: TRUE SURROUND SOUND :
What is “Surround Sound”?
We are surrounded by sound wherever we go – it is all round us, and we use it constantly to tell us the direction of things, even when we're not looking that way. The recording and reproduction of this spatial directionality, on demand, wherever and whenever we like, is the ultimate aim of “Surround Sound”.
A Stereo or 2-channel Sound System is the first step towards Surround Sound, as it reproduces a phase coherent sound field which offers directional sound cues spread between the two speakers.
Add more channels of sound and speakers, and you get a more complex phase coherent sound field now extending right around you. The more channels of sound directionality, the better and more closer to reality the sound field becomes as it surrounds you.
Like in the cinema?
Cinema or Home Theatre Surround Sound is a ‘manufactured' or manipulated form of Surround Sound created to enhance audience involvement with on-screen images. As such it is limited in its ‘surround-ness', because it must not distract your attention from watching the screen. This Surround Sound is known as 5.1, Dolby Digital or DTS, which are trademarks of Dolby Corp., and is compressed and encoded to fit on movie or DVD soundtracks.
But real life isn't limited to a screen…?
The purest, most natural form of Surround Sound uses separate, or ‘discrete', channels of sound, reproducing the exact source of sound for any direction around us. The use, practicalities of cost and physical placement of equipment determine the number of surround channels each situation requires. This form of Surround Sound has many applications in situations where audiences are required to be transported to other places in sound.
So, where would this realistic Surround Sound be used?
It's already being used in Museums, Theme Parks, Zoos, Soundscapes and Exhibitions, anywhere where venues want to excite and stimulate their audiences. Sound designers and artists are dreaming up new uses continually as new technology makes it easier to include real location sound fields in their planning.