Proms Experiment with Binaural

This year's BBC Proms have come to an end, but not before taking the opportunity to experiment with new forms of technology to deliver a better experience to those watching at home. In a post on the BBC Research & Development blog, Tom Parnell the R&D's Research Studio Manager wrote about using binaural audio in the Royal Albert Hall and how it was achieved: "The microphone array is the Schoeps ORTF-3D and uses its eight hypercardioid microphones to pick-up sound from all directions - in front and behind, above and below. The array uses the directional characteristics of the mics to increase the sound separation between each channel and uses the spacing between the mics to introduce time differences between the sounds that each mic picks up.These characteristics work, together with some clever binaural processing, to produce a 2-channel “mix” (or “render") that provides the headphone listener with a surprisingly realistic reproduction of the 3D soundscape around the mic array. This is similar to recordings made with a dummy head microphone but, crucially, our object-based technique allows us to render these audio mixes for different playback formats, not just binaural."

The use of this technology will assist in creating a full VR experience, with the headphone sound enabled to provide a 3D spatial impression; It updates depending on the viewer's orientation when wearing a VR device.

BBC R&D plan to continue to test out Binaural audio by using concerts throughout the year. In the meantime, you can listen to past Binaural mixes on BBC Taster and Radio 3's Proms in Binaural Sound pages. You can read more about this project on the BBC R&D blog.

DTG Staff  |  30.09.2016

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