AES Section Meeting Reports

Pacific Northwest - June 21, 2017

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PNW's season-ending meeting was held at the DigiPen Institute of Technology in Redmond WA, with Lawrence Schwedler, Digipen's Program Director of Music & Sound Design, speaking on 3-D Sound for Video Games. About 41 attended (20 were AES Members). AES Executive Director Bob Moses was also there.

PNW Section elections were conducted.

Lawrence Schwedler then began his discussion of 3-D audio for Video Games. Lawrence is the Program Director of Music & Sound Design for DigiPen, a school focusing on the arts and technologies driving modern entertainment and beyond. Starting with some references for background info, he then described mono, stereo, binaural and surround sound. He also spoke on the history and development of game sound, from early arcade games, XboX, to Oculus Rift with head motion tracking. Next was how people localize sound with interaural time differences (ITD) and interaural level differences (ILD), and thus helps define the HRTF, (Head Related Transfer Function), which is different for every person. A game could use a generic HRTF, and along with head motion tracking and visual cues, can be good enough for a game.

Ambisonics was also described, which has some useful advantages for implementing 3-D sound.

Headphones definitely work well for binaural, directing the sounds into each ear with no crosstalk. But speakers might be more convenient in many cases. Dr. Edgar Choueiri's BACCH system (Band-Assembled Crosstalk Cancellation Hierarchy) from Princeton uses a crosstalk cancellation technique to allow speakers to work decently for binaural.

Ian Shores, a graduate of DigiPen's Bachelor of Music and Sound Design degree program, Lab Manager for DigiPen's Music Department, and freelance technical sound designer currently working for Highwire Games, conducted a demo of the BACHH system on a volunteer. The volunteer donned in-ear mics, some sine sweeps captured an Impulse Response of the room, a binaural recording of some moving room action was done, then played back for the volunteer to hear through BACHH.

After a break and election result report, some door prizes were awarded:

-AES coasters: Chris Sabin, Wayne Edwards, Gary Louie

-Prizes courtesy of Rick Rodrigues/Fluke:
Fluke Networks Network Meter/Tester: Dave Tosti-Lane
Amprobe pen tester: Isaac Steimle
Amprobe DMM: Phillip Klassen

-Prizes courtesy Rick Chinn/Uneeda Audio:
set of Pokemon golf balls: Dave Quick, Steve Turnidge

Finally, Ian Shores explained the interface settings for the BACHH software, then conducted listening tests for volunteers, who could also try out another Steam/HTC Vive VR game, "Nightmare Grotto," developed by Redmond indie game studio 8th Shore, Inc, showing off spatial sound design by audio lead Phillip Klassen, another graduate of DigiPen's BAMSD program.

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AES - Audio Engineering Society