Equilogy, a new 3D audio engineering software system, has been launched after more than 12 years in development.
The product is designed to let engineers create 3D environments on a computer and produce accurate audio in each virtual location via a unique sound engine, which measures sound waves travelling through the space.
Equilogy 1.0 allows users to construct a wide range of audio settings, including recording studios and houses of worship, and then use 3D positioning to place sound sources and microphones. The firm also offers to build custom-built virtual rooms for the client, such as experimental studios and movie sets, and can also export 3D sound to any surround speaker configuration, as well as headphones.
The idea stemmed from inventor and CEO Gergely Kovacs’ realisation that modern audio equipment is incapable of precisely recreating the sound of classic records from past decades.
Speaking exclusively to Audio Pro International, he says: "I was always into the quality and uniqueness of some records made in the ’50s, and the revolutionary sounds of The Beatles’ recordings. I wanted to understand them, how they were done and what the exact physics was behind them, because recreating most of them is now hardly possible.
"I realised that modern multi-track recording methods lack certain audio information that is normally needed for the human brain to understand sound. Without these, audio feels unreal and lifeless. Using this knowledge it became clear that the only way to get such realistic sound is if we recreate what goes on in reality. But after writing some initial software, I realised that I would need a supercomputer to do the job. Finally I found a solution – software that is in its complexity unparalleled to current audio tools."
Although the concept might seem a bit baffling at first, Kovacs insists that making the system as simple to operate as possible was high on the agenda when creating the product.
"Our team paid a great deal of attention to making our software easy to use," adds Kovacs. "You need to think differently when learning how to mix in 3D, but we decided early on that we will follow reality in the handling of our software too; that means you do not have fancy knobs and sliders, you just grab your sound source and move it with your mouse, just like you would do in reality.
"Of course it needs you to do some things differently – most importantly leaving the audio without reverbs and in mono, because in reality no instrument or sound source has its own reverbs, only their internal acoustics. Apart from that you are able to do everything just as before."
As Equilogy offers features that have never been seen before – meaning there was no pre-existing software to act as a starting point for the system – the design process was a long and challenging one.
"Because our technology is not based on and does not use any currently existing methods used in studios nowadays, it was a completely blank sheet of paper for us; we had to break into unknown territories and find new solutions," reveals Kovacs. "Think about it – modelling infinite amounts of sound waves coming from multiple sources at the same time, from different positions, reflecting from hundreds of different surfaces and materials and reaching your ears, which have their own unique acoustics…all in three dimensions!"
The company believes that the product is revolutionary, and that the technology lying at the heart of the product could potentially solve problems and create new opportunities in other areas of the audio industry.
"The core of our software just opened up a new world of possibilities for what can be done with audio; things that were not possible until now," Kovacs claims. "This means we will introduce tools based on our unique technology that will be just as groundbreaking as Equilogy is now. Our next goal is to continue speeding up these complicated calculations up to a point when it can be work as a plug-in, and we would also like to give Mac users greater compatibility.
"For the distant future – after the audio industry gets familiar with 3D audio – we want to announce the new tools we are building today, as we think they will be even more interesting and will broaden the possibilities of what can be achieved with 3D audio."
The video below – optimised for use with headphones – offers more information on how Equilogy works.