ESMA-3D Immersive Soundscape Recordings



ESMA3D (Equal Segment Microphone Array 3D) is a 3D mic array technique for 360° recording developed by Hyunkook Lee of the APL. It consists of 8 microphones arranged in a horizontally spaced, vertically coincident fashion. This provides a very good spaciousness and stable/accurate horizontal and vertical imaging as well as a realistic impression of being there and strong immersion. The main layer (mainly responsible for capture sound sources) is a 50cm x 50cm square of four cardioid microphones spaced with a 90° subtended angle between each pair of mics. The upper layer uses 4 supercardioid mics facing upwards for capturing ambience and elevated sources like birds. The lower and upper layers are coincident (0 spacing, but with a subtended angle of 90 to 120° to have enough level difference between the layers for stable vertical localisation). This design is based on our previous findings showing that vertical mic spacing has little or no contribution to spatial impression in 3D recording. The Schoeps ORTF3D is a brother/sister mic array sharing the same concept - horizontal spacing/vertical coincidence. The reproduction of ESMA3D requires the 8-channel Cube speaker array or 9.1 Dolby Atmos or Auro-3D setup (without the centre and sub), or it can be also binaurally or/and Ambisonically rendered, which still preserves a good quality if used with a good quality decoder, e.g. IEM plugin suite or Aalto SPARTA suite. More details about the array design and listening test results can be found in our AES papers below.
Date made available20 Nov 2019

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