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New Surround Sound System by the

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January 20, 2004

A new spatial, immersive sound system called IOSONO, which creates an unparalleled listening experience, has been previewed by Prof. Dr. Karlheinz Brandenburg, the often called "father of MP3".

Developed by a team at the Fraunhofer IDMT (part of Europe's largest applied research group) under the lead of Brandenburg, IOSONO is the first system to project sounds as if they are coming from a specific spot inside or outside the listening area. It provides a perfectly balanced "sweet spot" for every spectator, no matter where they are positioned in the audience.

IOSONO applies Wave Field Synthesis (WFS), as originally invented by Delft Technical University, and several newly patented hardware and software technologies. It was designed for application in cinemas, theme parks, music and entertainment venues and home theatres.

Brandenburg describes the innovative system as groundbreaking, saying "the enhancement from 5.1 to IOSONO can be compared to the step from Mono to Stereo. Due to the groundbreaking object-oriented approach of IOSONO, it enables the sound engineers to create sound events anywhere in the room."

IOSONO produces a virtual sound cape of unequalled fidelity by projecting pinpoints and planes of sounds. The pinpoints can seem as if coming from the sky above, inches from the listener's ears, or any position in space; the walls can, among other applications, simulate the ambient sound sense of another place. Filmmakers, artists, entertainers and audio professionals will be able to direct a cymbal to thunderclap miles away, a wagon train to encircle the audience, or an alien to crash through the wall. In addition, filmmakers can choose to make sounds move from left to right with the action on the screen.

IOSONO recreates natural sound waves using WFS, as opposed to other solutions that employ amplification. The IOSONO system is comprised of the Spatial Audio Workstation, which is used to create the IOSONO "soundtrack"; an IOSONO server, installed in each venue to configure an IOSONO produced sound experience to the specific environment; and a 360° ring of speakers, hung in a specially phased, calibrated fashion. The IOSONO system complements existing audio postproduction practices by working with sound files generated by standard mixing software such as ProTools.

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About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, Telstra.com.au (Australia's largest Telco), Seek.com.au (Australia's largest employment site), top100.com.au, hitwise.com, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon
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