October 06, 2004 —
Gone are the days of vying for the best seat in the house. Breakthrough audio
signal processing technology developed in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering’s
Integrated Media Systems Center (IMSC) has enlarged that acoustic “sweet spot”
and made any seat in the living room just right for optimal listening.
Associate professor Chris Kyriakakis has introduced a signal processing system
called MultEQ that distributes sound evenly across a room and optimizes the listening
experience for each person. The system is featured in a new audio/video receiver
from Denon Electronics of Japan.
“Everyone can hear the same high-quality sound, no matter where they are sitting
in the room,” said Kyriakakis, a co-founder of Audyssey Laboratories, Inc., of
Los Angeles, a spin-off company of the USC Integrated Media Systems Center. “The
system incorporates a room correction and calibration technology that minimizes
the effects of room acoustics for multiple listeners.”
Kyriakakis, who is research area director for sensory interfaces at IMSC , said
that an auto set-up function automatically determines how many loudspeakers are
connected to the system, whether they are connected in phase, and whether they
are satellites or subwoofers. In addition, MultEQ detects the proper crossover
point between the satellite speakers and the subwoofer. It then analyzes and calibrates
speaker level size and distance.
MultEQ operates by playing a test signal from each loudspeaker. An inexpensive
calibrated microphone is placed in each seat successively to measure the frequency
response variations around the room. MultEQ then creates a filter that optimizes
the response at all locations simultaneously. According to Kyriakakis, the technology
can be used on any sound system, from monaural to multichannel surround sound.
Other manufacturers will be releasing products with MultEQ both for the home and
the automobile in the first quarter of 2005.
The system resulted from research in audio signal processing, acoustics and psychoacoustics
at IMSC’s Immersive Audio Laboratory and was part of USC graduate student Sunil
Bharitkar’s doctoral dissertation. Bharitkar and Phil Hilmes, a USC Viterbi School
master’s degree graduate, are co-founders of Audyssey Laboratories. The company’s
commercial success is a direct result of IMSC’s research culture, which encourages
close collaboration with industry, said Isaac Maya, IMSC director of industry
and technology transfer programs.
“IMSC research is aligned with industry needs and offers higher potential for
commercial success,” Maya said, adding that eight small companies in addition
to Audyssey have been spun off from IMSC. “IMSC has successfully concluded more
than 100 licenses and technology transfers, including some major commercial successes,
and has a broad spectrum of advanced information technologies available for licensing.”
IMSC is the National Science Foundation’s exclusive engineering research center
for multimedia and Internet research. For more information on IMSC’s industry
program, visit http://imsc.usc.edu/industry, or contact Isaac Maya at (213) 740-2592
or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.