Information on 3D spatial sound (Spatial Audio)
Immerse yourself in a new sound experience! For the first time, the Bavarian State Ballet/Bavarian State Opera will offer a completely new listening experience with 3D Spatial Audio at the live stream of the ballet Cinderella on 13 November 2022. This stream is optimised for headphones. The sound is recorded with a multitude of microphones in the room and transports the original acoustics of the National Theatre. Any standard headphone - cheap, expensive, old or new - can reproduce this technology. Please only use this stream if you are using headphones. Otherwise, the stereo stream will give you better sound quality.
If you want to know more about the technique:
Natural hearing allows the human ear to locate sound sources in space from different directions, i.e. three-dimensionally. The 3D spatial sound we produce uses this sensation and thus transports the original acoustics of the National Theatre. However, to reproduce such a three-dimensional acoustic experience in a living room or home cinema, a large number of loudspeakers and special playback hardware (renderer) are required.
We therefore use an alternative, so-called binaural technology, which works exclusively with headphones or earphones. The acoustic effect that leads to three-dimensional hearing in the ear is already included in the transmitted sound, thus providing the listener with a more spatial and authentic listening experience.
FAQ on 3D spatial sound (Spatial Audio):
Do I need specific headphones?
No. Any commercially available headphone or earphone is capable of outputting the audio track it contains as 3D spatial sound. The higher the quality of the headphones, the better the sound experience will be. Please deactivate any programmes that want to automatically optimise the sound on your device (e.g. sound enhancements, spatial sound, spatial visualisations, 3D emulations, etc.).
What happens if I play the stream optimised for headphones through speakers?
You will still hear the music, but in a poorer playback quality. In this case, we recommend the stereo stream, as this provides a significantly better sound quality on speakers.
Does it matter which device (mobile phone, tablet, laptop, TV, etc.) I use to play the stream?
No. The 3D surround sound works as soon as you use headphones or earphones. However, especially with PCs and notebooks, please deactivate any programmes that would like to automatically optimise the sound on your device (e.g. sound enhancements, surround sound, room visualisations, 3D emulations, etc.).
Can I use several headphones with one player?
Yes. Either via a suitable cable or adapter to connect 2 headphones. In the case of wireless headphones, these must be connected to the same output device, e.g. via Bluetooth.
I have a speaker system in my living room that can output Dolby Atmos or 5.1 surround sound: Why can't I use it to enjoy the 3D surround sound announced here?
The sound in our 3D surround sound stream is produced in such a way that it is only reproduced correctly via headphones. This works without any additional hardware or software.
What is the difference to Dolby Surround sound or 5.1 sound?
Dolby Surround is usually understood to mean 5.1 playback, as we are used to from DVDs, for example. A 5.1 system is only two-dimensional, i.e. it reproduces "left-right/front-rear". A 3D sound system, also called an immersive sound system, adds speakers for the third dimension "up-down". Our new 3D surround sound implements this three-dimensionality for headphones.
What is the difference to Dolby Atmos?
In the "Dolby Atmos" system, an abstract data stream is transmitted that is optimised and distributed by hardware or software to the respective existing loudspeaker configuration during playback. This therefore works with a variety of different loudspeaker or playback constellations. However, Dolby Atmos cannot be played back without the corresponding hardware or software. Therefore, we currently use the so-called "binaural" technology, which can only be played back on headphones, but without additional technology.
What is the difference to stereo sound?
The "stereo" format only knows one dimension, namely "left-right". In stereo, music can be recorded and played back in a very high quality, but a spatial sound experience is only possible to a limited extent. When using headphones in stereo, the listener has the feeling that the sound "originates inside his head". Our 3D surround sound offers an alternative to this, which enables a more spatial and three-dimensional reproduction.
Does 3D sound in an orchestra mean that I hear the flute from the left and the trumpet from the right? Do I take the perfect position of the conductor, so to speak?
The localisation "left-right" (and thus the L/R position of the instruments) is already well possible and contained in the stereo format. However, the 3D spatial sound enables a more vivid reproduction and localisation of the music in 3D space. We do not place the virtual listener in the conductor's position (the conductor's position is not acoustically advantageous because he is much too close to the orchestra), but rather in an optimal position in the audience.
How many microphones were installed? Only in the orchestra pit or also in the auditorium?
For our production technique, both the orchestra pit is miked with a large number of microphones and the acoustic space of the National Theatre in the auditorium is reproduced with a complex array of microphones. For the stream of the Bavarian State Ballet on 13.11.2022, a total of approx. 32 microphones were used.