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The Magic Ball That Will Revolutionise the Music Industry


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AudioImmersion, photo: courtesy of Zylia

The Polish firm Zylia has created a prototype for a ball-shaped device very likely to revolutionise the music world. Called AudioImmersion, it simultaneously records live sounds from various sources on separate tracks with a single piece of equipment.

Make Things Disappear

AudioImmersion, photo: courtesy of Zylia
AudioImmersion, photo: courtesy of Zylia

Nowadays if you want to make a decent live recording of a medium-sized band you need several microphones, stands, a mixer and a sound registering device. And don’t forget about meters of cables that tend to get tangled up. All of these things take up space, often have to be transported despite sometimes being quite heavy and setting them up is time-consuming. These innocent objects (with whom musicians often develop a love-hate relationship) might soon become obsolete because of a ball-shaped piece of equipment created by the Polish research and development company Zylia. AudioImmersion is a prototype microphone device that packs all the crucial functions of the aforementioned kit into one compact object. Simply put, it is a magic ball that could potentially replace several pieces of heretofore essential equipment.

Separate Tracks

A single microphone device capable of high-quality recording from many sources isn’t a new idea. Symphonic orchestras, for example, need this type of recording. However, the existing devices able to perform this feat have a significant limitation that differentiates them from AudioImmersion – they don’t offer multitrack recording. This kind of sound recording enables you to make separate recordings of each instrument (or voice) taking part in a group recording session at once. Later one can put together the separate recordings to produce a coherent musical whole. This process is called mixing. Multitrack recording, which is commonplace in popular music and often involves the use of a larger or smaller kit of the type described earlier, allows for extensive editing of the captured material. On the other hand, recording many sound sources with a single microphone device immediately produces a basically inseparable whole, which is less editable than multitrack material. That is of course, if the device in question isn’t AudioImmersion.

Studio-Quality

AudioImmersion, photo: courtesy of Zylia
AudioImmersion, photo: courtesy of Zylia

To illustrate how AudioImmersion works, let us picture a room with a drummer and guitarist simultaneously playing. The device has been placed between them and is recording. When they stop, thanks to Zylia’s prototype, they can listen to what they’ve played together. Or to the drums on their own. Or to the guitar alone. How is this possible? The device uploads the audio data to a cloud, where it can be processed to obtain the separate tracks. The service for this processing comes with AudioImmersion and that’s why the magic ball is described by its creators a live audio recording system. Zylia assures that its prototype, which contains not one but a whole array of microphones, makes studio-quality recordings.

New York, New York

AudioImmersion was designed by a group of young scientists led by Dr. Tomasz Żernicki, one of the founders of Zylia. He’s an engineer by education, but he enjoys playing music from time to time. Żernicki is fascinated with sound and engineering and often tries to bring those two passions into his creative pursuits. According to him, the 3D audio technology developed by Zylia which is used in AudioImmersion may find applications outside of music, for instance in virtual reality systems or television. Unfortunately the company doesn’t know yet when its ball-shaped prototype device will be introduced to the market. However, as these words are being written, AudioImmersion is officially debuting at the 139th Audio Engineering Society Convention in New York City, which started on the 29th of October. And if it makes it there, it’ll probably make it everywhere else.

Author: Marek Kępa, October 2015

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DESIGN & INNOVATION