing is Believing” demonstrations in San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York City this week! We’re anxious to demo the YARRA 3DX technology for as many people as possible on Friday and/or Saturday. The events will happen in a convenient location (perhaps a shared work space, studio, the company office, or hotel room) according to a tight pre-arranged schedule. But first, the CEO wants to be assured that enough people will show up. So please let me know via email or in a comment that you would be interested in hearing this remarkable technology. If we can get 50-100 people to show up in each of the 4 cities, the demos will happen. The sooner you can let me know the better. If you want to send an email to me use firstname.lastname@example.org or you can also sent to the company at email@example.com.
Thanks in advance for your time.
Finally, for all you who backed the Smyth A16 Room Realiser campaign last year, the YARRA 3DX is the perfect companion accessory. Peter and I have spoken to Mike Smyth and tried to get a unit to his office for his review but complications made that impossible (timings and logistics). However, if there are backers of the A16 campaign that would care to share some of the above information on their Kickstarter page…it would be shame for A16 backers not to know about YARRA 3DX and be able to secure one at a substantial discount. Thanks.