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Old 14th December 2003, 02:06 PM   #1
eStatic is offline eStatic  United States
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Default synthetic ambience

The master plan for my system calls for at least six channels of ambience. When I found this place I hoped to get some tips on this but searching for "ambience" did not produce anything related to synthetic ambience systems--reverb units, additional channel of amplification etc. Is this just toooo adolescent for the people in these forums or is our sort here but hiding under rocks

I have already built the speakers for the front ambience channels and when I remodeled the living room into a media room I built in outcroppings...um shelves for them. They are in the front upper corners. I will put two in the upper rear corners and I just ordered some Def.Tec. BP2Xs for that (need to get this done) and plan to build a small two channel speaker to be placed on a pole that will position the speakers above and between the two sweet-spot chairs. These will fire forward and aft.

At present I am evaluating the Beringer DSP 2024P--the cheapest candidate that seems like it might be appropriate. Remember I will need three of them so cost is a serious factor.

Any comments on this would be appreciated. Hearing from others so inclined would also be appreciated.

BTW I was directed to this forum by roddyama. If I should have been told to go "Off Topic" instead it's all his fault

eStatic
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Old 14th December 2003, 02:34 PM   #2
sreten is offline sreten  United Kingdom
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JMO but accurate reproduction of the ambient information that
is already in each channels signal will be far more effective than
adding artificial ambiance.

Artificial ambiance will likely only improve very poorly recorded and
mixed material.

You can make all your music sound like its 'live' in a hall with very
poor acoustics, but I presume this isn't the point. Theoretically
you can make your listening space acoustically bigger with some
ambiance processing but you have to start off with a highly damped,
low Rt environment.

The Cowboy Junkies first album was recorded in a church with a
stereo microphone and is awash with the real ambiance of the
church acoustics.

Many less subtle film soundtracks contain too much ambient
information / effects if anything, and there's nothing you can
do about this.

I'm not suggesting its "adolescent", but you may be mis-guided
as to the consequences of adding such processing.

(I'm not really familiar with the processing in some A/V equipment
that strives to emulate additional 'phantom' speakers in-room.)

sreten.
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Old 14th December 2003, 04:00 PM   #3
eStatic is offline eStatic  United States
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Back in the 80s when digital reverbs first became affordable I built an 11-channel ambience system. All speakers hung from the ceiling and fired upward. The reverbs were noisy and distorted, but when kept at a sufficiently low level the effect was to create a better illusion of being in the room with the performance rather than the performance being in the room you were in. Their greatest problem was that they had no presets, so adjusting them to fit a recording was about a 10 minute process as each parameter had to be adjusted on each of the 11 reverbs. I had settings written down for various basic environments but still...

For this new system I have carpeted all the walls in the media room to subdue its own acoustics as far as was practical.

In any case I thank you for your input, but I don't think this is misguided--though I'll grant it may reflect bad taste or some anomalous condition.

eStatic
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Old 14th December 2003, 08:19 PM   #4
eStatic is offline eStatic  United States
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See Loudspeakers forum "Old system with Ambience" for pics. Assuming anyone is interested.
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Old 17th December 2003, 01:32 PM   #5
kevyjo is offline kevyjo  United States
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I've done alot of research on "ampbisonics" and "quad sound" and other types of "ambient" sytems. I also have an interest in adding natual ambience to all recordings, but right now I'm using a circle surround processor (cs3xjr.) and 4 channels, sounds great to me. I would strongly advise you to avoid either a system that incorporates tons of speakers or artificial delays, either just arent necessary and will degrade the overall sound. My system uses no delays and it produces a very natural ambience which is already present in the recordings. If I wanted to I could easily add more speakers, but anything more than 6 or 7 is in my mind too many. Good stereo equipment will produce a wide and deep soundstage, and even 4 speakers can completely envelope you in sound. If you are looking for a more diffuse sound, I would suggest you look into bipolar or omnipolar speakers, there are many good examples of these.
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Old 18th December 2003, 03:20 PM   #6
eStatic is offline eStatic  United States
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Kevyjo wrote:
"I would strongly advise you to avoid either a system that incorporates tons of speakers or artificial delays, either just arent necessary and will degrade the overall sound." ...

I have heard that from more than a few audiophile types. But, that has not been my experience. What can I say, perhaps my taste in audio is analogous to Elvis on black velvet--or just ate too many grits while growing-up. Being an empiricist however, I would like to ask those who think this is a really bad idea if they have spent any significant time listening to such systems. BTW if you can hear the effects channels as such I think they are too loud.

Kevyjo wrote also :
"I would suggest you look into bipolar or omnipolar speakers, there are many good examples of these."

I have on order 4 Def Tec BP30s (bipolars) to use for the surround and rear channels and am looking forward to hearing what my Rotel rsp 1066 does with those in its ambience mode. My six ambience channels will be in addition to those four.

My mains are Martin Logan Prodigies and I ain't about to change them And who knows, in this setup even I may ultimately decide synthetic ambience does more harm than good. I'm not grinding axes here only indulging enthusiasms.

In any case much thanks for the input.

eStatic
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Old 18th December 2003, 03:44 PM   #7
jcx is online now jcx  United States
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you might investigate http://www.ambiophonics.org/

i attended a demo at a BAS meeting last week that showed that they do have something, but at < 5 min in the sweet spot I can't say a lot about about the desirability of the effect

they do seem to be hacker freindly with a "open system" approach to processing algorythms and code
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Old 18th December 2003, 03:56 PM   #8
kevyjo is offline kevyjo  United States
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Youre taste might just be very different, that is true. I personally can't stand an excessively reverberant system, which is why I prefer just 4 speakers to the 7 channel systems I've heard. Unlike many audiophiles, I believe "surround sound" is perfectly valid. I think in the ideal system, which, at least as far as my surround setup, gets pretty close, a single singer and a guitar sounds like a single singer and a guitar in a small venue, and a chorus in a cathedral sounds like that also. I don't want tori amos to sound like she was recorded in a cathedral with the mic at the opposite end, which is what you get when you have a zillion speakers and time delays, ect. Recordings that I have that are naturally very reverberant have lots of ambience, and I feel are in no need for artifically exaggerating the generous amounts of ambience that are already there.
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Old 18th December 2003, 04:15 PM   #9
SY is offline SY  United States
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eStatic, it's all an illusion anyway; why the spaciousness of a pair of dipoles (popular with the purist crowd) is somehow "purer" than a good ambience synthesis system is beyond me. Other than the fact that the latter is controlled and the former isn't.
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Old 18th December 2003, 06:01 PM   #10
eStatic is offline eStatic  United States
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jcx wrote:

"you might investigate http://www.ambiophonics.org/"

Thanks for the URL, so far have only skimmed it. It looks interesting and on the surface seems to have some relation to Carver's Sonic Holography device. I've had a C-9 ever since they were released. After all these years I'm still not sure if the effect is musical or just interesting. But I don't use it a lot.

kevyjo wrote:
"I personally can't stand an excessively reverberant system,"

Me neither, I hope. More channels and more speakers does not mean more ambience signal to me--just more diffuse, more complex, spatially more like a real environment.

BTW the system I had previous to the old one described above was "quadraphonic" with the rear channels powered by the old A-B trick. I still liked the 9 channel (see correction under loud speakers) system better.

and SY wrote:

"...it's all an illusion anyway;"

Ah Yes, and what a glorious illusion it can be.

Not to hijack my own thread but I like your skeptical attitude toward dipoles. I'm about to decide I want to build a pair of dipole subs but have never heard any. I'd be very glad to hear your view on those.

Very interesting place this.

eStatic
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