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Everything You Need to Know About Immersive Audio

Spurred by new ‘3D’ audio formats, AV integrators will soon find clients and applications that seek sound all around.

Audio had developed a story arc that’s become predictable: consumers discover progressively more sophisticated sound systems in cinemas and eventually want to enjoy them everywhere else, from where they shop to where they worship.

Starting with the arrival, in September 1952, of the large-screen Cinerama format, stereo sound made its way from the silver screen to the living room, when boutique label Audio Fidelity Records released the first mass-produced stereophonic disc in November 1957, and then to radio, the concert stage and television.

Surround sound, aka 5.1-channel audio, followed a similar trajectory, when the Dolby system was used for the 1976 release of sci-fi flick “Logan’s Run,” after which it migrated to broadcast television and home video (it failed to gain mainstream success with music but lives on as a niche market).

Today, venues equipped for 5.1 audio include corporate cinemas and auditoriums, theme parks and museum exhibitions. That also goes for the 7.1 and 7.2 formats, which added side-wall speakers and more subwoofers.

Thus, it’s not unreasonable to expect the next iteration of sound technology formats will have a similar kind of narrative.