University of Surrey reveals spatial sound innovation

3 d sound

A home audio system that creates an immersive sound experience using connected consumer devices has been developed by technologists at the University of Surrey.

Media Device Orchestration (MDO) uses object-based audio to output sound via laptops, smartphones or wireless mini-speakers around the home to create a three-dimensional sound effect.

The breakthrough was made in conjunction with the Universities of Salford and Southampton, and BBC Research & Development. It was presented for the first time at the Audio Mostly Conference in London last week.

3D audio generally requires a multitude of speakers to be located at exact points in relation to the listener. This makes it ideal for cinemas and theme park experiences, but not in the home.

The MDO research is part of a £5.4m five-year spatial audio project, funded by Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), aimed at delivering a step-change in the quality of audio consumed by the general public.

Object-based audio encodes sound sources as objects with metadata that describes the recording microphone’s placement in 3D space. Audio characteristics such as dialogue or explosion sounds are also identified.