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Open access

Wieslaw Woszczyk

Abstract

Active acoustics offers potential benefits in music halls having acoustical short-comings and is a relatively inexpensive alternative to physical modifications of the enclosures. One critical benefit of active architecture is the controlled variability of acoustics. Although many improvements have been made over the last 60 years in the quality and usability of active acoustics, some problems still persist and the acceptance of this technology is advancing cautiously. McGill's Virtual Acoustic Technology (VAT) offers new solutions in the key areas of performance by focusing on the electroacoustic coupling between the existing room acoustics and the simulation acoustics. All control parameters of the active acoustics are implemented in the Space Builder engine by employing multichannel parallel mixing, routing, and processing. The virtual acoustic response is created using low-latency convolution and a three-way temporal segmentation of the measured impulse responses. This method facilitates a sooner release of the virtual room response and its radiation into the surrounding space. Field tests are currently underway at McGill University involving performing musicians and the audience in order to fully assess and quantify the benefits of this new approach in active acoustics.

Open access

Wieslaw Woszczyk, Doyuen Ko and Brett Leonard

Abstract

Virtual or active acoustics refers to the generation of a simulated room response by means of electroacoustics and digital signal processing. An artificial room response may include sound reflections and reverberation as well as other acoustic features mimicking the actual room. They will cause the listener to have an impression of being immersed in virtual acoustics of another simulated room that coexists with the actual physical room. Using low-latency broadband multi-channel convolution and carefully measured room data, optimized transducers for rendering of sound fields, and an intuitive touch control user interface, it is possible to achieve a very high perceived quality of active acoustics, with a straightforward adjustability. The electroacoustically coupled room resulting from such optimization does not merely produce an equivalent of a back-door reverberation chamber, but rather a fully functional complete room superimposed on the physical room, yet with highly selectable and adjustable acoustic response. The utility of such active system for music recording and performance is discussed and supported with examples.