Memorial Lecture at 140th: Rozenn Nicol / The Immersive Audio Revolution: From Labs to Mass-Market

AES 140th Convention
Palais des Congrès, Paris, France.
June 4–7, 2016

Spatial audio expert Rozenn Nicol, will give the Richard C. Heyser Memorial Lecture at the 140th Convention, reinforcing the immersive audio theme.



Over a period of 25 years there have been many major developments in spatial audio. After more than 50 years of stereophony new technologies such as Wave Field Synthesis, Higher Order Ambisonics or Vector-Base Amplitude Panning were introduced. They promise an enhanced 3D audio experience, where virtual sound sources can be accurately synthesized in any direction.

Various loudspeaker formats for multichannel audio reproduction are now proposed, from 5.1 to 7.1, 10.2, Auro-3D (9.1 or 11.1), 22.2, and Dolby Atmos (up to 64 channels). Not only the number of channels increases for a better sonic immersion, but also sound spatialization is extended to include elevation effects. In parallel, more and more tools are available for the capture, editing, coding and reproduction of spatial audio.

Because these developments require more and more complex setups of loudspeakers, immersive audio faces the risk of being limited to movie theaters or amusement parks. Fortunately, a new step was recently reached with the binaural adaptation of any multichannel audio format to headphone listening. Pioneering experiments by radio and television organisations (BBC, Radio France, France Télévisions) show that immersive audio is very close to becoming a mass market product.



Rozenn Nicol is a research engineer on spatial audio at Orange Labs in France. She has worked on the development of innovative 3D sound technologies such as binaural, WFS and ambisonics, to enhance future telecommunication services. She was involved in the European 5th Framework collaborative project, CARROUSO, together with numerous universities, research organisations and companies. From 1999–2000 she was a research engineer on underwater acoustics at the Institut Français de Recherche pour l’Exploitation de la Mer. During her PhD research she worked at France Telecom on the design and assessment of a spatial audio rendering system based on wavefield synthesis for high quality video conferencing. She holds a number of patents in the field of spatial audio and has supervised and examined a number of PhDs on the topic. She has also taught the subject at Masters level at the Université de Maine and the Université de Bretagne Occidentale. In 2010 she authored an AES Monograph on Binaural Technology.

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