Auro-3d 11.1 surround sound format from Barco- any chance of this on BluRay? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 16 Old 01-07-2012, 02:35 PM - Thread Starter
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I was just reading about Red Tails supporting this new surround format with specific height channels encoded to 11.1. Does anyone know if BluRay could support this format in the future? I remember McLaren Audio had some height thing where they played sound through a height channel if there were two surround speakers paling the sound, or something like that. But this looks like real height-simulating audio with dedicated channels. Anyone have any thoughts on this?
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post #2 of 16 Old 01-07-2012, 02:55 PM
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Datasat is a technology partner in that; could come to the RS20i as an add-on card.

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post #3 of 16 Old 01-07-2012, 03:08 PM - Thread Starter
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I mean is it technically possible that the format could be supported on the BluRay disc, as its format specifications allow for?
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post #4 of 16 Old 01-07-2012, 03:32 PM
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The Blu-ray format (and HD DVD for that matter) is spec'd for 8 discrete channels max per soundtrack. Unless they change the spec, the only way to get additional channels into the soundtrack is via matrix encoding (like Surround EX in the late '90s).

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post #5 of 16 Old 01-07-2012, 05:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iansilv View Post

I mean is it technically possible that the format could be supported on the BluRay disc, as its format specifications allow for?

Extract from the AURO-3D OCTOPUS CODEC whitepaper:
Quote:


3.2.2 Some applications
  • a 9.1 Aurophonic and a 5.1 surround sound mix merged into one 5.1 Auro-encoded PCM-stream (for BD).
  • an 11.1 Aurophonic and a 5.1 surround sound mix merged into one 5.1 Auro-encoded PCM-stream (for Digital Cinema DCP).
  • a 13.1 Aurophonic and a 7.1 surround sound mix merged into one 5.1 Auro-encoded PCM-stream (for Digital Cinema DCP).
  • a 5.1 surround sound mix and 2.0 stereo mix merged into one 2-ch PCM-stream (for broadcast)
  • a 7.1 and 5.1 surround sound mix merged into one Auro-encoded 5.1 PCM-stream (for BD and Digital Cinema DCP).
  • a 9.1 Aurophonic mix and a 5.1 surround sound mix both mixed into one 2-channel (stereo) PCMstream (for broadcast).


See also: Pro Sound News Europe article: "Auro-3D: how does it work?"

So it appears that an 'Auro-encoded' LPCM 5.1 (carrier) soundtrack on a BD (playable on any legacy system) could also contain both a (more accurate|less compromised) 'slightly lossy' LPCM 5.1 version of the soundtrack plus a 'slightly lossy' LPCM (Auro-3D) configuration 9.1, 10.1, or 11.1 version of the soundtrack, either of which could be extracted using some currently unavailable consumer Auro-3D decoder...?!

Of course, it still remains to be seen just how well the encode-decode process actually works!

EDIT: I guess Auro-3D has its 'public' unveiling at the Moody Gardens Digital Cinema Symposium in Galveston, on Monday January 9th. I wonder if they will also have some 'informational presence' at CES...?!
And to be followed by the opening of Red Tails one week after CES, on Friday January 20th.

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post #6 of 16 Old 01-08-2012, 05:50 PM
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The Auro white paper states this:

"Research has shown, however, that the phase-accuracy of the human hearing is far more precise as it is related to the shortest neural impulse in the brain: approx. 4-5us. This is the period of a signal of about 200kHz, which cannot be heard as a signal (tone) on itself, but can be detected as phase differences. According to the Nyquist theorem, such high frequencies (or rather these small wavelengths and phase differences), need to be sampled at about 400kHz. Above this rate, humans cannot detect any changes anymore."

Given the white paper's premise regarding the phase difference sensitivity of the ear-brain system, the paragraph's claim about requiring 400 kHz sample rate to preserve it through the sampling process is nonsense and calls into question the technical competence of the authors. The ability to represent delay difference between the two channels is limited by both the sampling frequency and the number of bits in the sample. Imagine a pair of 10 kHz sinewaves with a phase difference of 9 degrees, which represents a 4us time offset. Further, assume that the quantizer is correctly dithered, which linearizes the quantization process.

For the sake of argument, let the sample frequency be 40 kHz and let the sample clock be phase-locked to the left channel 10 kHz sinewave so that the sample points occur at the zero crossings and peaks of the left channel waveform. The right channel samples will occur at a point in the right-channel 10 kHz sinewave other than the zero crossing and the peak. Upon reconstruction, the original 4 us delay difference between the channels will be reproduced exactly, the only caveat being that the system's signal-to-noise ratio (determined by the bit depth of the quantization) will cause some ambiguity. But this ambiguity can be reduced without limit by increasing the bit depth.

This is basically Digital Audio 101.
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post #7 of 16 Old 01-08-2012, 06:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SoundChex View Post

So it appears that an 'Auro-encoded' LPCM 5.1 (carrier) soundtrack on a BD (playable on any legacy system) could also contain both a (more accurate|less compromised) 'slightly lossy' LPCM 5.1 version of the soundtrack plus a 'slightly lossy' LPCM (Auro-3D) configuration 9.1, 10.1, or 11.1 version of the soundtrack, either of which could be extracted using some currently unavailable consumer Auro-3D decoder...?!

Is that like "slightly pregnant"?

Quote:
Of course, it still remains to be seen just how well the encode-decode process actually works!

I have no reason to believe it doesn't work, but adding more fixed channels, be it 11.1 or 22.2, is not the way forward. Most likely 3D soundtracks will follow the road of IOSONO, using object- based audio, which is gaining traction for example as described by DTS or others, and possibly standardized in MPEG-H. Once you deliver audio that way, it plays nicely on however many speakers you want to feed.
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post #8 of 16 Old 01-08-2012, 06:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Dressler View Post

Is that like "slightly pregnant"?

I guess the evaluation of 'numerically lossy, but not acoustically lossy' is best left up to the reviewers with [the most] "Golden Ears"!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Dressler View Post

I have no reason to believe it doesn't work, but adding more fixed channels, be it 11.1 or 22.2, is not the way forward. Most likely 3D soundtracks will follow the road of IOSONO, using object-based audio, which is gaining traction for example as described by DTS or others, and possibly standardized in MPEG-H. Once you deliver audio that way, it plays nicely on however many speakers you want to feed.

The touted advantage of Auro-3D--or more specifically the Octopus Codec--would seem to be that the encode is backward compatible with existing 2.0|5.1|7.1-channel-limited LPCM transport schemes and playback devices...?!

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post #9 of 16 Old 01-08-2012, 11:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SoundChex View Post

I guess the evaluation of 'numerically lossy, but not acoustically lossy' is best left up to the reviewers with [the most] "Golden Ears"!

That's been the case for every lossy codec thus far.

Quote:


The touted advantage of Auro-3D--or more specifically the Octopus Codec--would seem to be that the encode is backward compatible with existing 2.0|5.1|7.1-channel-limited LPCM transport schemes and playback devices...?!

Compatible comes in many flavors. A 5.1 mix is compatible with stereo systems because it can be downmixed in the player. But that is not the same as a real stereo mix. Sometimes it matters.

Likewise here. The 11.1-->5.1 downmix might not be considered an artistically adequate substitute. TBD, and each studio may have their own opinion. But let's assume the downmix is acceptable, and BD discs are made, and the "sorta lossy" bitstream can reach new Auro3D external decoders. That's indeed one way to skin the cat.

Another would be to make a paper change to the BD specification to expand the number of channels. Unlike DVD-A which was prevented from ever exceeding 5.1, BD discs can technically carry more channels and be fully backward compatible with existing players. Something like 13-14 channels are possible IIRC. The audio could be TrueHD or DD+ (maybe also DTS HDHR) and it can pass over HDMI. As with Auro3D, new AV decoders (or at least new firmware) would be needed to handle the extra channels, but in this case there'd be no new decoder technology to incorporate.
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post #10 of 16 Old 01-09-2012, 12:46 AM
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If Lucasfilm were to release the forthcoming Star Wars Saga 3D BDs with (remixed) Auro-3D 10.1 configuration soundtracks in addition to the 5.1 Standard soundtrack already heard on the existing 2D BD releases, that might generate enough groundswell demand for home Auro-3D decoders, but just how many consumers are willing to add 4 or 5 height|overhead speakers to their existing AV system otherwise? In the short run, a better solution for release on BD might be for the studios to take any movie released theatrically with an Auro-3D 11.1 soundtrack, and remix it into 5.1 Standard, but encoded for DPLIIz or Neo:X 5.1 Standard + 2x Front Height decoding|expansion.

I think we need to wait to see how many theaters are converted to show movies in Auro-3D, and just how many movies are mixed|re-mixed for that format before we start asking for it to be replicated in the home theater environment...?!

[Right now in my home office, I have 14 speakers (8 in-use plus another 6 currently re-boxed) which seems about right for a full Auro-3D 13.1(6) configuration with the usual single Top Center (TpC) speaker directly overhead replaced by a 'dual mono' Top Side Left|Right (TpSiL|TpSiR) surround speaker pair 'cross firing 50%+50% from both side walls at ceiling level' (something like the height channel delivery mechanism employed in the "Alternate Telarc SACD 6.0 Height Playback Layout") . . . but until there are Auro-3D decoders, and available source material mixed|encoded for Auro-3D, there's no point in my going any further than theorizing about how to set up such a configuration! ]

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post #11 of 16 Old 01-09-2012, 01:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SoundChex View Post

but just how many consumers are willing to add 4 or 5 height|overhead speakers to their existing AV system otherwise? In the short run, a better solution for release on BD might be for the studios to take any movie released theatrically with an Auro-3D 11.1 soundtrack, and remix it into 5.1 Standard, but encoded for DPLIIz or Neo:X 5.1 Standard + 2x Front Height decoding|expansion.

Yes, let's not forget Neo:X, which is yet another lossy "11.1" solution, and it has the advantage of some finite adoption.

Quote:


I think we need to wait to see how many theaters are converted to show movies in Auro-3D, and just how many movies are mixed|re-mixed for that format before we start asking for it to be replicated in the home theater environment...?!

I agree there's no hurry. This will take some time to sort itself out.
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post #12 of 16 Old 01-09-2012, 03:03 AM
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Shouldn't any vector based audio format be compatible with existing AVR's so long as the player (presumably new, as I doubt this could be fanagled into any general purpose processing current BD players might employ) has the capability to transcode the vector information into a standard 2.0, 2.1, 5.1, 7.2 etc format (i.e., whatever best suits the target AVR)?

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post #13 of 16 Old 01-09-2012, 09:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigus View Post

Shouldn't any vector based audio format be compatible with existing AVR's so long as the player (presumably new, as I doubt this could be fanagled into any general purpose processing current BD players might employ) has the capability to transcode the vector information into a standard 2.0, 2.1, 5.1, 7.2 etc format (i.e., whatever best suits the target AVR)?

Of course. The ones that I am aware of are indeed compatible with current speaker layouts. Not much chance of adoption otherwise. If the bitstream is built right, the BD player would see a normal 5.1 (or stereo) mix and the extra vector information would be forwarded to an external processor.
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post #14 of 16 Old 01-09-2012, 10:00 PM
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Hmm... that sounds interesting. Might have to do some more reading. So the vector stream is sort of piggybacked onto a standard mix, with "additional" information that is supposed to give more specific directional cues to the information already contained in that mix? Sounds like a reasonable solution.

I was thinking the vector info would have to be "foreign" compared to traditional multichannel streams, but so long as the player had the processor to decode/transcode into a more traditional format (if the AVR or prepro couldn't handle a vector stream) then all would be well.

I'm guessing the former is more backwards compatible as it may not require a new player at all, while I wonder if my the way I had assumed it might work would allow more finite control over steering.

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post #15 of 16 Old 01-09-2012, 11:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigus View Post

Hmm... that sounds interesting. Might have to do some more reading.

If you have access to AES papers, this one explains the concept well.

Quote:


So the vector stream is sort of piggybacked onto a standard mix, with "additional" information that is supposed to give more specific directional cues to the information already contained in that mix? Sounds like a reasonable solution.

Exactly.

Quote:


I was thinking the vector info would have to be "foreign" compared to traditional multichannel streams, but so long as the player had the processor to decode/transcode into a more traditional format (if the AVR or prepro couldn't handle a vector stream) then all would be well.

The vector part would indeed be foreign, so it would be ignored (except for being handed out) by the typical player. The compatible mix is all that is needed for the player's internal decoders (and to make the discs format compliant). Look at it like a lossless extension on top of a lossy core. The player can ignore the lossless part, as it is optional.
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post #16 of 16 Old 01-10-2012, 12:54 PM
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A few lines of "press commentary" after the Auro-3D roll-out at the 2nd Annual Moody Gardens Digital Cinema Symposium, Monday 1/9/2011, at Moody Gardens in Galveston, Texas. An extract from Barco Unveils Digital Cinema Breakthroughs...
Quote:


"In the [Auro-3D] demo at Moody Gardens, Barco played some custom-produced recordings of city streets in Brussels, Belgium, as well as clips from “Red Tails”, the new movie that will be released to theaters this month, that is produced by George Lucas and based on the Tuskegee Airmen, the group of African-American combat pilots during World War II. I can say that the only time I’ve ever heard such dynamic, three dimensional sound was in a very custom (and expensive) demo in a Cirque Du Soleil theater in Las Vegas. The aural modeling achieved in the Barco demos Monday was awe-inspiring. The addition of the “height” channel that adds on a layer, and particularly the overhead channel really brings the audio to life."


[But neither the 'blub' on the front page of the "Red Tails" website, nor any theatrical one-sheet for "Red Tails" I've seen makes any mention of Auro-3D that I can find...?! ]

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