Adventures in 3D Sound!

Feature

Friday, April 29, 2011

Edgar Choueiri knows how things work; he’s a rocket scientist — officially, the Director of Princeton University's Electric Propulsion and Plasma Dynamics Laboratory. If NASA ever sends a person to Mars, Choueiri’s research probably will have played a role. But Kurt Andersen visited his lab recently to get a taste of the future right now. Choueiri’s hobby is acoustics. He has developed a way to render sound in three dimensions, and given Studio 360 listeners an exclusive first listen of his 3D audio technology. 

Unlike surround sound and other elaborate hardwiring, his breakthrough consists of a software algorithm applied to sound files that allows stereo playback to sound much more real and lifelike. Imagine swatting at a fly buzzing 360 degrees around your head; or instinctually standing back as a roaring train pulls into a crowded station; or closing your eyes and being able to pick out the soloists in a choral performance of a Bach Mass (see how Bach's Mass in B Minor inspired Choueiri's 3D work).

The 3D audio in the show segment above is calibrated for stereo speakers only so it won't work on headphones. To hear the effect, sit in front of your computer speakers, with your ears about equidistant from the left and right speakers. (It can’t hurt to close your eyes.)

Try out the clips below, in which Choueiri demonstrates the sound of water in 3D.

 

3D Audio Demonstration for Speakers

3D Audio Demonstration for Headphones

[Note: If you are using a recent Apple MacBook you may not be able to hear the full effect of the 3D due to a known problem in the MacBook design (related to the location of the internal "subwoofer") that creates a strong Left-Right imbalance in the audio, which could not be compensated for while creating this 3D audio.]

So how does it work? Conventional stereo recordings already incorporate rich location information, but our ears do not capture it during playback because of what engineers call "crosstalk": the fact that your left ear hears sound from the left speaker but also the right speaker (and vice versa). This explains why stereo recordings don’t recreate dimensionality as accurately as your ears and your brain hear sound in space. The trick is to cancel the crosstalk without altering the sound quality—something no one has ever quite pulled off until now. 

Drawing on some of the math in plasma physics, Choueiri devised a digital algorithm that cancels crosstalk transparently without changing the tonal quality of the sound. The brain naturally does the rest, allowing listeners to pinpoint the original placement of sound in space more like it would if we were hearing the “real thing.”  Among efforts to develop 3D sound, Choueiri’s approach is unique in that it does not require specialized playback equipment.  The digital filter is designed to work on any stereo recording played through any pair of speakers.

Video: The Science Behind 3D Sound

Much like hi-fi stereo changed the game in the late 50s, Choueiri’s advances are being closely watched by the music and entertainment industry. Hollywood — already smitten with 3D film — is interested, as are videogame producers. Choueiri also hopes to apply his 3D technology to hearing aids.

Choueiri’s dual interests trace back to his childhood in Lebanon in the ‘60s. He was obsessed with space travel and his father’s recording equipment. In a tape that his sister uncovered just three years ago, young Edgar borrowed the reel-to-reel and left a message for his middle-aged self:

I am 11 years old now and you must be well above 30 years old. Although you exist in a different time, I am talking to you through this machine I have in my hands. I am not sure if this tape will survive. I hope that you have realized my dreams and have become somebody in the world of machines, electronics, and sound. I would love it if you are working in aerospace and electronics and playing with instruments.

Mission accomplished.

 

What music or sound do you want to hear in 3D? Leave a comment and let us know.

 

    Music Playlist
  1. Chatter of Pins
    Artist: Paul Lansky
    Album: Music Box / Chatter Of Pins / The Joy Of F Sharp Minor / Composition Project For Seniors / On F
    Label: Bridge Records
    Purchase: Amazon
  2. Money
    Artist: Pink Floyd
    Album: Dark Side of the Moon
    Label: Capitol
    Purchase: Amazon
  3. “Bach’s Mass in B Minor”
    Artist: John Eliot Gardiner conducting the English Baroque Soloists
    Album: Bach - Mass in B minor / Argenta, Nichols, Chance, Stafford, Milner, W. Evans, Gardiner
    Label: Archiv Produktion
    Purchase: Amazon

Guests:

Edgar Choueiri

Produced by:

John DeLore and Derek John

Comments [114]

Don from New York from New York

A well working Cross Talk Elimination software is available from Soundpimp.com.

Oct. 13 2013 08:40 AM
Larry Lane

I am waiting...

For the IPhone App that I can load and play back my music in 3D.

Aug. 16 2013 12:58 PM
Brian Schmidt from Bellevue

3D Sound technology has been in videogames for some time, with varying success. As previous commenters have noted, Aureal and Sensaura both had some great 3D audio technology. Sensaura's technology was actually designed into the original Xbox game console.

Recently, mobile games have started to have 3D, HRTF-based audio. Papa Sangre on iOS is a story-based audio game that relies completely on 3D sound. Ear Monsters, from http://www.EarGames.com, also on iOS is an action-style game that uses binaural sound for a kind of 3D audio whack-a-mole game. And other games like Slug Bug (iOS) use 3D audio to enhance an otherwise 'normal' videogame.

I think the reason mobiles are being more successful than pc's or game consoles for 3D sound is that headphones are generally the most robust way to deliver 3D audio. Even with great crosstalk systems like the one described here, the "sweet spot" problem will always be there-- there are just too many things that have to be set up 'just right' to make 3D work robustly over speakers. But on your iPhone or Android, you're probably already wearing headphones.

Jul. 20 2013 04:43 PM
cq Robinson from USA

Chouiere is a genius. You can tell because his lab bathed in eerie green light.

Apr. 04 2013 04:35 PM

Paul from Utrecht mentioned QSound, which has been around since at least 1990, and featured on such albums as Roger Waters' Amused to Death (1992), some pretty nifty binaural effects on that one.

Nov. 28 2012 11:04 PM
Rachel Jacobs from Santa Rosa, CA

Yikes, I got wet! :~)

Nov. 17 2012 02:15 AM

The sound of water all around my ears is just incredible, we really do need this technology in videogames, there is so much focus on graphics nowadays and sound design is often overlooked but the level of immersion it can add to a game can be incredible as it can be heard here with Aureal's A3D audio technology http://toni.org/a3d/

I hope you have better luck than Sensaura and Aureal did before Creative Labs ruined them both, bought the patents for the technology and continue to sit on it, stifling and suing any such innovation in videogame sound design for many years now.

Oct. 28 2012 06:04 PM
Denny Burkes from Mississippi, USA

Would love to hear any of Rudy Van Gelder's jazz recordings in 3D! (particularly Dexter Gordon's "Go!" or "A Swingin' Affair" :)

Oct. 23 2012 09:07 PM
Paul DiPietro

How about transforming the song 'Proclaimation' by Gentle Giant?

Oct. 22 2012 07:15 AM
Sal D'Agostino from Hoboken, NJ

I heard the show and the demonstration. Very impressive. So how do I download the algorithm? If I can't, what was the point of the tease?

Oct. 20 2012 05:53 PM
Brendan from Philadelphia, USA

Would be great if the music industry picked up on it. I think many would be willing to shell out extra for a better sound format! What's the delay from releasing this at this point?

http://musicunderfire.com

Sep. 28 2012 04:59 PM
nicholas patrick from Plano Texas

My Name is nicholas patrick

I am a music producer. Compose and record music for TV, Film , Advertisements, and for Singer/songwriters. I would love to have this technology. is it available for purchase. If, so is it in a plug in format?

http://soundcloud.com/nicholas-patrick/sets

Sep. 27 2012 09:50 PM
simon from New York

http://itunes.apple.com/app/soundscape-by-soundais/id557251945?mt=8

For those looking for a better soundstage when using an IOS device hooked up to a boom box or docking station, please check out the above link

Sep. 12 2012 10:01 AM
VIEW Conference from Turin - Italy

Hi guys! I would like to suggest you this amazing FREE festival: www.viewconference.it
It takes place in Turin (Italy) from Oct 16th to 19th and hosts prominent people in animation, visual effects, game development, architecture, design, and other areas of computer graphics.
Some of confirmed professionals are: GARY RYDSTROM, Sound Designer, Skywalker Sound, Winner of 7 Academy Awards, “Brave”, “War Horse”, “Mission Impossible”, “Toy Story”, “A bugs life”, “Finding Nemo”, “Titanic”, “Jurassic Park”; DAN ATTIAS, Director, Winner of the Directors Guild of America Award, “Dr. House”, “The Sopranos”, “Lost”, “The wire”, “Six feet under”; JOSH HOLMES, Creative Director of HALO. Josh will premiere at VIEW HALO 4; JASON SMITH Visual Effects Associate Supervisor – ILM.
Amazing, ist'it? Do you'll come?!

Sep. 03 2012 10:41 AM
António Nunes from portugal

Still I don´t hear or feel the sound coming from the top or bottom of my head like I do in a real situation, I think the way to achieve 3D sound involves a whole new general speaker concept, not just a resonating box with a paper cone moving towards and forwards your direction, anyway I like the experience and results are nice.

Aug. 06 2012 05:52 AM
Harper W. Harris from Atlanta, GA

Wow! Pretty stunning, the difference between regular stereo and the 3d with his applied filter!

Is that filter for iTunes something that will be available publicly at some point?

Aug. 05 2012 10:56 PM
Wayne James Sheppard from Kent, Ohio 44240

Dear Dr. Choueiri,

I have written a novel entitled Burden of Privilege:The Secret Life of Geoffrey Collins. I am working to have it adapted as a motion picture. It will have several experiences for the audience that have never been done before visually or aurally. I have heard you are working with James Cameron on Avatar 2, 3. B of P will have visual and audio effects that will not even be found in Avatar (unless the script creates a reason for it and then I'm sure you'll make it happen). I know you are very much in demand but if you would ever take the time to speak with me, I would only ask 3 minutes of your time and would be glad to share what I believe is a revolutionary embellishment to your already existing 3D sound technology. It would involve the audience as never before. Please indulge me for a few notes of trivia: I was born in Trenton, NJ. My father saw Albert Einstein mowing his lawn in the 40's while driving to work one day through Princeton. I am also an environmental visual artist that has always been interested in earth related science, and am also a musician of sorts. If you wish to preview my novel, a synopsis can be found at www.sheppardpublishing.com It would be such an honor to hear from you.

Apr. 27 2012 02:08 PM
Matthew

Very realistic...it gave me the willies. I like brooding cellos...I'd love to hear something like that done with 3D audio.

Mar. 27 2012 11:06 AM
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Mar. 23 2012 02:47 AM

WOW!!!!, just like BINAURAL!!!!!
May be in a couple of years , They will invent Holophonics Tm, that has been around for 32 years already.....LOL.
Whats next The freaking wheel ?
Do this people use all the grant money for video-games??
Even the readers noticed , and pasted Holophonics Tm sounds on the net....LOL.
For more on Holophonics Tm see www.acousticintegrity.com
or see in youtube hzuccarelli, and hzuccarelli1

Mar. 01 2012 06:09 PM
synthdave from SF, Bay Area

There's another Edgar who pioneered sound-moving-in-space: Edgar Varese.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edgard_Var%C3%A8se
https://ccrma.stanford.edu/CCRMA/Courses/154/Varese%20images.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Po%C3%A8me_%C3%A9lectronique
Also, one of the spatial cues for sound moving behind the head is caused by phase cancellation at around 8kHz that occurs by the way the sound reflects off of the structure of the external ear.
The comment above, "Good stereo recording techniques will create great stereo." is dead-on.
Because the listening environment affects the final delivery, unless everyone has an anechoic chamber, driver placement that is exact to the millimeter, and something to hold the listener's head in a fixed position, there will always be a trade off between imaging width and depth and "wandering" images at some frequency ranges.

Nov. 29 2011 03:23 PM
Josefa from Rio de Janeiro Brazil

It sems a dream, but it's a real site to
enrich the enternet. I'm adoring it!

Nov. 17 2011 08:40 AM
Paul from Utrecht, The Netherlands

Amazing technology! It truly makes a difference, even on my crappy PC speakers. But in what way is this different from QSound technology? Their online demo's kinda offer the same wider-than-your-speakers stereo experience.
Hopefully your iTunes filter becomes available to the general public soon, would love to try it on some old but well recorded piece of music.

Aug. 26 2011 02:25 PM
Matt Tuttle from Washington

I am a young aspiring audio engineer, musician and student. I would love more than anything to have the ability to use this in my work and I would like to thank Edgar Choueiri for doing mankind such a service.

Aug. 10 2011 02:32 PM
Dan

I "Stumbled" upon this link a couple of months ago:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uzFswCpJPqg&feature=player_embedded#at=68
Which seems to have a very effective way of fooling at least MY brain into believing that it is hearing in three dimensions... with headphones. Very interesting technology.

Jul. 18 2011 11:44 PM
barry from Calgary

What music or sound do you want to hear in 3D? Leave a comment and let us know.

Answer: The Classic Rock albums I grew up with. Beatles, Stones etc.

http://www.calgary-city-maps.com/classic-rock-official-website.html

Jul. 17 2011 08:45 PM
Ashtangakasha from Iowa, USA

I've been "constructing" timbral compositions in binaural space for years, using the MIT HTRF library. Each mono track is processed through a convolver and a specific position sample from the MIT library. In this way, all positioning information is obtained through a set of HRTF samples, rather than through the un-natural "pan" control -- in other words, the pan is centered for all 8 tracks. But the experience (on headphones only, of course) is of a startlingly realistic spatial environment. I've also experimented with 8 speakers in an octagon, but the tiniest movements of the listener's head result in extreme phase effects, unless the octagon is at least 10-20 feet in diameter. I'm skeptical of a speaker-based system that can provide the required exclusivity to the sound for each ear without also drastically restricting the listening position. I have a few assembled binaural recordings at http://timbreProductions.com that can be downloaded for headphones.

Jul. 16 2011 11:53 AM
Nolly from El Cajon, CA

About 15 years ago, I saw a movie where they were testing / demoing a system where you rented a headset with a pair of built-in "directional" speakers, which did an _amazing_ job of 3D sound. The headset sat on your head, a bit like a crown, and the pre-movie demo of the technology was more than worth the cost of the headset rental. People were turning around to look for the source of some of the sounds, despite knowing intellectually that it was a demo.

I've never seen that system again, and I don't know what it was called, but it was amazing.

Jul. 15 2011 01:53 AM
Benjamin from Los Angeles, CA

This page is astonishing. Prof. Choueiri presents his work as his own original research but his work is no different than other work that has been done by others in the last 25 years. Indeed, Manfred Schroeder did work in this field in 1961! Schroeder's work was improved upon by others in the 1980s and 1990s and Choueiri's recordings sound no different. It is amazing that he can get this much traction from a press that is asleep at the wheel. To present this work as new and original is raw academic dishonesty. Let's hope his reputation in plasma physics remains intact.

Jul. 15 2011 01:20 AM
Dennis Orcutt from Oklahoma City

when is this filter to become available to broadcasters, and where do we find it

Jul. 14 2011 11:19 AM
James

It'd be awesome if one could hear the music of Hans Zimmer, John Williams, or Michael Giacchino in 3D, this is the future of audio, right here!

Jul. 10 2011 01:32 PM
Len Moskowitz from Teaneck NJ (USA)

Crosstalk cancellation is a well-known process. Dr. Choueiri's technique is a very smartly done version of it.

As Ty Ford noted, the sound sample you provided plays back in wide stereo, with a notable hole in the middle. There's no sound that comes from direct left or right, none from behind, and none from above or below.

Using headphones, one can do better with simple binaural recordings, and much better by adding head tracking.

To do better over speakers you'd need more than two speakers. Probably the best way to get good 360-degree (in azimuth/horizontal) playback requires 6 speakers arranged ina ring around the listener, and an Ambisonic decoder.

Len Moskowitz
Core Sound LLC

Jul. 10 2011 09:03 AM
Kavi Alexander from Santa Barbara, CA.

I would like to draw the attention of all concerned to the work of a prior worker in the field, A. Klayman, who designed the Hughes AK-100, an astonishing unit! Let us remember those who went before and paved the way...

Jul. 10 2011 03:31 AM
Ty Ford from Baltimore, MD USA

The naming of "3D" to audio is not very good. 3D movies pop out of the screen at the viewer. This audio sample does not do that. Instead, it goes wide. That's not 3D. So what we have here is a marketing misnomer used, presumably, because 3D is a "hot" marketing word right now.

This sound is very similar to sound processed by the Bedini Audio Spatial Environment hardware box that I reviewed professionally for Radio World or Pro Audio Review in 1991. Here's more on it: http://www.bedini.com/base.htm

Regards,

Ty Ford
www.tyford.com

Jul. 04 2011 04:45 PM
Alex Kall from Halifax

This is an absolutely amazing step forward for binaural audio. Hats off and high fives to Dr. Choueiri from everyone at Kall Binaural Audio here in Halifax!

Jun. 14 2011 09:48 PM
Kate from Netherlands

I too came here looking for information on a 3D plugin for iTunes. Will this be available soon??

Jun. 12 2011 05:36 AM
Gelatinous Yam from Flor'da

That gurgling water really made me have to go to the bathroom.

May. 20 2011 09:59 PM
tylerwissman

olivier messiaen's quartet for the end of time, holst's the planets, and miles davis' kind of blue seem pretty obvious to me as things i'd like to hear in 3-D.

May. 16 2011 10:25 AM
Kirti Vashee from Santa Monica, CA 90403

I am also involved with 3D audio technology which was done in collaboration with Weiss Electronics

I can play any CD (including mix CDs made on your PC) and present them in a 3D format on relatively inexpensive equipment (though it does sound better on better speakers at least).

Actually it can also make an Ipod sound great but the source needs to be up-sampled to be processed by Maya.

http://mayaacoustics.web.officelive.com/default.aspx

We are in early stages of commercialization and it compares favorably to the samples I have heard here or on Astoundsound

I would be happy to demo this in Santa Monica, CA

May. 12 2011 03:54 PM
arielko

all good and interesting, but the 11 year old's recording is what really got me.

May. 12 2011 03:19 PM
Seth from Tampa, FL


Finally got to hear your 3D sound episode, downloaded it in iTunes and skipped to the section.  As a sound designer for my independently released Modular Synthesizer music, I am extremely interested in experimenting with these filters to see how effective and ineffective parts and aspects of my music will sound using this technology.  In addition, as a Live Sound Engineer I am interested in the affect this could have on a live theater show in increasing the realism of a performance.  When listening to the birds and the stream, the directionality is crisp.  This crispness seems to deminish with the addition of reverb, as in the Bach piece.  I almost think the Bach in 3D would be more effective dry.  Thanks for the good stuff.

May. 11 2011 10:15 PM
Bill from Warwick,NY

Amazing! I would love to see this work it's way into everyday applications. TV, radio and computing.

May. 10 2011 12:54 PM
greg_m

Sounds to me as if there's a lot of out-of-phase information there. The soundstage extends out beyond the speakers on either side, but there is a pronounced hole in the middle.

Remember that most recordings are mixed on speakers in a studio. Those studio speakers have crosstalk, just like the speakers in your living room. When the engineer mixes the recording, he (consciously or unconsciously) takes into account that speaker crosstalk in adjusting the mix. When the engineer is done, the recording, played back on *speakers* (with crosstalk) sounds the way the engineer, producer, and artists intend it to sound. When you play it back on your living room speakers (assuming they're decent speakers), it will still sound the way the mixing engineer intended. After applying Choueiri’s "filter" the playback will no longer sound the way the artists, producer, and engineer want it to sound.

So if you want something that sounds *different* from what the artists intended, by all means go for this technique. If you don't mind extreme separation with a "hole in the middle," by all means go for this technique.

Keep in mind, engineers have been working hard to get the "sound stage" to be as realistic as possible. They could have done this "phase alteration" trick years ago... others have played with phase alteration long ago, have noted the problems created (like the "hole in the middle") and have decided not to use it. The engineers, producers, musicians apparently did *not* think this was the most realistic option. And I agree.

May. 08 2011 11:32 PM
Ted Makler

I would love to hear:
1) sounds of the natural outdoors world (forests with birds, the seashore with gulls, etc.) but also of cities and manmade sounds from around the world e.g. traffic, trains, the space shuttle takeoff etc.
2) Evocative Music e.g. Debussy's La Mer, or R. Strauss's Ein Heldenleben

May. 07 2011 01:43 PM
Daniel from FL

After listening to your broadcast, I have memories of hearing :Dark Side of the Moon: and Quadaphenia: and wanting more... True 3d in 2d is a studio trick if you know it. and transforming stereo into 3d really can be achieved with traditional layering of studio sound.,

location b bleed is limited by the capabilities of the sound....and those who can hear it.

If this can really do it through a mathematical plugin, it changes everything. I want it and if it is so transforming, I want it for free... then see who can make be best of it and still make it sound good in regular stereo...

left, right, center are defined. the difference in between make the sound you hear.

May. 06 2011 09:08 PM
Frank Day

I would love to hear the crowd at some sort of game. Basketball would be good because there is court noise to hear.

Other things to hear would be:

a gunshot with sound bouncing off buildings nearby buildings.

Several people talking at once as at a party, can we discriminate and focus on one as we can in real life?

Can the laugh track of a show be put out with you, the listener, while the show goes on in front of you, with only two speakers?

This is very exciting.

May. 05 2011 10:00 PM
Eugene

The idea is very interesting, it definitely does add feel of space for the soundscape effects like water or forest.

However for music, specifically the Money by Pink Floyd, it doesn't sound that impressive compared to the surround mix of the same album.
The demo of Money does sound like the channels are being put a little out of phase (something that any good sound editor program can do, they sometimes call it narrowing or widening the audio panorama), which makes center weaker and makes sides stronger - exactly what one can hear in the demo. I am sure that the plug in does more than that, but this is how it sounds on a fairly well calibrated system.
It is also worth noting that song Money was mixed for the regular 2-speaker systems, so ultimately any "surround" information was already removed by the sound engineer.

However there is an amazing mix of Dark Side of the Moon in 5.1 sound, it does have all the spatial information and it does sound amazing on the well calibrated system. It would be very interesting to hear the result if the plug in could be modified to take a 5.1 sound mix and play in on a 2 speaker system while maintaining the spatial information of the sound - that would open up a lot of possibilities for those who enjoy surround sound, but do not have a space and money for a proper installation of 5.1 system.

May. 05 2011 04:01 PM
ahsteckler from new jersey

any classical orchestra recording

May. 04 2011 04:15 PM
Bob Belden from USA

My name is Bob Belden. I am a producer/musician living in Manhattan. I have a new CD coming out in May on Rare Noise Records called "Asiento" with my group ANIMATION. For our iTunes and digital media, we are releasing the entire CD in a similar format called 3d60 sound from a company of the same name based in the UK.

http://www.3d60.co.uk/

Listed are links to the music and the proper way to listen.

Headphone surround sound!

From ANIMATION "Asiento"

"Pharoah's Dance" 3d60 mix (http://www.3d60.co.uk/)
http://www.sendspace.com/file/odx69w

to play back 3d60 file (flac) use the following media player (VLC)

HEADPHONES ONLY

VLC for Mac
http://www.videolan.org/vlc/download-macosx.html

VLC also has a PC application.

bob belden

May. 04 2011 03:23 PM
Susanna Eguren from Lima, Peru

OUTSTANDING! These sounds added to the 3D films would be amazing!

May. 04 2011 01:02 PM
Loren Lieberman from Santa Barbara

I write opera. I use a synthetic voice patch when I compose, as an aid in writing for voice. I would like to be able to write for Virtual Opera, 3D digital. One of the main obstacles, is a voice patch for chorus! It would be wonderful to be able to have a patch that could handle words -- a singing voice patch. Such patches exist, and, I believe, exist for several voices. I do not think they exist for chorus.

May. 04 2011 12:10 PM
Bob Swenson from Denville, NJ

I am most impressed with Edgar's work, but then a person who works with rocket engines, creates a new sound experience and immigrates from Lebanon, it would have to be an Edgar kind of person. I give him 2 years tops and he will find a way to have his 3D sound affect the Olfactory nerves so one will be able to smell the piece as well. Can't stop there, then it's on to sence of taste. Doesn't take much effort when you listen to his demos that one can almost see the piece as well with your eyes closed. What's left - the sence of feeling. Oh, Edgar, what have you done? I also see in 2 years, better, cheaper and simplified audio systems with his technology making everything we use now to listen to recorded things on as obsolete as the 8 tracks; remember them? Get me a job working with you in Princeton Edgar.

May. 04 2011 08:55 AM
Charles from Katonah, New York

Mahler's Second or Eighth Symphony, and Wim Wenders' 3D documentary on Pina Bausch, PINA!

May. 04 2011 08:29 AM
John Grannis from Montclair, NJ

Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon would be a very good choice. In fact the band deliberately presented that work as a 3-D experience. In the spring of 1973 I witnessed a full performance of Dark Side at (of all places) a hockey rink in Madison, Wisconsin. Speakers were place front and back, left and right, and the music was mixed in dynamic Quadrophonic sound. From my vantage point in the middle of the floor, just in front of the mixing board, guitar sounds swirled overhead, as red and green lines of laser light danced through the smoke filled space. Pink Floyd were truly rocket scientists, taking their audience on a visual and aural trip!

May. 04 2011 02:58 AM

Thanks to everyone for your passionate interest in our 3D sound adventure. For those with lingering questions, Edgar has his own FAQ page here:
www.princeton.edu/3D3A/PureStereo/Pure_Stereo.html#Pure_Stereose17.html

A few other clarifications: Although it didn't make the final cut, Edgar went out of his way to credit his predecessors in the field of 3D audio. Also, for all the audiophiles out there, Edgar used a fairly universal filter suited for a wide range of speaker positions in processing our examples. The upshot is a bigger sweet spot with a slightly less accurate 3D sound stage. As for multiple sweet spots, Edgar recently announced a breakthrough on that front as well: www.princeton.edu/3D3A/MultipleSS.html

Finally, Edgar says he gets asked the "headphone question" all the time. Although crosstalk isn't an issue with headphones, there are other stumbling blocks to achieving true 3D sound. In a nutshell, if your head moves, the sound image moves with it and your brain immediately recognizes that it is being tricked and collapses the 3D image (it knows that when you go to a concert and move your head the musicians do not stand up and move with it). When the 3D image collapses it goes inside your head because the transducers are right at your ears and you brain figures out there is nowhere else the sound could be coming from in the world except from inside your head.

Hope that helps clear up some questions and keeps the conversation going. Thanks for listening!

May. 03 2011 07:49 PM
Nicholas Chase from Concord, CA

I am a musician, broadcast television engineer and systems design engineer for many years.

I remember going to the NAB convention (Nat'l Association of Broadcaster's Convention ) in Las Vegas back in the nineteen-eighties..

I picked up a CD touting "Dimensionality" for stereo processing.

While wearing headphones, the developers had created many interesting effects including things like an approaching helicopter beginning behind your head and gradually flying over and away in front. The effect was startling to say the least.

I believe they were using 'phase-correlation or cancellation-filtering to achieve the effect. It was remarkable but was perceived as a 'gimmick' and nobody adopted it.

Your technology is exciting. I cannot wait to hear a full-length musical concert to experience it.

Respectfully,

Nicholas Chase - producer / director / engineer / writer etc.....

May. 03 2011 02:48 PM
Jaime from Bogotá, Colombia

I want everything on my library! I can't wait for an iOS app and iTunes plugin!
Anything from Bonobo, Zuco 104 or Koop!

May. 02 2011 10:52 PM
Mike

Strauss' Zarathustra would be awesome.

May. 02 2011 05:38 PM
G. Furaus

Finally! Realistic reproduction of music. Let's hear a large pipe organ recording and, please, get this technology out to the masses ASAP.

May. 02 2011 02:45 PM
wayne from Gibsons,Canada

Superb Edgar, I know rocket scientists who could never realize a final product, this has caught my attention. Please become successful and simplify our ridiculous over investment in more speakers is better attitude. I would like to see this in hospitals as therapy for those who cannot get out to hear the world outside, keep up the good work, I trust from your choices you have already made, your decision on what we will hear next will be equally considered.

May. 02 2011 01:39 PM
Jerry Mahabub from Venice, CA

Being an acoustic physicist myself, and conducting my own R&D in the field of psychoacoustics for over 23 years straight here is a real opinion: Edgar's work is fantastic for academic purposes and introducing students at Princeton to the fundamentals of psychoacoustics and what we typically refer to as "sound localization". Klaus Genuit with Head Acoustics in Germany, Bill Gardner with the KEMAR dummy head from MIT Media Labs among others have all gone down this path. and there is always room for improvement. For any real-world applications, unfortunately binaural dummy head "recordings" not a post production audio DSP solution capable of "processing" (not recording) any input mono or stereo audio to 2 channel out, are simply not compatible with workflow integration say for film mixing at a dub stage, and they most certainly, regardless of whatever compensatory audio DSP is completed AFTER the localization cue recording, will not pass QC testing nor will the localization hold true for the standard fold-down that is always done to create a two channel from a 5.1 audio mix session (commonly referred to as an LTRT for the Dolby 2 channel encode that decodes to LCRS for Pro Logis, or a stereo ITU fold-down). For any professional audio production work, not academic, this is the area that I have focused my life's research on, and we have complete workflow integration, have passed all QC testing at the largest film studios such as 20th Century Fox, and most importantly, all of our audio stays in phase, with negligible tonal colorization, and zero rolloff for what is called "mono compatibility" testing as is required by all dub stages or any post production work at any studio that knows what they are doing. So, having said that, please understand that what Edgar is doing could potentially one day be something where he could sell sound effect libraries for smaller independent studios to utilize for thier projects, however, this will take a VERY long time before he is ready to do that as all of his sound effects that he records will have to pass all QC testing, or it will get kicked off the dub stage, and although he corrects for phase, this causes a rolloff, and thus you will lose mono compatibility (usually for binaural dummy head recordings this happens in the upper frequencies, however, it really depends on several factors leading up to the phase issue in the first place). If you would like to learn about the R&D that I have been doing concurrently with years of software development, please check out my recent interview with one of the leading Pro Audio and Audiophile AV writers, Scott Wilkinson, at http://www.ultimateavmag.com/content/podcast-58-jerry-mahabub and you might better understand why we as humans perceive elevation azimuth and distance cues, and it takes a lot more than a dummy head and some corrective filtering...

May. 02 2011 07:38 AM
Azzu from Germany

I don't know, but I don't hear any amazing 3D sound with headphones. I have heared much better examples of 3D sound, like the one from Aimar: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WYdIidUIbAs

May. 02 2011 06:12 AM
Davin Biddle from central PA

We need this now. This is like showing us DSL and then expecting us to go back to dialup. I can't enjoy music anymore. Not now that I know we haven't been listening to a "clean" sound quality. The difference between 5.1 and this is staggering. Those that compared the two and pointed out their similarities must process sound waves much differently that I do because its night and day to me. I'm not really interested in listening to anything now unless its 3Dified. Godspeed to marketing. Sooner I can listen to music again.

May. 02 2011 04:48 AM
tom lavin from Vanpocuver, BC

Donald fagen; 'Walk Between the Raindrops'

May. 02 2011 02:11 AM
Jose Daniel Alvarez

I would like to make a thesis work of this topic... I really like acoustic and sounds... what do you recommend me... or how can I begin on this field???

May. 02 2011 01:29 AM
Monika from Los Angeles, CA

My dream is to hear Wagner's entire "Ring" in 3D sound. What an incredible experience that would be!

Edgar, you deserve to receive the Nobel prize.

May. 02 2011 01:08 AM
Jeff Cook from Virginia

I believe I'm following the mechanism - sort of a phase cancellation similar to noise reduction headphones, but applied to only cancel the portion shared by both stereo speakers?

I'd like to request a music piece by SONOS called "Come Here Boy", very rich a cappella with varying mic distances, dynamic vocal range, solo and choral stereo blending, and electronic voice processing. It's on the album called Sonosings. Thanks very much. I'd like to know more about this process.

May. 01 2011 11:19 PM
Joseph Swiatkowski from Florida

Have you tried anything along the lines of 'binaurual beats'?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Binaural_beats

May. 01 2011 07:34 PM
Bijan from New York City from New York City

Edgar's invention is the answer to all those "what if someone could...." questions. This 3D sound is my dream come true!! Please let me know when this could be obtained commercially.
Mr. Choueiri, not only you honor all those of Lebanese descent, you honour us all. Thank you!!

May. 01 2011 05:53 PM
Larry Hall from Elyria, Ohio

This plugin for iTunes should be made available on iTunes... I would love to purchase it! I figure $19.95... hell, I'd purchase it if it was $129.95! Great job and congrats!

May. 01 2011 05:50 PM
Sarah from Brooklyn, NY

I'd love to hear fireworks and Philip Glass in 3D - any composition would do but Knee Play 3 from Einstein on the Beach would be my first choice.
Also, the headline for the show tricked me...I thought I was going to hear Werner Herzog in 3D. You planted a seed there; a 3D Herzog monologue would be awesome.

May. 01 2011 04:31 PM
Deborah from Somers, NY

I'd like to hear the great orchestral classics like Beethoven's symphonies, Smetna, Hayden, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, etc. What a rich experience that would be.

May. 01 2011 04:09 PM
Sue

@Deb from Cambridge: Yes, I think that's the idea.

May. 01 2011 02:50 PM
Deb from Cambridge

Oops, I meant to say "from the speaker of the other ear?"

May. 01 2011 02:39 PM
Deb from Cambridge

Can someone explain this separation thing for me? How is this different from headphones, where we can't hear anything in one ear that comes from the speaker of the ear?

May. 01 2011 02:38 PM
Rich VanWart from Boston

Wonderfully shimmering effect! That's the wettest water I've ever heard -- sensational, and such a tactile, remarkably defined audio experience. Thanks!

May. 01 2011 02:27 PM
Esau from Isaac's Hut

"Trippy enough?" Brother, 3D sound is an *incentive* to get high. I'm sparking up right now.

May. 01 2011 02:19 PM
Todd from Virginia

Brilliant... Please make anything from my Bloody Valentine's Loveless into 3D sound.

May. 01 2011 01:54 PM
Sarah from Brooklyn, NY

I'd love to hear fireworks and Philip Glass in 3D - any composition would do but Knee Play 3 from Einstein on the Beach would be my first choice.
Also, the headline for the show tricked me...I thought I was going to hear Werner Herzog in 3D. You planted a seed there; a 3D Herzog monologue would be awesome.

May. 01 2011 01:43 PM
Allen

I was eagerly listening to the story in hopes that this would finally let me understand why people were so excited about stereo sound all these years. And, as with everything before, it utterly failed me. The segment of the birds continued to sound as flat as ever. I have to wonder how many others like me don't experience this.

May. 01 2011 11:45 AM
Marianna Mott Newirth from nyc

Two words...RADIO LAB!

May. 01 2011 11:42 AM
Brad Childress from Nashville, TN

How does this differ from ambiophonics and binaural recordings? I have a binaural CD that's nearly twenty years old.

May. 01 2011 11:41 AM
Strider from Kentucky

How about shutting up for a few seconds so we can actually *hear* the bloody thing?

May. 01 2011 11:36 AM
Andrew from Cleveland

@Barry_NJ re: Ambiophonics. I was exploring Edgar Choueiri's research website on 3-D audio at Princeton and came across a FAQ that responds exactly to your question:

http://www.princeton.edu/3D3A/PureStereo/Pure_Stereose17.html#x39-1700017

Basically, Ambiophonics relies on a different speaker setup, is un-optimized for crosstalk cancellation, less realistic, more computationally intensive, etc.

May. 01 2011 11:27 AM
duane from VA

I've spent considerable amounts of $$ (digital crossover, room equilizer, ribbon speakers, tri-amped speaker system) trying to improve the depth and width of my stereo soundstage, so I was very impressed by your listening samples. When can I purchase this 3d sound enhancement?

May. 01 2011 08:08 AM
Frank Patrick from Hillsborough, NJ

It would be nice if I could play the demos through my iPad.

May. 01 2011 07:58 AM
Lee Stevens from Corpus Christi , Texas

Great! I have been working along these lines to apply it to lower budget film making, theater and audio sound track recording. Except for a few people who are working on meager budgets, the "Audophile" engineers who constantly guard the patents drive the costs of the recording software and hardware up to the stratosphere so that it never gets applied. This will be wonderful for Internet Sound but not if it sits on the shelf at Princeton or is only applicable to Spielberg or Lucas.

May. 01 2011 07:41 AM
Auratech from Hungary

Parameters of crosstalk cancellation is depending the speaker positioning, room acoustic, the listener head and ear (HRTF). Hard (impossible) to imagine one setting for all listening situation.

May. 01 2011 03:20 AM
Auratech from Hungary

Crosstalk cancelling is cool way to achieve better sounding consumer listening. My way is the 3D recording with new mic physics and configuration.

May. 01 2011 03:04 AM
Ed Evans

PLEEZE .. people have been monkeying with stereo since Edison. Good stereo recording techniques will create great stereo. Unfortunately great audio has taken a back seat in the past decades except in very narrow niches. This leaves an opening for "new" techniques and revelations.
The problem in general with manipulations that focus phase & sound in SPEAKERS, is that it creates a stereo sweet spot that only works in limited instances. For much greater control we already have 5.1, which is widely available, has wider sweet spot, can be compatible with music and movies and RETAINS the original artist choices as far as sound placement is concerned. So lets use what we've got to better sound reproduction. When SOME record company or independent starts issuing 5.1 audio only (mostly) DVDs we will have a new ball game.... product to sell, that is harder to down load, AND sounds better.
Listen to the 5.1 of Roxy Music Avalon.. brilliant.

May. 01 2011 12:33 AM
Constance Wiggins from Berkeley

I don't know what moved you to change your website but I can't figure out why it is better. KQED doesn't play your program any more so I can only get in on the website but it is very confusing.

Apr. 30 2011 11:42 PM
Barry_NJ

How is this different from what Ralph Glasgal developed years ago, it's called Ambiophonics...

http://ambiophonics.org/

and

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ambiophonics

Apr. 30 2011 11:29 PM
Jared from Concord, NH

This is amazing! I can't wait for this to be available! Honestly I feel that 3D film is overrated and a Fad, But the listening experience that this filter could offer could change it all! Thanks for the great story!

Apr. 30 2011 09:50 PM
David Henderson from Lexington, KY

The only market for 3D Sound will be as an add-on device. You will have to add it to every TV, receiver, MP3 player etc. that you want to hear the effect through.

Apr. 30 2011 09:13 PM
David Henderson from Lexington, KY

3D Sound does indeed give a pleasant sense of spaciousness, similar to Bob Carver's Sonic Holography. But as a recording engineer, I also recognize the effect as being similar to what happens when a spaced array of microphones is used to capture a sound stage without paying proper attention to cancellation issues: very spacious sound, but with poor mono summing. The enhanced stereo sound stage collapses into a relatively puny mono. This is not a concern for normal home listening, but radio, movies and TV will not be quick to adopt a sound format that has such a difference in sound level between stereo and mono.

Apr. 30 2011 08:57 PM
Steve Robillard from Northampton, MA

This is, indeed, fabulous. As a musician and dabbler in home recording I would LOVE to be able to acquire this algorithm or I Tunes app. Is it available?
(Again, thank you for a mind blowing experience. I had to re-listen to it on my computer to get the full effect.)

Apr. 30 2011 08:44 PM
Ron from Shepherdstown, WV

This is amazing work. I've felt for some time that Ipods and digital music generally strip out sound separation. I eagerly await for this sound system to be "available at a store near you".

Apr. 30 2011 07:15 PM
Derek from Canada

This is fantastic. I would fully support this to catch on.

Apr. 30 2011 06:46 PM
Roscoe from Colorado

Ultra cool. Can't wait to hear things I've listened to for years in this way like Sargent Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band or Holst's The Planets. Or most anything! Whippoorwills(?) on the Wyoming plain.

Apr. 30 2011 05:29 PM
Barry Kushelowitz from Manhattan

When, oh when, can we get our hands on this technology? I'm always amazed that the latest innovations that could be utilized to enhance sound quality are quickly gobbled up by film, games, etc. and often don't even make it to music playback itself! Not only did CDs not get replaced by DVDs for music, but music went in the opposite direction, with CD quality being downgraded into compressed tracks that flattened soundstage, etc. (ITunes sells only compressed files). I'm wondering if the inventor is considering offering this software for sale as a digital download, so we can add it to our ITunes or other playback servers and finally have a step forward in the playback of our music. Great work!

Apr. 30 2011 05:21 PM
Jarret from Texas

It would be nice to hear a symphony with some dimension.

Song request:

Muse - "Exogenesis: Symphony Part 1 (Overture)"

Apr. 30 2011 05:19 PM
Zak from Manhattan

Star Wars. Nuff said.

Apr. 30 2011 04:56 PM
Ben from Kentucky, USA

"What music or sound do you want to hear in 3D? Leave a comment and let us know."

Stravinsky's Le sacre du printemps!!!

Apr. 30 2011 04:48 PM
earle from 01331

Paul Klipsh long ago worked toward this. I believe all the examples prior were miraculous in themselves. Mr Choueiri appears to have tapped recent technologies to simplify it all. It was truly remarkable. It was completely gimmick and effect neutral. It seemed like I was in my beloved river searching for dragonflies as the bird erupted

Apr. 30 2011 02:15 PM
John Niessink from Portage, MI

The headset sound demonstration here is equally impressive. It succeeds in making the sound appear to be “out there” rather than inside one’s head. Obviously, there is no cross-channel crosstalk in a headset. I am guessing that in this modality crosstalk is actually added, as it is in the Dolby Headset system. I often use a headset when watching noisy movies out of consideration for other people in my light frame house. This would be a welcome enhancement. When is some version of this going to be on the market?

Apr. 30 2011 02:09 PM
Dennis Dezort from Lancaster, PA

You can use 3D sound placement with musical cues to enable a blind person to fly an airplane. Pitches and rhythmic values, arranged in space and time could enable a blind person to take off, climb to altitude, level-off and return home and land safely.

Apr. 30 2011 02:08 PM
Guy Howard from SF Bay Area

From a fellow audiophile and amateur loudspeaker designer - very impressed, indeed. Another attribute of sound that I have felt was important was flat power response along with flat frequency response. If Dr. Choueiri’s method allows for against-the-wall speaker placement, then requirement for baffle diffraction step compensation disappears and power response = frequency response. Would love to hear B minor mass.

Apr. 30 2011 02:02 PM
Camille

Listening to the outdoor water and birds recording was very calming and relaxing. With my eyes closed I had the perception of being in situ. I can imagine that this type of audio experience would have many applications for music therapy, say in hospitals.

Apr. 30 2011 01:54 PM
Jarret from Texas

Am I right in thinking that this concept would not work in a living room environment with a family sitting on a couch around a TV? If this technology does make it into living rooms, it seems that there would have to be a way to disable the feature during times when a large audience is gathered around a single focal point with vastly different points of perspective.

Apr. 30 2011 01:44 PM
Bill from Jackson, MS

I believe Mathew Polk incorporated this idea of subtractive crosstalk into his SDA (Stereo Dimensional Array) line of speakers beginning in 1985. They utilized a second driver in each speaker to cancel the crosstalk from the opposite speaker. I paid $2600/pair for these speakers and still use them today.

Apr. 30 2011 07:49 AM
aimar from Barcelona

I like the sound, but I can´t listening a true 3d... :(
Headphones(akg k271mkII)
Speakers Adam A7X

There is no sound on my feets or above my head.

In this other video I feel the sound in 3d.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WYdIidUIbAs&feature=related
(headphones)
1:03

Apr. 29 2011 07:21 PM
Salim Azar from Montreal

What creativity!
I also vote for the Nobel Prize
Edgar, you honor all those of Lebanese descent.

Apr. 29 2011 12:49 PM
Lloyd Baroody from Warsaw, Poland

I know Edgar as a friend and I have experienced his 3D sound on several occasions. It is for real, and I believe it will revolutionize sound technology. Edgar is one of the smartest persons I know, and he's not the egghead you would expect him to be as a physics professor from Princeton. He's a down to earth, regular, nice guy who is very passionate about whatever he does. Edgar should be nominated for a Nobel prize for this invention.

Apr. 29 2011 04:45 AM
Marnie from Chateau de La Barre, France

Absolutely mindboggling! I cannot wait to hear my favorite concerts now comfortably from home, as up to now, it was always a disappointment when listening to the record or CD of a concert I had enjoyed on site.
John Nelson, our friend and Orchestra Director, currently performing St Matthews passion, in Paris and Chicago among others this year, will be enchanted.
Thank you, Edgar, for this magnificent contribution to the arts too.

Apr. 29 2011 04:40 AM

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