3D3A's Anechoic Chamber
Have an awesome, show-off worthy, surround-sound stereo system at home? Apparently, no matter how high-fallutin' that sound gets, you aren't hearing it in 3D. "Pure Stereo 3D Audio" to be exact. Whereas surround-sound systems literally, well, "surround" you with audio, 3D sound plays the audio correctly spatially—so that what is on your left is actually heard on the left, and same with the right. Edgar Choueiri, rocket scientist by day, audio engineer by night developed Pure Stereo 3D Audio, recently unveiled by Kurt Andersen of NPR's Studio 360.
Choueiri is Director of Princeton's Electric Propulsion and Plasma Dynamics Lab, and thanks to his audiophile obsession and a grant from Princeton, also their 3D Audio and Applied Acoustics Lab. The phenomenon is best explained in the Studio 360 story and the 3D3A site, but as we understand it, Choueiri developed a digital filter applied to the audio signal, which eliminates "crosstalk," freeing up rich sound already on the recording. Crosstalk is the interference that naturally occurs in stereo when the right ear hears interference sound from the left, and vice versa. Prior to Choueiri's breakthrough, crosstalk cancellation had been attempted, but always produced problems in the tone of what we hear.
Studio 360 has some samples of water splashing for listening, embedded below, and some music samples in the story. There really is something noticeably different and rich in the sounds. To listen, sit equidistant between your left and right speakers.
3D audio demo with speakers:
3D audio demo with headphones:
Choueri is, of course, talking with Hollywood about possible applications of 3D sound. But what we find most exciting is his interest in applying the technology to hearing aids, which are notoriously poor at locating where sounds comes from. His 3D sound tech could potentially revolutionize the world of hearing loss.
Many questions for you audiophiles answered by Choueri and his lab here.