To take full advantage of stereo sound, many consumers will install their AV equipment to suit the room’s furniture – sound and vision pointing to the best seat in the house so you can take full advantage of that stereo “sweetspot”. That’s fine when you’re sitting watching a movie, but what happens you start playing the latest active games on Nintendo’s Wii, Sony’s PlayStation3 and Microsoft’s Project Natal? If you’re standing off-center in the room, you won’t get full stereo sound because you’ll be closer to one loudspeaker which will dominate your aural senses.
Now researchers at the Technology University of Dresden, Germany, have overcome this problem by creating software called SweetSpotter that uses a webcam to determine where you are positioned in the room and adjusts the loudspeakers in real time to give you perfect stereo on-the-go. What’s more, it’s Open Source software that’s yours free to download.
Using a webcam (or your game console's camera) and face recognition technology, SweetSpotter calculates the amount of delay and amplification in the corresponding audio channels and adjusts both loudspeaker signals to give the listener a stereo sweet spot.
Technically, the university says the spatial reproduction of sound in a conventional stereo system works in a small area that is located on the symmetry axis between the loudspeakers – the so-called sweet spot. But outside of this area, the stereo effect is lost and the stereo image moves to the nearer loudspeaker because the signal arrives both louder and sooner. In other words, the closer you get to one speaker, the more pronounced the sound will be until the only sound you hear will be from one speaker in mono.
To grab your free download of Sweetspotter, download the code from the website.