By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Audistry's sound-enhancing selection of technologies includes the following:
Sound Space Expander: The algorithm is said to create "stable, solid stereo images with a very wide soundfield that 'wraps' around the listener," the company said. In expanding the stage, the algorithm "unmasks sounds that were previously obscured in the 'clutter' of the mix" without "diminishing the center of the mix," the company added. Other image-widening systems, Audistry contended, reduce the clarity and volume of sounds in the center, thus reducing bass response and instrument separation and yielding unnatural-sounding vocals. Other systems also pan some frequencies of a particular instrument father to the left and right than other frequencies. Such "frequency smearing" often makes it hard to pinpoint the position of a particular instrument in the stereo soundfield, the company explained.
Listeners can choose full, half or off settings.
Sound Space for Headphones: This technology eliminates the "inside-the-head" effect of headphone listening, the company said. Sounds in the center of the stereo image appear to emanate from inside the listener's head, and sounds panned to the left and right sound as if they're directly beside each ear. Sound Space "creates the illusion of clearly localized sound sources outside the head" by directing some of the left-channel signal to the right ear and some of the right-channel signal to the left ear, "simulating the way sound propagates to our ears in real acoustic environments," Audistry said.
Listeners can choose from among seven settings that set the dimensions of the soundfield. SoundSpace also simulates different room-acoustical environments for each setting, the company said.
Natural Bass: To boost bass in small drivers, some technologies add harmonics of the fundamental bass tones, but that often produces non-harmonic distortions that deliver unnatural, muddy sound, Audistry contended. Other solutions use equalization to boost a broad band of frequencies, yielding unbalanced sound and often adding distortion, especially during transient peaks.
Audistry's solution, built around the capabilities of a specific product's drivers, extends the driver's natural rolloff point by up to an octave in most drivers without overextending the driver's excursion capabilities, the company said. Natural Bass thus boosts the amplitude of low frequencies without overloading the product's speakers. To prevent sudden transients from overloading the drivers, Natural Bass compresses the initial peak of a bass note, then expands the tail of the note.
With volume set low, bass will be audible, and when volume is turned up, sudden transients won't distort the sound, the company said.
Intelligent Volume Control: Audistry's implementation of dynamic-range compression is dynamic, not static, and thus "sounds more natural" by eliminating the "squashed, uncomfortable pressured feeling" of traditional solutions, the company said. Instead of "continuously compressing within a certain range," Bennett said, "we are more like an automatic volume control," doing automatically what listeners do manually. That means the technology automatically lowers the volume during peak passages and boosts volume during quiet passages.
Mono-to-Stereo Creator: "Until now, there has been no really convincing way to extract information from a mono signal that can be panned left and right" with a "uniform frequency spread" that "appears to be balanced between the two speakers," the company contended. "For all intents and purposes, it is stereo."
"This feature is smart enough to turn on automatically when it detects a mono signal," Bennett added.
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