End 2001 -- Frankfurt, Germany
Standout Room - Sony, Polyhymnia International
The true promise of multichannel sound was
fulfilled with the paradigm-shifting demonstration held by Sony and Polyhymnia
International (a Netherlands-based company that does audio recording and production) using
a Sony SACD-based system. Using five full-range channels, the sound was incredibly
natural, realistic and quite simply the best we've heard in terms of creating a true
acoustic environment. The proprietary miking technique used by Polyhymnia has no phase or
time manipulation -- every channel is run at full level. And the surround channels are
used to reproduce the first reflections and whatever direct sound is present in the rear
of the hall.
The company would not disclose exactly how
their miking technique works, but representatives said it is based on how human hearing
detects reflected sound. As a result, it captures, in a completely convincing way, the
ambience and space of the hall. In addition to this, bass was fuller and tonal colors were
more accurate than with the stereo version available for comparison, which was made at the
same time as the multichannel recording with separate engineers each in their own control
rooms. Most impressive was the ability to walk around the room without the
three-dimensional soundstage collapsing -- not often something you can do with
Above are Jean-Marie Geijsen (left,
Polyhymnia) and Meik Whippermann (Sony).
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