In this paper an XML-based scheme for describing time-varying 3D sound scenes is proposed. The scheme can be both used as a meta-data language and as a rendering format for 3D audio scenes. The scheme has been developed in a way that is independent of a particular 3D audio format, channel and speaker configuration or 3D sound API. This is achieved by using a high level of abstraction where 3D audio scenes are fully described by objects such as sound sources, reflective surfaces, reverberant rooms and a scene score describing the structure and the time varying behaviour of the scenes. The proposed scheme uses an orchestra/score approach instead of a traditional scene graph approach found in virtual reality and multimedia presentation formats such as MPEG-4, VRML or X3D. This approach allows the description of the scene content to be separated from the scene structural and temporal description, simplifying the 3D audio scene description data and improving efficiency of search and content retrieval algorithms exploiting this meta-data.
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