3D audio for Live Sound
3D audio has only recently started to penetrate the live sound industry. This is due to specificities of live sound, especially touring, where a performance may be delivered in vastly diverse environments and address audiences of up to tens of thousands. Accommodating these challenges to offer consistent high-quality results requires specific technologies and practices.
This chapter describes the specific constraints of live sound that lead to a selection of algorithms that are robust enough to adapt to various scales and loudspeaker layout. A framework is proposed for the evaluation of the performance of panning algorithm in the live sound context. The importance of the design of the loudspeaker system is outlined. A methodology and evaluation criteria are proposed to successfully scale 3D sound to large audiences. The creation of virtual environments in large scale venues and their portability from venue to venue creates specific constraints that are described and addressed. Finally, key applications and references are presented.
Reference: Etienne Corteel, Guillaume Le Nost, Frédéric Roskam, 3D Audio for Live Sound, in 3D Audio (1st edition), Routledge, 2021.
Audience effect on the response of a loudspeaker system in the low frequency range, part 1: magnitude
The response of a loudspeaker system is affected by the presence of the audience. However, the loudspeaker system tuning is performed without an audience, applying equalization filters and delays for time alignment system components. The validity of these decisions with an audience is of primary importance. In this paper, the magnitude response of a loudspeaker system is simulated at low frequencies using Finite Element Method over a flat listening area for multiple source heights and audience densities. The results show that the audience modifies notches due to the floor reflection for a flown source and creates a build-up associated with a low-pass behavior for ground-stacked sources. The implications on typical loudspeaker system configurations are presented and discussed.
AES Convention Paper #10398
Article presented at the 149th Convention 2020 October 22, Online
Non-linear acoustic losses prediction in vented loudspeaker using computational fluid dynamic simulation
Bass-reflex designs can exhibit strong non-linear behavior around their resonant frequency with significant acoustic losses and parasite noise emission. These phenomena are mainly due to turbulences and flow separation at the port’s inlet and outlet. This work proposes a method to predict the resulting non-linear acoustic losses for a given loudspeaker, enclosure volume and port geometry. The approach consists of coupling computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulation with loudspeaker non-linear motion modelization. Four different ports geometries mounted on one given loudspeaker enclosure are tested. The computed acoustic losses are compared with measurements and show a good agreement. The obtained results prove that the proposed method can predict non-linear losses with an average error less than 1 dB around the Helmholtz frequency.
AES Convention Paper #10359
Article presented at the 148th Convention 2020 June 1-5, Online
Optimum measurement locations for large-scale loudspeaker system tuning based on first-order reflections analysis
This paper investigates how first-order reflections impact the response of sound reinforcement systems over large audiences. On the field, only few acoustical measurements can be performed to drive tuning decisions. The challenge is then to select the right measurement locations so that it provides an accurate representation of the loudspeaker system response. Simulations of each first-order reflection (e.g., floor or side wall reflection) are performed to characterize the average frequency response and its variability over the target audience area. Then, the representativity of measurements performed at a reduced number of locations is investigated. Results indicate that a subset of eight measurement locations spread over the target audience area represents a rational solution to characterize the loudspeaker system response.
AES Convention Paper #10234
Article presented at the 147th Convention 2019 October 16–19, New York, USA
On the efficiency of flown vs. ground stacked subwoofer configurations
Modern live loudspeaker systems consist of broadband sources, often using variable curvature line sources, combined with subwoofers. While it is common practice to fly the broadband sources to improve energy distribution in the audience, most subwoofer configurations remain ground-stacked because of practical constraints and alleged efficiency loss of flown configurations. This article aims at evaluating the efficiency of flown subwoofers for large audiences as compared to their ground-stacked counterparts. We use finite element simulations to determine the influence of several factors: baffling effect, trim height. We show that flown configurations remain efficient at the back of the venue while reducing the SPL excess at the front of the audience.
AES Convention Paper #10051
Article presented at the 145th Convention 2018 October 17–20, New York, NY, USA
Large scale open air sound reinforcement in extreme atmospheric conditions
Extreme atmospheric conditions have a profound effect on sound propagation. This paper presents two installations where this problem must be accounted for: the main stage of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival and the Hollywood Bowl. The approach presented here combines an optimized sound system design combined with signal processing for partial compensation of remaining loss in selected areas.
AES Convention Paper #P2.3
Article presented at the AES International Conference on Sound Reinforcement – Open Air Venues (August 2017)
The Distributed Edge Dipole (DED) model for cabinet diffraction effects
A simple model is proposed to account for the effects of cabinet edge diffraction on the radiated sound field for direct-radiating loudspeaker components when mounted in an enclosure. The proposed approach is termed the Distributed Edge Dipole (DED) model since it is developed based on the Kirchoff Approximation (KA) using distributed dipoles with their axes perpendicular to the baffle edge as the elementary diffractive sources.
The DED model is first tested against measurements for a thin circular baffle and is then applied to a real world loudspeaker that has a thick, rectangular baffle. The forward sound pressure level and the entire angular domain are investigated and predictions of the DED model show good agreement with experimental measurements.
AES Journal, Vol. 52, n°10 - 2004 October
October 15, 2004
Wavefront Sculpture Technology
The Fresnel approach in optics is introduced to the field of acoustics. Fresnel analysis provides an effective, intuitive way of understanding complex interference phenomena and allows for the definition of criteria required to couple discrete sound sources effectively and to achieve coverage of a given audience geometry in sound-reinforcement applications. The derived criteria from the basis of what is termed Wavefront Sculpture Technology.
AES Journal, Vol. 51, n°10 - 2003 October
October 15, 2003
Wavefront Sculpture Technology
We introduce Fresnel’s ideas in optics to the field of acoustics. Fresnel analysis provides an effective, intuitive approach to the understanding of complex interference phenomena and thus opens the road to establishing the criteria for the effective coupling of sound sources and for the coverage of a given audience geometry in sound reinforcement applications.
The derived criteria form the basis of what is termed Wavefront Sculpture Technology.
AES Convention Paper #5488
Article presented at the 111th AES Convention, New York 2001
Sound field radiated by arrayed multiple sound sources
How to know whether it is possible or not to predict the behaviour of an array when the behaviour of each element is known?
Our purpose is to describe the sound field produced by arrays in such a way that criteria for “arraybility” can be defined.
AES Convention Paper #3269
Article presented at the 92nd AES Convention, Vienna 1992