Date: 9 Jun 2015
Lecture by Francis Rumsey (, Editor for the AES journal and Chairman of the AES Technical Council)
The history of sound reproduction is peppered with attempts to get fully immersive audio off the ground in more than a niche way. In the 1940s there was a version of the Fantasound system that had a ceiling loudspeaker, many IMAX theater installations have had a top center “voice of God” loudspeaker, and Ambisonic systems since the 1970s have promised the possibility of “periphony”. The majority of commercial installations however, both in the cinema and in the home, have remained resolutely “horizontal only” until recently. Now there is renewed interest in what some have called 3D audio, or what is increasingly termed immersive audio, with a renewed commercial motivation and a number of competing formats, centred on the movie industry, but also having relevance to other areas of entertainment. In this lecture the history and development of immersive audio are reviewed, with a look at emerging trends, standards activity, and remaining challenges.