SoundField UPM-1 stereo-to-5.1 converter
SoundField, the UK-based manufacturer and supplier of multi-capsule mic systems for stereo and surround audio capture in the broadcast and audio recording markets, has begun shipping the UPM-1 stereo-to-5.1 converter. Aimed at the broadcast market, the UPM-1 is a 19-inch rack processor designed to create 5.1 content from old program material that only has a stereo soundtrack.
Such “legacy” programming is a problem for companies broadcasting in high-definition with 5.1 surround audio, because listeners find it distracting when modern HD shows are broadcast in 5.1 surround and then the audio narrows to a very “flat-sounding” two channels for older material. This kind of distracting switch can occur even within one show. All the modern content in an HD sports show will be in 5.1, but older clips of past sporting events usually have only a stereo soundtrack. To modern HD broadcasters, this kind of repeated expansion and contraction of the audio soundscape is unacceptable. The UPM-1 provides a fast, easy-to-use solution.
All of the material in the 5.1 mix that appears at the processor’s outputs is derived from spatial information present in the original stereo signal. The UPM-1’s processing is adaptive, changing with the input signal, rather than remaining constant irrespective of input.
The UPM-1 generates 5.1 from two channels by analyzing the original stereo audio using a patented algorithm that separates the audio into its so-called Direct and Ambient components. The former encompasses the “dryer,” less reverberant components in the original sound (for example, those elements that would have been close to the microphone when the audio was recorded), while the latter refers to the more reverberant components (like those sound sources that would have been further away at the time of recording). These elements can then be processed separately and routed in different proportions to the 5.1 mix if required, using the UPM-1’s simple front panel rotary controls. In addition to discrete controls for the input level and individual 5.1 output channels, the level of the direct sound component in the original signal may be adjusted independently from that of the Ambient sound in the rear channels, and the ambient component in the front three channels.
The UPM-1 also offers control over the perceived width of the front three channels, and over whether the material appearing at the front center of the 5.1 soundscape will be routed only to the center channel or equally to the left and right channels.
For more information, visit SoundField’s U.S. distributor, TransAudio Group.