Audio Consulting - Audio Systems - OEM
THE EXPERTS BEHIND THE SOUND
When you walk into an IMAX theater, it is clear that you are in for anuncommon cinematic experience. The steep rake of the seating and the hugedomed screen-typically 100-feet wide and 60 to 70-feet high-promise animmersive, "middle-of-the-action" feel for films such as MacGillivrayFreeman's 1998 film Everest. But what you don't see is the audio systemdesigned to deliver a sound stage big enough to complement the huge picture.
Birmingham, Alabama-based Sonics Associates, a subsidiary of Toronto's IMAXCorporation that designs and builds sound systems for IMAX theaters,creates the sonic canvas. "The director and sound designer should be ableto choose the ambiance they want to create without the room or our systeminterfering," says Lynn McCroskey, president and CEO.
Achieving this goal starts with close attention to the physical layout andacoustics of the theaters. "IMAX theaters must meet a NC-25 Noise Criteriarating," McCroskey says, "compared to NC-35 in typical theaters wherebackground noise from air conditioning or traffic might be 10dB higher. Wealso require 0.8-second mid-band reverberation time, which is very lowconsidering the cubic volume of our theaters."
The Sonics playback systems use six discrete channels: left, center, right,left rear, right rear, and top center. "Material below 80Hz from each ofthese channels is rolled out of the main speakers and summed into oursub-bass system," explains McCroskey. The company's latest formatspecification also allows for a discrete low-frequency channel, effectivelymaking it a "6.1" channel system. But McCroskey says, "Most IMAX producersare not yet working in that format."
The playback system differs in several respects from surround systems inconventional theaters. Perhaps the most unusual element is the top-centerspeaker. "The typical IMAX screen," McCroskey explains, "is close to aconventional 4:3 aspect ratio, but much, much bigger. So you have a greatdeal of vertical, which gives you the opportunity to do a 'voice-of-God'loudspeaker." Another difference is the use of point-source surround, asopposed to the multiple small surround speakers used in conventionaltheaters. "Conventional rooms," McCroskey says, "come in so many differentshapes that it is nearly impossible for them to make point-source surroundwork."
Overall IMAX system power varies depending on the size of the room, but itis typically in the range of 12,500 watts. "The power is not there for theloudness," McCroskey says. "It's there for clarity and freedom fromdistortion." The enclosures are three-way systems using componentscustom-designed and manufactured to Sonics' specifications. Sonics combinesfour low-frequency loudspeakers in each cabinet with nested high- andmid-frequency horns. McCroskey points out the trapezoidal dispersionpattern (narrower at the top than the bottom), designed to match thedistinctive shape of IMAX theaters.
Using a sub-bass system for the deepest lows, McCroskey says, minimizesphase coherence problems. "In most installations, we use eight sub-bassloudspeakers, each in a 16-cubic-foot enclosure," he says. "The enclosuresinclude a filtering labyrinth we designed that physically traps thehigher-frequency components that can otherwise cause overtones anddistortion."
Another distinction between IMAX and other theater surround systems is thatSonics uses no digital audio data compression. Both the DDP and DTAC linesare full fidelity, "double-system" approaches, meaning that the sound isnot recorded on the film itself. "DDP uses three CD-Audio discs with apatented sample-accurate playback synchronization system," McCroskey says.DTAC, the company's newest system, plays back audio files either fromDVD-ROM or from a built-in hard disk. In some older IMAX theaters, theoriginal 35mm six-track, full-coat mag-sound system used from 1971 through1988 is still in place.
"These days most soundtracks are produced in digital formats," McCroskeysays. "They are usually sent in on TASCAM DA-88, and we transfer towhatever format is needed for the theaters where the film will play. OnEverest, for instance, we created both DDP and DTAC discs."
The Everest ExperienceWhen it came time to mix Everest, the tightly controlled audioimplementation in IMAX theaters offered mixers a reliable platform to aimfor. But how does the environment affect the actual finished mix?
Ken Teaney, chief re-recording mixer for Los Angeles-based EFX Systems andWilshire Stages, mixed Everest with colleague Marshall Garlington. Heexplains: "One of the things I exploit heavily compared to 35mm is thatIMAX surrounds are full-frequency speakers-big with a lot of low end. Thatmakes it easier to use interesting panning and changes of perspective tosupport the sense of motion you get from that large picture.
"In Everest, for example, sound comes from all around you in the interiorhelicopter shots, but when you cut to the copter going up the canyon, thesound is distant in the center speaker. We try to do that kind of thing for35mm films as well, but most surround speakers can't reproduce the low end,so the sound gets thinner as it moves from front to rear. With IMAX, thesound doesn't change at all, just the placement."
As in conventional mixing, Teaney focused dialog in the center. "Most IMAXpictures are driven by narration and voice-over," Teaney says. "To supportthe story, we place narration and voice-over in the center and also about10dB down in the left and right. Synch dialog, however, we keep only in thecenter."
Meanwhile, mixers kept the music out of the dialog's way. "In Everest, themusic is only in the four corner speakers," Teaney explains. "That actuallymakes it bigger spatially with a wider stereo image. Steve Wood, who workedwith Daniel May to orchestrate and mix George Harrison's compositions, usedthis format very effectively in places like the storm scene where there isa Tibetan bell that swirls around the room. It's a perfect complement towhat we did with effects to put the audience in the middle of all that windand ice."
As for effects placement, Teaney generally uses left and right instead ofthe center. "But where the action is center-screen, so are the effects, orelse the illusion is gone," he notes.
Teaney uses the top-center speaker sparingly. "There's one scene where aclimber is belaying another climber; you don't see him, but you hear himabove her," he says. "In another scene, the avalanche starts in the topspeaker and pans its way down. But that channel is really only useful in afew specific instances."
Everest was the first IMAX film where the final mix was done on location inan IMAX theater, the Irvine Spectrum. That meant the mixers did not have tomake several rounds of notes while watching the film and then implementchanges back at the EFX dub stage. But they did have to set up facilitiesin a working theater that was not available until 10 at night (after theday's last screening). They worked from a 24-track premix made at EFX withsix tracks each for effects, backgrounds, and music; three for Foley; andone each for narration, voice-overs, and dialog. EFX made a discrete premixto 24 tracks: six each for effects, backgrounds, and music; three forFoley; and one each for narration, voice-overs, and dialog.
Teaney and Garlington noticed some interesting differences between thesound on site and the sound on their dub stage. "The left and rightspeakers were so much further out," Teaney recalls, "that we decided wecould push both the background effects and the music up a bit withoutinterfering with the narration. That was great because the higherbackground levels of wind swirling around you really make it more of anexperience."
During the mix, picture was video-projected (IMAX projectors only rollforward). But at five in the morning when the mix seemed right, sound wassynched to the IMAX print for a check pass. "It was pretty exciting tofinally hear and see it all together," Teaney says. "Any fatigue we had upuntil that moment was gone the minute that big picture began to play."
Audio Brands we carry 25-Seven 360 Systems Acclaim Lighting Ace Backstage Acoustic Tools/RPG Acoustics First Adaptive Technologies ADC ADK Adtran Advanced Receiver AEQ Ahuja RadiosIndian speaker company AirTools AKAI AKG Alcorn McBride Alesis Alfred Music Publishing All Pro Solutions Allen & Heath Allen Products Altec Lansing Altronic Research American DJ AMK Amplifier Brands Analog Way Anchor Audio Andrew Ansmann Ansr Audio Antari APB Dynasonics APC Apex Aphex Apogee APT APW Armstrong Arrakis ART ARX Ashly Astatic Astell & Kern ATC Loudspeakers ATI Atlantic Technology Atlas Sound ATM Flyware ATS Acoustics Audac Audemat Audessence Audeze Audience ClairAudient Audient Audio Accessories Audio Science Audio-Technica Audioarts AudioControl Industrial Audioengine Audion Labs AudioSource Audix Auralex Australian Monitor AuviTran Avalon Avant Electronics Avid Aviom Avlex Bag End Bang & Olufsen Barcus-Berry Barix BBE Beats by Dre Beats Electronics Behringer Behringer Belar Belden Benchmark BenQ Better Bands Bext Beyerdynamic BGW Big Ear Inc. Bird Technologies BishopsoundBishopsound Ltd is a loudspeaker manufacturing company built on heritage, experience and culture. To this day, its unique sound and reliability are what distinguishes it from the many other competitors in the PA/Sound System indus Black Lion Audio Blackmagic Blizzard Lighting Blue Bogen Bosch Security Systems Bose Corporation Bose Professional Boss Boston Boston Acoustics Bowers & Wilkins Boxlight Brainstorm Electronics Broadcast Devices Broadcast Tools BSS Burk Buttkicker CabasseFounded in 1950 by Georges Cabasse, the Cabasse firm inherited not only its creator’s name, but also his genius. Georges Cabasse is from the world of music, and he is gifted with a special talent. He has a unique memory for sounds Cable Wave Cables To Go CAD CAIG Laboratories Cakewalk by Roland Calzone Cambridge Audio Cambridge Sound Management Canare CANTON CANTONGerman Loudspeaker Tradition Canton Elektronik GmbH & Co CBI Cdr-king Cedar CEntrance Cerwin-Vega Chauvet ChezRadio Chief CircuitWerkes Clarity Clear Tune Monitors Clear-Com ClearOne Clearsonic Clockaudio Coaxial Dynamics Coles Community Comply Comrex Comtek Conex Contemporary Research Core Brands Cornell Countryman Creative Technology Crest Crown Audio Crown Broadcast CSI/Speco Cymatic Audio D&M Professional Da-Lite Danish Audiophile Loudspeaker Industries Danley DAS DaySequerra dB Technologies dbx DCM Decade Definitive Technology Delta Electronics Denon Denon DJ Denon Professional Devialet DeVore Fidelity Dialight Dielectric Digidesign Digigram Digital Alert Systems Digital Audio Labs Digital Projection Digitech Dixon Systems DOD Dolby Dorrough DPA Microphones Draper Drawmer Dual Dynaudio Dynaudio Eartec Earthworks EAW Ebtech Echo Edcor Edifier Elation Electro Impulse Electro-Voice ElectroVoice Elenos Elite Core Emphasys Empirical Labs Epsilon Lighting ERI ESE ETA ETC Lighting Eternal Lighting Eupen Eventide Excalibur EZ Dupe F&d Fenda Audio Fender Pro A/V Fishman PA Five Core5CORE® is one of the largest manufacturers of PA System as well as top speaker brand in India. For more info visit Flash Technology Focal Focusrite Fostex Friend Chip FSR Fulcrum Acoustic Furman Future Sonics Galaxy Garner Gator Gefen Gemini Genelec Genelec Gentner Global Truss Glyph Gold Line Goldenear GoldenEar Technologies Gorman-Redlich Graham Studios Groove Tubes Grundorf Guitammer H.O.M.E. H&H Hall Research Harbeth Harman Kardon Hear Technologies Heil Helpinstill Henry Engineering Henry Radio HHB HK Audio HME Holodisplays Hosa HSA Rolltops iBall iHome Infinity InFocus Innovox Inovonics Integrated Lighting Systems Intelix Intellistage ION Audio IsoAcoustics Ivie iZotope Jamo JamStands Jands Vista Jawbone JBL JBL Professional Jet City Amplification JK Audio JL Audio JL Cooper Joe Meek Juice Goose Junger JVC JVC K-Array K-Tek K&M Kaces Kaltman Creations Kaman Music Kangaroo Cases KDM Keatona KEF Kelly Shu Kenwood Corporation Kintronic Labs Klang Klark-Teknik Klipsch Klipsch Audio Technologies Klover Koss Kramer Lab.Gruppen LEA International Lectrosonics Lenehan Audio Leprecon Lexicon Pro Liberty Wire & Cable Lighting & Electronics Lightronics Line 6 Linea Research Link Listen Litec Littlite Logitech Loud Technologies Lowell Lucid Lynx M-Audio Mackie Mackie Manhasset Marantz Marantz Professional Mark Antenna Marshall Marti Martin Martin Audio Mayah Communications McCauley MediaShout MEGA Systems Meyer Meyer Sound MF Digital Micro Communications MicroBoards Microwave Filter Midas Middle Atlantic Milab Millenia Media MiPro Mission Mogami Mogan Microphones Momentum by Pro Co Monitor Audio Mordaunt Short Moseley Motion Labs MXL Myat myMix Mystery Nady Neumann Neutrik Nevaton Newline Nicom Nord Novation NSI NTI Nubert Numark O.C. White OAP Audio Octasound Odyssey Olympic Case Omnia Omnimount Omnirax On-Stage One Systems Opti-Case Optoma Orban Ortofon OSP Otari OWI Oxmoor Panasonic Panasonic Corporation Panorama DTV Paradigm PAS Paso Pearl Peavey Pelican Perdue Acoustics Philips PI Engineering Pioneer Corporation Pioneer DJ Pivitec Plus 24 PMC Speakers Point Source Audio Polk Audio PolyPhaser PortaPocket Posh Posse Audio Potomac Powerclamp by Henry Engineering Powersoft Powerware by Eaton Practical Radio Communications PreSonus Primacoustic Prism Sounds Pro Co Pro Intercom Pro Tec Provider Series PS Audio PSB Speakers PTEK Pure Resonance Audio PureMake great radios and speaker products Pyle QEI QSC Quam-Nichols Quik-Lok QVS Radial Engineering Radio Design Labs Radio Systems Ram Broadcast Rane RapcoHorizon Raxxess RCA RCF Renkus-Heinz RESONADO RESONADOSpecializes in an innovative speaker technology called Flat Magnetic Speaker Technology Revel RevoLabs RF Venue RL Drake RME Road Ready Rock N Roller Rockford Fosgate Rockn Stompn RODE Roland Rolls RPG Diffuser Systems RSS by Roland RTS Rupert Neve Designs Russound Rycote Samco SamePage SampleLogic Samson Sandies Sanken Scala Schoeps Screen Paint Supply sE Electronics Sennheiser Sennheiser Sescom Sharp Corporation Shively Labs Shure Sine Systems SKB Skullcandy SLS Softube Sonance Sonex Sonifex Sontronics Sony Sony Corporation Sound Bridge Sound Projections Soundcraft Soundsphere SoundTube SpeakerCraft Special Projects Speco Speco/CSI SPX SSAC Stanton Stewart Audio Stewart Filmscreen Stormin Protection StreamS Studio Technologies Sunfire SurgeX Switchcraft Symetrix Syntax-Brillian Corporation T.C. Electronics T.C. Helicon Tannoy Tannoy TASCAM Teac TEAC Corporation Technomad Telefunken Teleware Telex Telos Thermionic Culture Tieline Times Square Lighting Titus TL Audio TOA Electronics Torpey Time Toshiba Totem Acoustic Tram Microphones Triangle - Manufacture ÉlectroacoustiqueFrench electro-acoustic system manufacturer, designer of Antal, Magellan, Titus, Comete.. Tripp-Lite Trusst TRZ Communications Tube-Tech Tunwall Radio Turbosound tvONE TWR Lighting U.S. Audio Ubl Ultimate Support Ultrasone University Sound Vaddio Vanguard Velodyne Viking Cases Violet Audio Violet Design Vivitek Voice Technologies Volcano Audio Vorsis Vox Pro VUE Waldorf Ward-Beck Waves Audio West Penn Westone Wharfedale Wheatstone Whirlwind Whirlwind Will-Burt Williams Sound WindTech Winsted Wohler WorxAudio X-mini XSF Truss XTA Yamaha Yamaha Corporation Yellowtec Yorkville Z-Systems Zephyrus Zilla Zoom
Our experience spans six continents, multiple disciplines and includes a broad range of technical expertise. We’ve invented technology, manufactured category leading products and produced world class experiences centered around audio. We pride ourselves on being innovative and strive to create unique products and experiences. We are a culture of thinkers and makers who work closely with each client to produce measurable results. There is no other company quite like us.
XMOOR ADDS POWERFUL NEW OPTIONS TO ZON AUDIO
Company unveils new modules for enhanced remote control and paging
For Immediate Release
(Birmingham, AL - November 11, 2003) - Oxmoor Corporation today unveiled enhancements to its ZON Whole House Digital Audio System - the ZIR -232 Device Commander and the ZEP -11 External Paging Interface. Responding to many integrator and end -user requests, Oxmoor developed these modules to provide even greater flexibility and functionality to the ZON Whole House Digital Audio product line.
ZIR -232 DEVICE COMMANDER:
The ZIR -232 module, also called the Device Commander, controls nearly all of today's popular brands of consumer electronic devices. It also interfaces with most home automation systems - and all from one convenient module designed exclusively for the ZON ZR -98 Router. External devices can be controlled via IR, RS -232, or a combination of both.
The Device Commander comes with an extensive pre -programmed library of the most often -used consumer electronics IR codes. For specialty equipment, there is a simple -to -use learning feature, which will memorize most any remote's IR codes and store them in on -board non -volatile memory.
"The Device Commander really creates a flexible system for the user, " said Lynn McCroskey, president and CEO of Oxmoor. "ZON is a plug and play system that works right out of the box without programming. However, for dealers and end users that desire a custom setup to integrate ZON with home control and other entertainment products, this new device is the business."
In addition to IR control, the Device Commander features a bi -directional RS -232 port to extend control capabilities. Control commands stored in the ZIR -232 are integrated with the ZON ZAC -60 Controller/Amplifier's revolutionary user interface and in conjunction with the ZON Router's on -board RS -232 port. Icons and/or text labels are assigned to stored commands and can be selected directly from a ZAC -60 display. Custom command configuration software allows full integration with the ZON system.
ZEP -11 EXTERNAL PAGING INTERFACE:
The ZEP -11 External Paging Interface expands the capabilities of the standard ZON paging features. Telephone and security systems, intercoms - and even weather radios - are integrated into a ZON system quickly and easily.
Custom engineered for the ZON ZR -98 Router, the ZEP -11 features an auto -sensing audio input (single RCA jack). An adjustable VOX threshold setting allows you to fine tune the sensitivity of the auto -sensing input. Audio received by the ZEP -11 is automatically routed to the paging bus and processed according to the paging configuration(s) in place for the ZON system.
A dry contact closure "trigger" adds additional flexibility. When used alone, the trigger is suitable for creating a system -wide mute, allowing the system to mute on external events such as doorbells, telephone and security systems. The trigger can also be used in conjunction with the page bus input to add sound to external events.
"With the addition of the Device Commander and the External Paging Interface to the system we have taken the ease -of -use equation one step further," McCroskey added. "We also have given our dealers a superb pair of add -ons that are easy to install and that will add to their customers' satisfaction for years to come."
About Oxmoor Corporation:
Internationally known for innovative high performance audio products, Oxmoor invented the industry's first digital remote volume control in 1982 and the first all -digital distributed home audio system called ZON in 2002. In 1986 the company was the first to deliver digital audio for motion picture theaters.
Oxmoor's professional audio products include room -combining systems, paging hardware and other innovations used in hotels, theme parks, specialty venues, and IMAX Theaters worldwide. Oxmoor researchers also patented Personal Sound Environment® 3 -D audio technology that premiered in 1994 at the Sony IMAX Theater in New York.
Headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama, Oxmoor Corporation, LLC is a leading manufacturer of digital remote volume controls, distribution and buffer amplifiers, mixing matrixes, infrared transmission hardware and room combining systems for commercial and residential audio applications. Oxmoor products are sold worldwide. For more information: www.oxmoor.com.
Purpose Built Audio Systems
Sonics2 offers several audio and speaker system designs purpose built for large format flat/domed theaters. We also have products ideal for conventional theaters. Our products employ proprietary Hybrid-Array Technology (HAT). HAT enables steerable sound with superior coverage patterns and acoustic properties. These systems are modular providing scalability and specific customization to each application.
VISS Display Co., Ltd VITEC ViverooUSA - Smart Element Vivitek Corp V-King Technology Co., Ltd. VNS Inc. Void Acoustics Research LTD. Vue Audiotechnik, LLC Vutec Corporation VuWall Technology Vyopta Incorporated Wacom Technology Services, Corp. Wall Smart Wall-Smart Waves Inc. WeatherHawk WebCheckout WEIGL Controls Well Buying Industrial Co., Ltd. West Penn Wire Whirlwind Music Inc. WhiteStar USA Whitlock Whitlock and Herman Miller Williams AV Windy City Wire Winsted Corporation WireCAD Wiremold WolfVision, Inc. Work Pro - Equipson SA. Wowza Media Systems Wuxi Lexin AV Equipment Co., Ltd. WUXI SEEMILE TECHNOLOGY CO., LTD WyreStorm Technologies Xiamen Maken Tech Co., Ltd. Xilica Audio Design X-Keys P.I. Engineering XTA/MC2 Yaham Optoelectronics Co., Ltd. Yamaha Corporation of America Yamaha Unified Communications Yangtze Optical Fibre and Cable Joint Stock Ltd YDEA Tech Shenzhen Co., Ltd. Yealink YOGADA TECH. CORP. LTD. Yorkville Sound Inc. Yuan High-Tech Development Co., Ltd. Z-Band Technologies ZeeVee, Inc. Zero-Ohm Systems Zhejiang Yuli New Material Co., LTD ZiipRoom Zoom Digital Signage Zoom Video Communications, Inc.
A project starts at concept. At Sonics2 we help customers determine the right direction to realize their vision. During this process, we keep an eye on feasibility, usability and general design requirements making sure these track with budgets, ergonomics, and functionality.
Concept, Design & Production
From integrated steerable arrays and audio transmissible surfaces to better smart phone audio design and everything in between, our unmatched experience can give your products a competitive advantage. We hold patents and have created leading audio technology/solutions for distinguished clients in a variety of industries. We have access to over 40 years of research and data related to audio. We know the best ways to put that data and experience to use in custom products/solutions for our clients.
"The IMAX system has its roots in EXPO '67 in Montreal, Canada where multi-screen films were the hit of the fair. A small group of Canadian filmmakers/entrepreneurs (Graeme Ferguson, Roman Kroitor and Robert Kerr), who had made some of those popular films, decided to design a new system using a single, powerful projector, rather than the cumbersome multiple projectors used at that time. The result: the IMAX motion picture projection system which would revolutionize the giant-screen cinema. IMAX premiered at the Fuji Pavilion, EXPO '70 in Osaka, Japan. The first permanent IMAX projection system was installed at Ontario Place's Cinesphere in Toronto in 1971. IMAX Dome (OMNIMAX) debuted at the Reuben H. Fleet Space Theatre in San Diego, CA in 1973." (quote and picture from the IMAX page by James Neihouse)
The IMAX digital sound system was developed by Sonics Associates of Birmingham, Alabama. In 1988, Lynn McCroskey and Jim Cawhon developed a Digital Disc Playback system (DDP) that recorded 2 channels of uncompressed digital sound on an audio compact disc. This system with 3 discs and 6 channels began to replace the multitrack magnetic tape sound systems used in IMAX theaters since 1971. In 1993, Sonic introduced the IMAX 3D sound system with 10 channels for the Sony IMAX theater in New York. Theater speakers produce 8 channels from 4 CD disks synchronized with the15-perforation 70 mm filmstrip running through the projector horizontally past a 15,000-watt lamp at 48 frames per second. The 3D headset has 2 additional channels for the binaural Personal Sound Environment (PSE). "Binaural sound emanates from the headsets' two small speakers, just above and slightly in front of your ears; they cover all but the frequencies below 100 Hz. Low bass is handled by a pair of subwoofers behind the giant screen. Four full-range speakers, also behind the screen, keep sounds tied solidly to the
IMAX 3D headset from Sonics
film's images even if you turn your head; if you have trouble imaging binaurally (as some people do), these speakers will prevent front sounds from seeming to come from the sides or rear. Two more speakers, in the rear of the theater, carry only surround ambience; the headset's binaural speakers carry sounds that are supposed to originate behind you. Eight channels of an 18,000-watt, 10-channel amplification system feed the speakers; the other two channels feed the binaural signals to the headsets. These amps are fed from four audio CDs, computer-synchronized with one another and with the projectors. The headsets can receive four separate soundtracks, so a movie could be presented in different languages simultaneously if the theater provides enough channels." (quote from Ivan Berger)
Lynn McCroskey is President and CEO of Sonics Associates, a subsidiary of Toronto's IMAX Corporation. In an interview with Millimetermagazine, he explained the difference between the IMAX sound system and the surround systems in conventional theaters: "The typical IMAX screen is close to a conventional 4:3 aspect ratio, but much, much bigger. So you have a great deal of vertical, which gives you the opportunity to do a 'voice-of-God' loudspeaker." Another difference is the use of point-source surround, as opposed to the multiple small surround speakers used in conventional theaters. "Conventional rooms," McCroskey says, "come in so many different shapes that it is nearly impossible for them to make point-source surround work." Overall IMAX system power varies depending on the size of the room, but it is typically in the range of 12,500 watts. "The power is not there for the loudness," McCroskey says. "It's there for clarity and freedom from distortion." The enclosures are three-way systems using components custom-designed and manufactured to Sonics' specifications. Sonics combines four low-frequency loudspeakers in each cabinet with nested high- and mid-frequency horns. McCroskey points out the trapezoidal dispersion pattern (narrower at the top than the bottom), designed to match the distinctive shape of IMAX theaters. Using a sub-bass system for the deepest lows, McCroskey says, minimizes phase coherence problems. "In most installations, we use eight sub-bass loudspeakers, each in a 16-cubic-foot enclosure," he says. "The enclosures include a filtering labyrinth we designed that physically traps the higher-frequency components that can otherwise cause overtones and distortion."
Omniverum in Hague Netherlands
Another distinction between IMAX and other theater surround systems is that Sonics uses no digital audio data compression. Both the DDP and DTAC lines are full fidelity, "double-system" approaches, meaning that the sound is not recorded on the film itself. "DDP uses three CD-Audio discs with a patented sample-accurate playback synchronization system," McCroskey says. DTAC, the company's newest system, plays back audio files either from DVD-ROM or from a built-in hard disk. In some older IMAX theaters, the original 35mm six-track, full-coat mag-sound system used from 1971 through 1988 is still in place. "These days most soundtracks are produced in digital formats," McCroskey says. "They are usually sent in on TASCAM DA-88, and we transfer to whatever format is needed for the theaters where the film will play. On Everest, for instance, we created both DDP and DTAC discs." Everest was the first IMAX film where the final mix was done on location in an IMAX theater, the Irvine Spectrum. That meant the mixers did not have to make several rounds of notes while watching the film and then implement changes back at the EFX dub stage. But they did have to set up facilities in a working theater that was not available until 10 at night (after the day's last screening). They worked from a 24-track premix made at EFX with six tracks each for effects, backgrounds, and music; three for Foley; and one each for narration, voice-overs, and dialog. EFX made a discrete premix to 24 tracks: six each for effects, backgrounds, and music; three for Foley; and one each for narration, voice-overs, and dialog. (quote from Millimeter article by Philip De Lancie)
Audio design is a focus of Sonics2. Our team has designed thousands of products/systems over the years. We provide unparallel audio expertise for any project, whether product or systems based. Taking a concept to reality requires a solid design based on use/site conditions, manufacturing processes and general budgets. Considering all these pieces is paramount. At Sonics2 we believe there's much more to an excellent design than just a nice looking end product. We focus on product/system functionality and reliability. We work along side our partners to help develop the best solution.
3D Immersive Sound (RISE3D)
Our patented audio technology creates 3D ultra-realistic immersive sound environments (RISE3D). The RISE3D technology has a very small physical footprint and can be easily incorporated into VR and Augmented Reality products. This technology has many advantages over traditional headphones or standalone speaker systems. First, nothing makes contact with the wearer's ears. Second, each wearer has their own personal environment that tracks with content being viewed. RISE3D can have custom content created in the RISE3D format producing an experience that is nothing short of amazing. In addition, it can simulate 3D for existing games or applications without any content modification, creating a far superior experience than any traditional headphones can. RISE3D technology has already enjoyed commercial success in IMAX Theaters. Sonics2 is looking for opportunities and partnerships to deploy this technology in the VR & Augmented Reality market segments.
CANTERBURY CHURCH GAINS INVISIBLE INTELLIGIBILITY WITH RENKUS-HEINZ ICONYX
In Install News by tfwmMarch 2, 2015
Established in 1950, Canterbury UMC has grown to embrace both traditional and contemporary worship styles, with separate sanctuaries for each on its Mountain Brook, Alabama campus. Recently, the church engaged Twist Technology of nearby Birmingham to address its ongoing issues with intelligibility of the spoken word in the main (traditional) sanctuary.
For Twist CEO Lynn McCroskey, there were two challenges to be overcome in this design/build project. “First, we had to create articulation in an extremely reverberant environment,” he explains. “At the same time, aesthetics was a primary concern. This is a beautiful worship space, and they did not want to see a big speaker cluster or anything like that.”
Two Iconyx IC24-R-II digitally steerable column arrays cover the entire room, delivering advanced digital beam steering to direct the sound to the seating areas, and away from the side walls, balcony facings, and other reflective surfaces. And the Iconyx slim, low-profile design enabled Twist to create a system that sounded great, with minimal visual impact.
The IC24 column is 10 feet tall, but only about six inches wide, so it’s really more like an architectural element than a loudspeaker,” says McCroskey. “It’s designed to be flush-mounted to the walls, so there is no interference with the congregation’s sightlines. With the precision color-matched paint job, they really just look like part of the building. Most people don’t even realize that there are two 10-foot tall speaker columns behind the altar. The church elders are very pleased and impressed.”
Iconyx steered beam technology enabled Twist Technology to meet Canterbury’s seemingly conflicting goals of preserving the sanctuary’s big sound while creating exceptional intelligibility. “We’ve used the Iconyx successfully in several architecturally sensitive installations,” McCroskey reports. “The directional control is a huge help with articulation, and really helps control reverberation. For a large space like this, with high, vaulted ceilings, a balcony, and hard surfaces everywhere, beam steering is the perfect solution. The pipe organ and choir music still soars, but now the spoken word can be clearly understood from every seat.”
Our team has created and produced scores of products and systems for clients across the globe. We have the capability of taking a product or system from concept all the way through production/installation and beyond. We can provide Turn-Key product development including manufacturer sourcing, verification, and production. Sonics2 can function as an outsourced product development team or can be hired to work along side a company's internal development team.
Factory System Design, Specification & Installation
For those companies wishing purchase OEM products, we take it a step further than anyone else. We offer Turn-Key Factory System Designs, Specification Writing, and Installation if desired. Sonics2 also offers these services for end customers purchasing direct.
Evans & Sutherland, Spitz and Sonics2 Join Forces to Create AEOS Theaters
September 22, 2017—Evans & Sutherland (ESCC) introduces AEOS Theaters, a groundbreaking new alliance between E&S, Spitz, and Sonics2. The companies have joined forces to create a new generation of ultra-high resolution giant screen cinema experiences for immersive domes and giant flat screen theaters.
AEOS Theaters reimagine the immersive cinema experience using ultra-high resolution digital imagery, the highest-fidelity sound, and beautifully seamless screens for an audience experience that’s just this side of reality. Using a seamlessly blended array of laser or lamp-based projectors, AEOS allows domes or flat screen theaters to achieve resolutions of 8K or even higher while maintaining their fulldome, partial dome, or 4:3 aspect ratio flat screens. An AEOS theater can also function as a multipurpose venue with available turn-key presentation and digital marketing packages. AEOS is the complete solution for giant screens.
Jon Shaw, CEO of E&S said, “As we looked at the giant screen cinema from the standpoint of the audience, it became clear the entire experience needed to be reinvented to take full advantage of today’s state-of-the-art digital technology. By combining E&S’ stunningly sharp display systems with Sonics2 high-powered surround sound audio systems, and Spitz seamless domes or flat screens, AEOS has introduced a new gold standard for giant screen theaters.”
“Since the advent of digital cinema, image resolution has been limited to what a single projector can achieve. This is not the case with AEOS. Other providers are limiting themselves to a maximum image resolution of 4K by using only one projector. This is a big downgrade in resolution from 70 mm film,” said Lynn McCroskey, CEO of Sonics2. “In addition, many companies are just providing generic off-the-shelf audio approaches which are inadequate for giant screen theaters. AEOS’ approach redefines what quality sounds like with purpose built speakers and equipment specifically created for giant screen venues. The 15/70 film experience has been the gold standard for giant screen theater image and sound quality for nearly 50 years. AEOS Theaters shatters that standard and redefines it.”
AEOS creates a truly landmark immersive experience, enabling theaters to stand out from the commercial theater down the block. This technology helps drive a fresh approach focused on giant flat screen and dome theaters. In addition to the new technological approach, AEOS focuses on audience experience and additional theater functionality, ultimately increasing community engagement and attendance. AEOS will help inspire a love of learning for a new generation of audiences at museum and institutional theaters worldwide, renewing the success of these theaters as a premium destination experience.
Welcome to the future of giant screen cinema.
AEOS will demonstrate their dome theater solution at the Saint Louis Science Center on October 12, and at The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose, CA as part of the ASTC Conference on October 24.
About Evans & Sutherland
Evans & Sutherland (www.es.com) a founding partner in the AEOS Theaters alliance, provides Digistar 6, the world's most advanced digital fulldome planetarium and digital dome cinema system, ideal for replacing 1570 film systems. Digistar 6 combines fulldome video playback in 2D and 3D with the most comprehensive real time 3D digital astronomy package ever assembled, all within a powerful easy-to-use graphical user interface that makes creating shows more intuitive than ever. The unique capabilities of the system, the Digistar Cloud Library (a resource for community content sharing), Domecasting (live broadcasting to planetariums), Show Builder (a powerful and intuitive way to build shows), the Digistar STEAM library (included content for science, technology, engineering, art, and math), and Ease of Use, combine to provide unequalled capabilities for immersive dome experiences. Evans & Sutherland is also the world's leading producer and distributor of digital fulldome shows including show converted from giant screen film. As a full-service system provider, E&S also offers Spitz domes, SciDome, hybrid planetarium systems and a full range of theater systems. E&S markets include planetariums, science centers, themed attraction venues, and premium large-format theaters. E&S products have been installed in over 1,300 theaters worldwide. Visit the E&S website at www.es.com.
Sonics2 is a founding member of the AEOS Alliance providing the world's most advanced audio system purpose built for Giant Screen Dome and Flat Theaters. Sonics2’s people were instrumental in developing the original audio systems for Giant Screen Theaters many of which are still in use today. We offer audio products/solutions for Movie Theaters, Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality and Custom Applications. Our primary mission is to look for Strategic Partnerships, OEM & Licensing Opportunities. Functioning in our capacity as a custom sound technology provider we work across a variety of industries conceptualizing, designing and producing products/solutions for clients worldwide. Sonics2 can also work alongside a customer's internal development team to integrate superior sound into a company's own products. www.Sonics2.com
Spitz, Inc. is a cofounder of the AEOS partnership, providing dome projection screens. Spitz is the world’s leading supplier of domes for giant screen cinema, themed attractions, and planetarium projection. Established in 1947, Spitz has installed over 2,000 domes worldwide including the first hemispheric screens for giant screen cinema projection. Spitz invented the NanoSeam™ process, a uniquely uniform surface-paneling method, creating a perfectly seamless appearance for dome projection. NanoSeam completely eliminates the surface folds, overlaps, and exposed fasteners common with other paneling methods. Spitz domes are chosen by the world’s most prestigious installations. Spitz also provides complete theater design and engineering services. www.spitzinc.com
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