A new method for measuring and calibrating cinema audio systems for optimal sound quality

Gedemer, LA 2017, A new method for measuring and calibrating cinema audio systems for optimal sound quality , PhD thesis, University of Salford.

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Abstract

The aim of this research is to utilize new methodologies and technology in order to gain insight into how the modern cinema audio system could be calibrated to provide improved audio performance. To this end, both objective and subjective measurements were developed to better understand the audio preferences of listeners, the requirements of the audio systems inclusive of the acoustic environment, and how the two are related.

Part of the data for this research was derived from a survey of re-recording mixers regarding their use and opinion of the current SMPTE standard. The survey confirmed anecdotal information suggesting that re-recording mixers use high-end pre-emphasis to compensate for the severe roll-off induced by the SMPTE X-curve. It is also noted that the re-recording mixers' opinions of how well their mix translates from dub-stage to cinema is correlated to how many years they have spent in the industry.

The aim of this research is to utilize new methodologies and technology in order to gain insight into how the modern cinema audio system could be calibrated to provide improved audio performance. To this end, both objective and subjective measurements were developed to better understand the audio preferences of listeners, the requirements of the audio systems inclusive of the acoustic environment, and how the two are related.

Part of the data for this research was derived from a survey of re-recording mixers regarding their use and opinion of the current SMPTE standard. The survey confirmed anecdotal information suggesting that re-recording mixers use high-end pre-emphasis to compensate for the severe roll-off induced by the SMPTE X-curve. It is also noted that the re-recording mixers' opinions of how well their mix translates from dub-stage to cinema is correlated to how many years they have spent in the industry.

To further understand listener preference to in-room responses curves, a series of listening tests utilizing the BRS system were conducted using various sized cinemas, seating positions within the cinemas, audio tracks (including those mixed on a SMPTE calibrated dub-stage) and target curves. The overwhelming outcome was that regardless of cinema size, seating position or audio track utilized; the "curve" that listeners preferred is a relatively flat 0.9dB/octave slope with a 6.5dB bass boost below 105Hz and a -2.5dB roll off above 2.5kHz. Of the 5 target curves presented, the SMPTE X-curve place fourth with scores very near the low-rated perceptual anchor. This calls into question the notion of the X-curve providing "ideal" translation between dub-stage and cinema and in fact, challenges the concept of translation all together.

Research was completed in an effort to identifying the number of microphone positions required, along with their placement, in order to accurately capture a cinema's response for calibration purposes. A novel experiment utilizing anechoic loudspeaker data as a guideline for xxi analysis demonstrated that, with proper data, the number of microphones and their positions plays a less critical factor in determining the room response. The collected data shows that even with as few as 4 microphones at varied positions, the resultant room response will trend towards the anechoic data above 1kHz. From around 300Hz to 1kHz, there is evidence of seat effects that may be resolved through randomizing the microphone heights. Below 300Hz, the room becomes the dominating factor and more than 5 microphone positions will be required to properly identify any problems.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Schools: Schools > School of Computing, Science and Engineering > Salford Innovation Research Centre (SIRC)
Depositing User: WM Taylor
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2018 09:12
Last Modified: 15 Jan 2018 09:12
URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/42005

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