HomeNewsInsightsFrom Mono to Pan Immerse 4D

From Mono to Pan Immerse 4D

The world of audio has undergone an amazing evolution over the past few decades. From the humble beginnings of stereo to today’s immersive audio, the way we perceive and enjoy sound has changed dramatically. In this article, we take a look at the evolution of audio technology and the benefits of new immersive technologies.

The era of the stereo system

In the 1950s, the stereo system became the standard for audio reproduction. The idea was simple: two speakers, one on the left and one on the right, produced a more spatial sound that was closer to natural hearing than the monophonic audio system. Stereo allowed for a more nuanced perception of sound and contributed to the popularity of hi-fi (high fidelity). Still, sound placement options were limited, as sound could only be moved between the two speakers.

The rise of surround sound

The 1970s saw the development of surround sound, which allowed sounds to be heard from multiple directions. This was developed primarily for movie theaters and home theater systems and utilized speaker systems with multiple channels, typically center, front, rear and subwoofer. The first ever commercially produced movie in Dolby Surround was the 1976 version of “A Star is Born”, that premiered in fifteen selected theaters in North America. This technology offered a new audiovisual experience by placing the spectator in the middle of the action. However, sound distribution was limited to the horizontal plane (2D) and localization was best in a limited audience area (sweet spot) only.

The immersive audio revolution

Immersive audio playback, often referred to as 3D audio or object-based audio, has taken the world of sound to a whole new level. Instead of confining sound to specific speakers, it is placed in the environment so that it can be heard from anywhere in the room. This is achieved through advanced algorithms and special speaker systems that can create virtual sound objects

One of the most popular formats for immersive audio playback is Dolby Atmos. Dolby Atmos allows sound to be positioned in three dimensions, so it can come from above, below, in front, behind, and everywhere in between. This allows for a breathtaking sound experience that is increasingly used in movies, computer games, and even music productions.

Pan Immerse 4D

Pan Immerse 4D is the new immersive audio platform from Pan Acoustics that was developed together with researchers from German Fraunhofer Institute. Pan Immerse 4D offers significant advantages over standardized systems such as Dolby Atmos, raising the sound experience to a higher level and enabling its use in professional environments:

  1. Precise audio object placement: Pan Immerse 4D is able to position sounds extremely precisely in space. Unlike standardized systems such as Dolby Atmos, which work with a limited number of channels, Pan Immerse 4D can flexibly manage up to 256 audio channels. This allows for selective localization of audio sources. The positioning of audio objects in the room is dynamic and can be changed in real time either manually in the graphical user interface or via automatic presenter tracking systems. That way, audio signals optimally follow the visual perception and provide a congruent audiovisual experience.
  2. Maximum scalability: Pan Immerse 4D is flexible and adaptable to different speaker setups and room sizes. It allows you to ideally respond to the individual acoustic characteristics of a room and offers more freedom in speaker placement. This allows the system to better adapt to the existing space, allowing it to be used in a wide range of environments and applications, from small home theaters to large concert halls.
  3. More realistic sound environment: Pan Immerse 4D can create a more realistic sound landscape, giving the impression that the sound is coming from anywhere in the room. Via the optional integration of Pan ACS, the natural acoustics of the room can also be controlled, resulting in on-site acoustics that are optimally matched to the content. Especially in theater and opera, this combination offers an impressive and immersive experience.
  4. Artistic freedom: Sound engineers and artists have more creative freedom with Pan Immerse 4D. Position audio freely in space with the Pan Immerse 4D “Production Server” and shape the soundscape the way you want it. An integrated immersive audio player can be used to pre-produce audio data that can be automatically played back including dynamic motion paths with position data. This is especially useful for shows in theme parks or museums to create unique and impressive sound experiences.
  5. Use of existing formats: Pan Immerse 4D allows existing audio formats such as Dolby Atmos to be scaled to large rooms with flexible speaker positions. This enables immersive audio playback in different environments without the need for specially adapted recordings. Thus, costs are saved in content production.
  6. Future-proof: As audio technology is constantly advancing, Pan Immerse 4D can better respond to future developments and standards. Be ready today to support new audio formats and technologies that will come to market in the future.

 

Conclusion

The evolution of audio technology from stereo to immersive audio marks an impressive advance in the way we perceive and enjoy sound. The benefits of this new technology are unmistakable, helping to elevate our audiovisual experiences to a higher level. With Pan Immerse 4D, the benefits of immersive audio are now fully available for professional applications ranging from cinemas to theme parks, and auditoriums to concert halls.