On Wednesday 28th October, AURO Technologies in conjunction with WOWOW conducted an Advanced Audio Distribution Experiment from Hakuju Hall in Tomigaya with great success. This was the world’s first attempt to hold a piano and drum duo concert by Mayo Nakano and Takanobu Baba, and to live-stream the video and sound using the AURO-3D high-quality immersive audio coding technology AURO-Codec.
This event is another milestone AURO-3D can add to its impressive list of “first-ever” achievements, it is also another milestone in the history of the audio industry. The world famous Japanese journalist Reiji Asakura wrote in Yahoo Japan; “This experiment is groundbreaking in that it can capture a place and bring the concert hall itself into the home, and I think it is a revolution in the way Edison’s ‘Mary’s Sheep’ was recorded on a gramophone”.
With more than 1 million homes already with AURO-3D compatible receivers by more than 60 different AV Receiver models in the market means there is no need for any software or hardware upgrade, this solution is backwards compatible with even the first-ever AV Receivers sold with AURO-3D. Due to updated regulations around the Covid-19 outbreak, measures were taken meaning attendance was by invite only with very limited numbers possible.
The recording and mixing carried out by renowned Japanese sound engineer and executive creator at WOWOW, Hideo Irimajiri brought the whole experience together receiving incredibly positive feedback from those who experienced the live concert in the hall as well as the playback in the foyer that provided such a “remarkably natural immersive sound experience”. Reiji Asakura wrote in the Japanese magazine Stereo Sound ONLINE: “I experienced the sound of streaming in the foyer before I heard the live performance in the hall, and I could feel the softly enveloping sound field, the sharp piano sound and the powerful drum bass. It felt as if I was in the hall. The Hakuju Hall has a very high ceiling, and the sound can spread unhindered, but I could even perceive this “height” in the playback”.
Kimio Hamasaki Director Business Affairs and Business Development Japan; Standardisation Officer said of the event “I remember the launch of AURO-3D at the AES Spatial Conference that I organized in October 2010 in Tokyo, it is amazing that 10 years later, this natural immersive experience and its audio quality can now be streamed over IP to everyone, even if they don’t have an AURO-3D setup because then the 5.1 or Stereo version will be heard in the way it was intended by the creators. Wilfried presented his ideas of AURO-3D in my workshop ‘Surround Sound with Height’ at AES Paris and San Francisco Conventions in 2006 and he introduced the end-to-end solution of Immersive Sound by AURO-3D at the AES 40th International Conference on Spatial Audio in 2010 chaired by myself.”
We have reached Mr. BJ Hwang, President of Sound Mirror Korea, and asked him several questions around AURO-3D usage in the latest movie Steel Rain 2
1) Where and when did you experience AURO-3D for the first time? How was it?
Mr. BJ Hwang: In 2016, I was mixing the Notre-dame de Paris movie at the AuroTorium, the mixing stage of Galaxy Studios in which the HQ of Auro Technologies are located. Also, I had chances to hear various AURO-3D sounds in a small listening room, and the scoring stage at Galaxy Studios. I was very impressed by all three spaces. In particular, I was surprised that the mixing stage of Galaxy Studios sounded way superior to what I previously heard in one of the best theatres in Korea that has the same speakers with different immersive sound setups. I also liked AURO-3D sound from the small living room environment. Before that, I had been working on surround sound for over 10 years, and I was able to discover more creative possibilities with AURO-3D.
2) Why did you choose the AURO-3D format for the movie Steel Rain 2?
Mr. BJ Hwang: Even in audio shows, I was always looking for the best sound experience while listening to Surround or Immersive Sound. Needless to say, I heard the best immersive sound at Auro Technologies HQ (Galaxy Studios) and installed AURO-3D, 9.1 CH at Sound Mirror studio in Seoul, and continued recording music using AURO-3D format after visiting Auro Technologies HQ since 2016. This time, I was asked to mix the music with Immersive Sound for Steel Rain 2, and of course, AURO-3D was my first choice because I was fully convinced that AURO-3D Immersive Sound is much better than any other immersive formats because it feels much more natural, a higher immersive impact and as such a higher emotional experience when watching a movie or listening to music only.
3) Any creative possibilities that you especially like by working in AURO-3D?
Mr. BJ Hwang: In the case of music, especially the enveloping sound on the channel base is needed, and the vertical channel is a great help in this part. For this reason, I believe that AURO-3D is not only very convenient to implement this, but also is the best in terms of sound quality. You can use height channels for some real spatial feeling or some effect elements like church bells, choir (like angels singing from up above) in music including its main 3D natural reflections of the source sounds of those objects. To immerse yourself in the storytelling of the movie, you can arrange music elements by avoiding the dialogue channels, so you can finish the work much faster even in the final stage of the mix, which is very popular with many professionals in the film industry. And most theatres still have 5.1 channels, but when mixing with AURO-3D, it is very convenient because it has 100% backwards compatibility with the 5.1 Surround install which is not the case with their main competitor’s format.
4) What about the workflow you used? Did you mix first in Surround Sound 5.1 (or 7.1) format and later in AURO-3D or did you start with AURO-3D and simultaneously worked on the 5.1 Surround version?
Mr. BJ Hwang: I mixed AURO-3D and 5.1 simultaneously. The workflow of AURO-3D makes it easily possible to mix in both formats simultaneously. The AMS-NEVE DFC-3D which is installed at Galaxy’s AuroTorium has AURO-3D on board. But even for studios which don’t have such a mixing console, the AURO-3D Creative Tool Suite can deliver the same flexibility to mix both formats simultaneously, this is the way I do it at Sound Mirror for music productions in Immersive Sound.
5) What about the music, was the music already mixed in AURO-3D upfront? Or stems delivered in AURO-3D?
Mr. BJ Hwang: Yes, The music was done with Mixing AURO-3D in mind from the start. It has mainly advantages for the acoustic part of the recordings because a more natural result can be achieved if the microphones can capture the original 3D reflections which can be played back in the AURO-3D format. This brings the listener subconsciously closer to the performance of the musicians and results in a heightened emotional experience.
6) Immersive Sound is becoming the new standard in cinema. How do you envision the future of cinema sound?
Mr. BJ Hwang: These days, for a while now mobile and streaming have become the standard for personal music listening and movie watching based on Stereo. Unlike this trend, however, high-end sounds such as AURO-3D are difficult to experience at home, so entertainment industries such as movies and music are inevitably developed, allowing new immersive experiences through large systems such as cinemas and theatres. And from what I’ve experienced so far, I’m sure that AURO-3D gives you the best sense of immersion.
7) What do you believe are the main strengths of the AURO-3D format versus other Immersive Sound formats in the market?
Mr. BJ Hwang: Above all, AURO-3D has a natural sense of sound field and presence. It is much closer to the real live sound than the Object-based Immersive Sound formats. If the recording to mixing is carried out properly in the AURO-3D format, the actual speakers disappear, and the sound is pouring out from the entire walls of the listening room.
Furthermore, In the production stage, working time is significantly reduced due to the perfect compatibility with 5.1 channel systems. When downmixed to 5.1 or stereo, the sound quality is preserved so well that it cannot be compared with other Immersive Sound formats.
8) Are there any other things that you want to share about the movie, your experience or other to the readers regarding this interview?
Mr. BJ Hwang: Probably it is the first AURO-3D mix for a film soundtrack produced in Korea.
During a recent interview with Grobi TV, we inadvertently cause confusion about the timing of future enhancements to our popular Auro-Matic® upmixer.
Along with our valued partner Denon and Marantz, we are always striving to provide the best in class audio experience. We are constantly innovating and constantly looking for ways to deliver the highest quality audio experience possible.
And while we have received outstanding feedback about Auro-Matic®, like all innovative companies we are looking for ways to enhance our offering. We will be working closely with Denon and Marantz on the timing and delivery aspects of any new enhancements, and will make an announcement to the market when we have further details.
We apologize for any confusion arising from the recent interview and we will strive to keep everyone updated via our Facebook and Twitter feeds.
With the Auro-3D® format being picked up all over the world, we felt it was time to thank our supporters out there and show them how we appreciate their continuous support.
Our gratitude goes out towards all of you and we promise to strive in delivering you the Auro-3D® Experience Everywhere!
We were glad to see the article about Auro-3D® appear in no. 14 – July 2015 of The Heritage Post (www.theheritagepost.com).
With so many consumers already convinced about the immersive sound capabilities of the Auro-3D® format, we are proud to see this in written form as well.
We’re incredibly proud that American Sniper, mixed in Auro 11.1, has walked away from the Academy Awards last night with the Oscar for best sound editing. The sound editing for the movie was by Academy Award winners Alan Robert Murray and Bub Asman – whilst sound mixers John T Reitz, Gregg Rudloff, and Walt Martin were also nominated for their work in the sound mixing category. Congratulations to both winners and nominees! (more…)
Instead of telling you how great Auro-3D® is, we thought we would let others do it for a change! So here are a few highlights of the reactions to Auro-3D® at the International CES 2015 in Las Vegas earlier this month.
There has been a lot of excitement about the release of our high-end processors / receivers, and the feedback from clients who have experienced the power of Auro-3D® has been incredibly positive. Lately, I’ve also had a lot of people asking me when Auro-3D® will be available in established receiver brands for home cinema consumers as well. Well, today, I’m pleased to confirm that Auro-3D® will be available as an upgrade for selected Denon and Marantz receivers, bringing immersive sound within the reach of many more people! Denon have announced that their AVR-X5200W and AVR-X4100W AV receivers will feature Auro-3D. Marantz have also confirmed that their SR7009 and AV7702 receiver and pre-amp / processor will be upgradeable to Auro-3D.
Owner of the renowned record label 2L, Associate Professor at the Westerdals Oslo ACT (former Nordic Institute of Stage And Studio) and producer of 17 GRAMMY-nominated albums, Morten Lindberg shares his experiences on recording in Auro-3D®. “The expansion to 3D has been our playground.” says the Norwegian recording producer and engineer.
How did you get to know Auro-3D®?
I have recorded music in 5.1 Surround sound since 2004. Then I met with Wilfried Van Baelen at the Nordic Sound Symposium three years ago. He challenged me to explore the height dimension. Two weeks later we set out for a remote medieval church with TrondheimSolistene (a group of classical musicians from Norway) and recorded our first album in the Auro 9.1 configuration. I believe this was the first ever commercial album produced in Auro 9.1 which was released on Pure Audio Blu-Ray. (more…)
I just recently got back from the amazing CEDIA 2014 show, where we launched the Auro-3D Mensa and Crux, our two new 3D sound processors. The reception for Auro-3D at the show was just incredible, and I want to thank all of those who visited our booth to talk to us and Datasat, our partners in creating the Mensa and Crux.
We may have been out-spent by certain competitors at the show, but that didn’t seem to matter for the many who experienced our immersive demos and loved them. We were delighted by the reaction from the press and the industry – some of the quotes and accolades are above. What really seemed to impress visitors was the natural sound generated by the Auro-3D demo. As one journalist said, Auro-3D is ‘as close to being there as I could possibly imagine.’ Or simply ‘startlingly realistic’ in the words of another.
Congratulations as well to Hometronics and CAT, whose Auro-3D equipped home cinema was the Best Overall Home Theater Winner in the CEDIA 2014 Electronic Lifestyles Awards.
If you missed seeing us at CEDIA, stay tuned for news of other demos of our Auro-3D AV range, with the Mensa and Crux joining the Auro-3D Auriga, our first immersive AV receiver.