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15 September 2015
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Right now there are several new trends in surround sound. Auro-3D is one of them and it is said to be the next thing in surround audio. Its inventor, Wilfried Van Baelen, owner of the Galaxy Studios, wanted to create an immersive sound system that would be able to deliver a truly 3D sound experience.
After several years of experimenting he came up with an extra horizontal layer that can be added to a 5.1 setup. This second layer consists of minimum four speakers. They are placed on a 30 degree angle, two at the front and two at the rear. Adding this extra layer means that the sound can be placed not only horizontally, but also vertically. Elevator scenes for example can be pretty frightening in Auro-3D. But even in the musical context this extra layer can contribute to a more natural listening experience. Think of an organ that is placed behind and above the orchestra. In a standard 5.1 setup you wouldn’t hear that the organ is positioned several meters above the orchestra but in Auro-3D you can! But it’s not only the placement of the instruments, also the reflections of the ceiling contribute to a more natural listening experience.
However, this is just the smallest Auro-3D setup made up of ‘just’ nine speakers and a subwoofer. The Auro-3D protocol can contain a third layer, the so called ‘Voice of God’-channel. A small speaker has to be placed right atop the listeners' heads meaning there are actually three horizontal layers! So the horizontal and vertical placing of music sources can be very precise. But there are even bigger Auro-3D systems possible. The 3D AuroTorium Dubbing Stage in the Galaxy studios is equipped with a 22.1 Auro-3D system containing a 59-loudspeaker monitoring system. For the real world the Auro 9.1 & 10.1 systems will be the most popular systems.