d&b Soundscape: the evolution of the listening experience
Based on an exceptional audio system processor and two software modules, the d&b Soundscape opens up a whole world of creativity. The product marks the beginning of a new era of sound experience for the sound designer, for the engineer, for the artist and for the audience.
Combining d&b loudspeaker systems with state-of-the-art processing power, object-based mixing and sophisticated room emulation, d&b Soundscape is a toolkit to enable the creation of an unparalleled listening experience, natural, harmonious, enveloping and emotionally engaging.
Almost five years in development and with extensive field testing by some of the world’s leading artists and venues, d&b Soundscape changes the approach to live sound mixing and system design. What has long been an exercise in managing limitations now becomes a process that is freely creative, far from the restrictions of mix busses and stereo imaging, this new technology allows the creation of sound system designs with which acoustic environments can be created and sound sources placed and moved.
“Soundscape fulfils a devotion we’ve had for decades,” says Ralf Zuleeg, head of sales services and application engineering at d&b audiotechnik, and the driving force behind the development of d&b Soundscape. “The question has always been ‘how do we give the same natural, authentic listening experience to every member of the audience?’ Soundscape allows us to do that. It’s the truest case of the d&b goal of ‘Democracy for Listeners’.”
‘Soundscape’ is a well-chosen name: just as the landscape is our three-dimensional visual environment, the soundscape is the totality of the sound around us at a specific time and place. Realising that concept, the d&b Soundscape represents an important experiential evolution, moving forward from the limitations of conventional sound design.
Whereas a stereo image only fully works for the fraction of the audience positioned on the centre axis between left and right sources, the d&b Soundscape delivers true audio reality, an audio mix of sparkling clarity and unprecedented separation, without loss, to every audience member. Vocals, keys, drums, guitar – all are heard in their true location on the stage. Gone is the exhausting disconnect between what the eyes and the ears tell the brain. With d&b Soundscape, the senses are aligned: the brain can literally relax and enjoy the show.
The core of the d&b Soundscape is the DS100 signal engine, a high-performance audio processor with Audinate Dante networking and a powerful 64x64 level and delay matrix with extensive in- and output processing.
The full potential of d&b Soundscape is accessed via two optional software modules which together form a powerful toolkit for sound designers – d&b En-Scene and d&b En-Space. Both are accessed via the familiar R1 Remote control software.
d&b En-Scene is a sound object positioning tool allowing the individual placement and movement of up to 64 sound objects. It accurately depicts stage scenarios so that each sound object corresponds both visually and acoustically. The entire audience now hears what it sees and vice versa.
d&b En-Space is an easy-to-use room emulation tool which can add and modify reverberation signatures for any given space, giving an enriched, natural-sounding reproduction. These reverberation signatures are emulations derived from acoustic measurements of six internationally renowned performance venues and convolved within the audio processor. This results in a natural modification to the acoustic characteristics of a space, whether indoors or outdoors.
Crucially, d&b Soundscape is eminently usable. It works effectively in either 180 stage proscenium set-ups or 360 configurations and has been designed to integrate with the existing d&b Workflow: systems can easily be set up and configured with d&b ArrayCalc.
The DS100 is not a closed system, it is open for integration via the AES70 (OCA) protocol with industry standard consoles and show controllers, as well as replay and tracking systems. This ease of use and open access was an essential part of the d&b thinking from the start. The result is an open door into a new world.
David Claringbold, chief marketing officer at d&b audiotechnik, says: “We are excited to introduce d&b Soundscape to the world. Sound is a powerful communicator with a deep emotional connection to our subconscious. In developing the d&b Soundscape we have envisaged a future that enhances the quality of experience for artists, audiences and engineers, extending the creative capabilities of events and venues. With Soundscape, d&b is a key contributor to an audio technology conversation that opens up a new frontier of possibility.
Soundscape demo/pre-production facilities are now available at the d&b offices in Backnang Germany, Nailsworth Great Britain, Paris France, Asheville North Carolina (US), Singapore, Yokohama Japan and with d&b partners in Vantaa Finland.