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Sennheiser and Neumann immersive recording project

Virtual reality orchestral recording

Sennheiser Neumann immersive virtual reality orchestra recording KM 184 MKH 8040 800 MCM

Sennheiser and Neumann have taken part in a pioneering immersive audio recording, capturing the Mahler Chamber Orchestra performing at the Meistersaal in Berlin with 24 Sennheiser MKH 800 Twins, seven Sennheiser MKH 8040s, three Neumann KM 184s, and 48 Neumann MCM systems.

The session was part of an experiment carried out by Henrik Oppermann, founder and director of Schallgeber and Head of Sound at the Sennheiser AMBEO Immersive Audio Team, with the goal of creating a new type of audio experience which allows listeners to move freely around a virtual performance space whilst listening to a recording, with the audio balance changing in real time to reflect their position.

“In order to make six degrees of freedom possible, and therefore to enable listeners to move around individual sound sources in the recording, we feed the microphone signals into a game engine, where we can change the directional characteristics depending on the distance to the sound source. So, as a listener, when I’m close to the sound source, I can only hear the recording parts made with a cardioid pick-up pattern. This puts me really close to the action and I can hear, for example, how a violinist’s bow moves over the strings and can even hear the musician breathing. But if I move away from the sound source, the listening experience merges seamlessly into the recording made with an omnidirectional pick-up pattern. As a listener, I can then hear a realistic soundscape that includes more ambience and in which those details that can clearly be heard when I’m close to the instrument are now almost imperceptible and become part of the overall sound image.” - Henrik Oppermann

The results of the project are planned to be made available to the general public in April 2023 as part of a special installation at the Radialsystem arts centre in Berlin. Visitors will be equipped with VR headsets and headphones, enabling them to move around the virtual space as whilst a sophisticated tracking system traces their movements and delivers the sound captured from that perspective.

More details on the project are available on the Sennheiser website via the link below.

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