Santa Ana, Calif. - SRS Labs finalized specifications for Multi-Dimensional Audio (MDA) technology, which will enable content creators to mix 3D soundtracks to go with 3D video programs.
The spec is available to the 3D Audio Alliance (
), an organization created by SRS to promote the technology and foster collaboration among companies interested in adopting the end-to-end technology.
During CES, SRS demonstrated a proof-of-concept version of the technology, which can also be used with 2D video sources.
MDA makes it possible for content creators to precisely position particular sounds in a 3D space for playback through two-channel and multichannel audio systems. Studios would embed metadata in a soundtrack to define the XYZ coordinates of various sounds, and a consumer "rendering" device such as a TV or surround-sound receiver would read the metadata to position the sound at its intended coordinates. Sounds could be mixed to track the movement of objects in a 3D video program as they jump out at viewers.
Only CE devices and mobile devices equipped with MDA would be able to place the sounds as intended by the content creator. The technology could also be used in digital cinemas.
To move adoption along, SRS has begun working with production studios and content creators to beta test its MDA creation tool, which is a software plug-in for use with digital audio workstations. Beta playback software is also available.
Commercial releases of the MDA creation tools and MDA players are expected to be made available in second quarter.
"We now have functional end-to-end implementation of object based audio creation and playback, all in the span of a year," said SRS chief technology officer Alan Kraemer.
Separately at International CES, SRS demonstrated Circle Cinema 3D (CC3D) post-processing technology, which could derive 3D audio from sources that weren't mixed with MDA technology. CC3D technology "unburies" 3D spatial cues in any soundtrack to correlate audio-image depth with the depth of on-screen 3D action, the company said. The technology works with two-channel and multichannel speaker systems.