03.08.15

SpeakerCraft Takes AIM on Object-Based Surround Sound for the Next-Gen Connected Home

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By Carrie Scott, Marketing Manager, Core Brands. In today’s fast moving, tech savvy world, more and more consumers are looking for b...

Carrie Scott_thumbBy Carrie Scott, Marketing Manager, Core Brands. In today’s fast moving, tech savvy world, more and more consumers are looking for better sounding (and better looking) sound systems for their homes and home theatres. Remember the days when just having a home theatre was downright incredible? That privilege used to only belong to a select few and more often than not, big time movie producers! Well now it’s becoming more ubiquitous and because of that, a key differentiator for the true home theatre enthusiast is 3D surround sound. Once a technology only found in large-scale commercial theatres, the 3D surround sound format, which includes “height” speakers to augment the listening experience, can now be enjoyed from the comfort of your couch. If you’ve looked into AURO-3D, Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, then you may know that while AURO-3D was the first immersive sound format in theatres, Dolby got the jump on the consumer market largely due to price points that make it easy for the “average” audiophile to ease into. [caption id="attachment_10056" align="alignleft" width="320"]283-PROFILE-NO-GRL AIM Series 2 has been 100% ReCrafted to support sophisticated installations and advanced object-based surround audio platforms.[/caption] Quick 4-1-1 on Immersive Surround Sound: It can be channel-based (i.e., Left, Center, Right, Surround Left, Surround Right) or object-based (sounds stored with metadata that define the sound's position in space along with speed and direction if the sound is moving). AURO-3D is channel-based, while Dolby Atmos and DTS:X are object-based immersive surround sound formats. To bring some clarity to the unique differentiation, think on this. If a movie is mixed in 5.1, it has the information it needs to play back to five speakers, and one subwoofer. There’s no need to add more speakers because the 5.1 mix is already defined and ready to take the audio content mixed and mastered by the engineers to create the illusion of rich, surround sound. With Atmos and DTS:X, instead of pushing a sound to a particular channel (speaker), it’s positioned to a place in a 3D space. For example, to create the effect of an enormous T-Rex barreling in to picture from overhead, the sound engineer doesn’t pick which speaker the sound of the dinosaur will come out of. Instead, the engineer picks a point in a 3D space and the Atmos or DTS:X system automatically adjusts the sound coming out of the appropriate speakers. Object-based surround processors can “scale” the audio surround envelope from as small as a 2-channel stereo system (even into headphones) to as much as a 35-channel (24 surround channels + subwoofer + 10 height speakers) system. In many of the marketing materials and diagrams used to explain object-based sound, the height speakers are shown as upward-facing speakers that reflect sound off the ceiling toward the listener. But as any installer knows, ceilings are often vaulted or irregular, or have hanging fixtures. In these situations, that crisp, enveloping sound envisioned with the object-based platforms becomes broken as reflections are directed around the room or absorbed by the material of the surface of the walls and ceiling. Architectural speakers, like the new AIM Series 2 from SpeakerCraft, solve these issues. [caption id="attachment_10058" align="alignright" width="400"]283-SLANT-L-NO-GRL The line adapts technology that was once only utilised in large sound reinforcement experiences.[/caption] And the AIM Series 2 speakers go way beyond resolving reflection issues, with a versatile design that delivers a more uniform coverage area without the high frequency drop-off found in conventional speakers. AIM Series 2 has been 100% ReCrafted to support sophisticated installations and advanced object-based surround audio platforms such as those listed above. The line adapts technology that was once only utilised in large sound reinforcement experiences, and introduces the adjustable pivoting ARC Tweeter Array that is nothing short of groundbreaking. By incorporating multiple tweeters in a line array, AIM Series 2 delivers focused high frequencies farther into the listening area than standard tweeter configurations. The ARC Tweeter Array enables a lower crossover point to increase the sound pressure level at the critical mid-range frequencies so that acoustically, listeners enjoy a much larger sweet spot and increased intelligibility. Adding to that, pivoting baffle architectural speakers let installers overcome challenging ceiling features, by creating directed sound fields that are tailored to the room.  Combined with in-wall architectural speakers, integrators can create impressive object-based systems that do not detract from a room’s aesthetics. So with that T-Rex barreling in from overhead, the sonic result is spectacular. The AIM Series 2 is the first architectural speaker series to deliver the performance of a 3-way design from a 2-way speaker. It’s available in 12 models and engineered such that every element of the series’ industrial design produces the clearest, best-dispersed sound. With aesthetics that have garnered the industry’s attention and awards that validate the innovation of these powerhouses, this series has been given the critics’ seal of approval. Best of all, AIM Series 2 was developed to map seamlessly with existing home theatre components, including any object-based sound systems. www.speakercraft.com