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audioXpress Magazine

August 2021


Making Acoustics Personal And Safe
Acoustic science is where everything starts, determining how sound and audio systems behave in practice.
Editorial By J. Martins


audioXpress Magazine August 2021


  This is our annual edition where we pay extra attention to acoustics — something that I like to think we actually do every month. After getting the magazine to the printer, I always wish we could publish more contributed articles — and we are always receptive to publishing more work in this domain. In particular from those working in the fascinating domain of acoustic measurements, simulation, and even auralization of acoustics. This is an area of significant progress. Software tools and increasingly powerful computation platforms are enabling something that we have all been dreaming about for years: To be able to perform real-time ray-tracing, wave and particles propagation for simulation of acoustic properties, conditions, and interactions. While many still use it mainly for research, this is now part of the basic toolset for education, while acousticians are using it more for both designing new acoustic treatment solutions and full project design. And given the enormous progress that is taking place in structural mechanics, dynamics, and multiphysics simulation, the always-elusive research in areas such as vibration and sound control is now also not only possible but highly recommended.

In particular, the auralization of the simulated functions and measurements, is becoming increasingly reliable and useful. And that includes the direct integration of external computation elements, such as EASE files that are supplied by all major pro audio speaker manufacturers, or material property libraries from existing vendors. Of course, I understand that the way to integrate all the available tools and bridge all the complex data and equations that are available from different tools and methods are still a big secret that is kept well-guarded by many researchers, developers, consultants, and even manufacturers. But I also believe there is now enough common knowledge and critical mass experience for the industry to start considering offering these at a more practical level to the audio industry.

Our readers following the Product and Industry News updates on the audioXpress website have certainly noticed articles about artificial intelligence allowing new software solutions that are able to provide added-value in the music production, audio post-production, or the creative process in general. Removing background noise from an audio recording is now possible using the builtprocessor in the recorder itself to run a specialized algorithm. Sophisticated acoustic compensation algorithms are now able to adjust the response of consumer speakers or earbuds in real time. And obviously, all audio manufacturers are using those very same technologies and resources in their developments, with simulation leading the approach for both volume products and custom-designed approaches.


audioXpress Magazine August 2021


We can expect to see sophisticated acoustic simulation and auralization tools being integrated in systems that would be of great benefit to both system integrators and consumers. Simply by allowing them to simulate acoustical conditions, and the benefits of variable acoustics, including simulating the presence of actual products (e.g., speakers) in those conditions. If today I am able to use an augmented reality smartphone app to simulate how a piece of furniture will look in my own living room, consumers should be also able to experiment with virtual acoustics and augmented audio tools. For professionals, this could actually increase their opportunities to design effective systems, solve real problems, and intervene in areas where there is no predictability, such as dealing with noise prevention.

Effective, practical results are also illustrated in the Acoustical Solutions Round-Up featured in this edition. Apart from the usual highlights of new cutting-edge acoustics products and solutions, the article addresses the need for products and designs that appeal to everyone as consumers and end-users, with which we can all relate emotionally. Acoustics is increasingly about our personal connection with spaces, private and public, work or leisure.

And this enduring global pandemic has also introduced another critical variable, which is the need for cleaning and disinfection, adding a new parameter in material properties related to the use of antimicrobial treatments. These are trends that will remain.



J. Martins





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