Surround Zone is a new plug-in for SADiE Series 5 system that decodes and processes the discrete, 4-channel B-Format audio output from SoundField’s MKV, ST250 and SPS422B surround microphone systems.
Prior to Surround Zone, only the SoundField MKV preamp/processor or the SoundField SP451 Surround Sound Processor units could be used to “remix” into mono, stereo, M/S, 5.1, 6.1, 7.1 (or any future surround format) a recording made using B-Format stems.
Both the SoundField MKV and SPS422B microphone systems use four matched-condenser capsules arranged in a phase coherent, tetrahedral or equilateral triangle array. These capsules, along with the preamp/processor, deliver a 3-D representation of acoustical events from a single point in space, which is conveyed over four audio channels called B-Format. The four channels are X (front to back), Y (left to right), Z (up and down) and W (absolute pressure, like an omni-directional mic). B-Format requires that X/Y/Z/W all must originate from a central point to be phase-accurate. Once in B-Format, all output variations (mono, stereo, mid/side, 5.1, 6.1, 7.1) are derived using the SoundField processor or the Surround Zone plug-in running in SADiE Series 5.
With the software’s intuitive graphical interface, mixers can now “sculpt” the actual sonic size by manipulating the four B-Format components in a myriad ways. For example, in film sound mixing, the apparent location of recorded sound effects can be “placed” anywhere in a 3-D space to track or follow onscreen action. Using Surround Zone, this is done by virtually “steering” the microphone’s position and controlling the mix of direct sound to ambience in a very precise and repeatable way.
There is the Rotate control for 360° rotation; Tilt adjusts the microphone’s vertical attack angle by +/-45°, and Zoom moves the mic forward or backward, nearer or farther from the source. Surround Zone offers a choice of three different 5.1 arrays, each with their polar pattern graphically depicted on individual pages. For 5.1 and 6.1 and 7.1 arrays, there are independent level controls with bargraph meters to adjust the width of both the front and rear pairs, as well as the level of the phase-coherent LFE channels.
The software also provides simultaneous stereo outputs alongside the surround signal with full control over the polar pattern and stereo width. A variable highpass filter from 20 Hz up to 250 Hz and a mid/side-encoded output are also available.