What is 3D sound?

Can there be 3D sound of a kind to match the 3D vision available from Blu-ray 3D? Well, of course. It’s called surround sound. But Australian developments are looking to change the character of home audio into something more realistic.

At the moment, surround sound does a good job of making a bullet shot ping behind you, a car door slam to your right, an actor’s voice come from directly in front of you. In other words, it has direction all nicely sorted out.

But what Acoustic 3D (acoustic3d.com) is developing is a way to make that car door, bullet ping and spoken voice sound real.

What is real?

If you can close you eyes and imagine that the voice is not coming just from a point in space, but from a solid human body. You can feel the presence of the person because their voice sounds just like it would if they were in the room with you.

This is Acoustic 3D’s aim, and its first product lines it says are approaching this. Passive ‘diffusing’ technology breaks up the directionality of normal tweeters so that their sound wave patterns are far more like those of a real musical instrument. ‘Standing waves’ – frequencies that resonate in particular rooms – are reduced or tamed.

The next step is advanced processing using DSP circuits to extend the operation of this technology from the higher frequencies down across most of the audio spectrum. With the object that sounds in your stereo and home theatre will not be coming from undefined points in particular defined direction, but from an easily imagined objects. Or so it will seem.

And in that sense, it will create a new three-dimensional sense in audio. Check out acoustic3d.com and for some actual products, solphonique.com.