Immersive Audio Panel

On Friday afternoon a CEDIA panel was convened to discus the subject of immersive audio. And we all thought that immersive sound meant 5.1- or 7.1-multichannel! But with Dolby Atmos there's a new kid in town. And Dolby Atmos isn't alone.

The panel was moderated by industry tech guru Michael Heiss, and consisted of Brett Crockett of Dolby, Andrew Jones of Pioneer and TAD, Dr. Floyd Toole, a consultant with Harman Kardon, and Wilfred Van Baelen, the founder of Auro. Auro, developed in Belgium, is a competitor of Dolby in theatrical immersive audio and wants to break into the home market as well.

Auro is a channel-based system rather than Atmos' object based approach. You can find our more about object based audio processing elsewhere on this website, but suffice it to say here that there's definitely a difference in philosophy between Dolby and Auro. Auro would appear to be superior in a live recording of, say, a symphony orchestra, where the positioning of various sounds such as instruments and voices is intended to be left where they were during a live performance, with no post-production manipulation to direct various sounds hither and yon at the whim of the program producer, film director, or recording engineer. The latter, of course, is standard practice in movie sound.

A lively discussion ensued, along with a Q&A session. We'll likely be touching on many of these subjects as Atmos (and perhaps Auro as well) further invades our pages, on-line discussions, and home theaters.