Newly introduced by Turtle Beach Corporation is HyperSound, the Directional Audio System that incorporates proprietary technology to generate audible sound along an ultrasonic beam. The result, claims the US-based company, is the creation of a tight audio zone with sonic clarity and intelligibility over long distances.
Directional audio is certainly not new, but to date there has been a general feeling that it has failed to connect with a sufficiently broad user base. “Using directed audio speakers to create an audio zone is a great benefit, but the products [by other companies] have not properly addressed the audio bleed that occurs with their traditional speaker technology,” says Todd Savitt, vice-president HyperSound sales and marketing at Turtle Beach Corporation, who sat down with Commercial Integrator Europe during a recent visit to London.
“We utilise our unique ultrasonic technology to tightly direct audio to create a virtual reality audio zone, which no one has been able to effectively achieve.”
An ultrasonic approach makes all the difference, claims Savitt, and certainly the demo to which CIE is treated – spanning a variety of recorded material and including Pink Floyd’s perennial hi-fi tester, ‘Money’ – is highly compelling. “Everybody who has experienced the system has said the same thing,” smiles Savitt.
Nonetheless, with some previous directional products having failed to hit the spot, there is a need for a general trade show and educational push that is readily acknowledged. “We have to get out there and demonstrate the system to everyone; you can’t sell it otherwise,” Savitt remarks.
Primary target markets for the new system include museums – where there is greater familiarity with directional products because of the pressing need to restrict audio to specific exhibits – and retail. The latter, in particular, could prove to be big business for HyperSound. “For example, wherever you see a digital display in a retail environment, there is an opportunity to incorporate directed audio,” says Savitt. “99% of the time those displays do not have audio to accompany it because the sound bleeds into other areas; staff end up turning the sound off altogether. It’s clear that people will spend more time in front of retail [installations] if there is both video and audio because the combination of the two creates a more memorable and compelling experience than video alone.”
If these initial products might seem to provide ample scope for action for Savitt and his team, then there are also plans to apply the technology – which was originally developed by celebrated innovator Woody Norris (now chief scientist at Turtle Beach) under the auspices of Parametric Sound Corporation prior to its acquisition by Turtle Beach in January this year – to other market segments. “Through demonstration of HyperSound to people that have hearing loss, it was discovered that many of these individuals could hear audio better,” says Savitt. “This led to collaborative research with a well-known audiology group which showed that HyperSound can benefit folks who are hard of hearing.”
Commercial distribution of HyperSound within the European market is currently being spearheaded by Audionation-UK Ltd.