Archives of Acoustics, 37, 1, pp. 109–113, 2012

Virtual Acoustics at the Service of Music Performance and Recording

Wieslaw WOSZCZYK
CIRMMT, Schulich School of Music, McGill University, Montreal, QC

Doyuen KO
McGill University, Graduate Program in Sound Recording, Montreal, QC

Brett LEONARD
McGill University, Graduate Program in Sound Recording, Montreal, QC

Virtual or active acoustics refers to the generation of a simulated room response by means of elec-
troacoustics 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 in-
terface, 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.
Keywords: virtual acoustics; active acoustic architecture; room acoustics; room impulse response; low- latency convolution; performer-room interaction; music recording; acoustic enhancement; active acoustics
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