What is Immersive Sound?
As we attend a performance in a concert venue, sound is all around us. Reflections from floor, walls and ceiling form what we refer to as the unique sound of a specific location. The human hearing can perceive these acoustic cues in fine spatial resolution allowing us to immediately characterize and imagine the space we are in. Moreover, room acoustics strongly impact the timbre of musical instruments and influence our perception of structures in a composition. Clearly space is an essential component of a music experience.
In conventional two-channel stereo recordings, wise decisions must be made by the recording and mixing engineer how to translate the complex original acoustic setting into the two-dimensional reduction while still maintaining balance and clarity. In a way this process can be compared to a painter projecting a landscape with a brush on canvas. Immersive recording and playback technologies however, can now reproduce the full natural character of sound in all spatial dimensions. In acoustic music such as classical recordings an jazz this leads to a more natural and reality related sound stage whereas other genres equally benefit from the three-dimensional space which provides so much more room for creative musical arrangements than stereo.
Without losing detail and transperency, the acoustic envelopment afforded by immersive sound formats in essence provides a strongly enhanced emotional experience to the listener and makes a more intimate engagement with the music possible.