By David Poirier-Quinot & Jean-Marc Lyzwa

To create the illusion that a sound source has been recorded in a different acoustic space than it actually was, researchers and sound engineers use a technique called “auralisation”. The method can, for example, be used to project a children’s choir performing in a studio into a long-gone 14th-century cathedral. Auralisation starts with the capture (or simulation) of the acoustic of a space within a “room impulse response”, which sounds like someone popped a balloon in that space. Then, using a mathematical operation called a “convolution”, one can apply this acoustic to any sound recorded in a studio. Recordings are made in an “anechoic” room for best results. Such a room absorbs all acoustic reflections so that only the direct sound produced by the performer is recorded without any reverberation. With auralisation, one can compose realistic auditory scenes from scratch, with total control over the source’s position and the listener’s point of view. Examples of auralisation are available on the website of the RoomZ audio plugin.

RoomZ is a tool developed by the researchers behind the creation of the “Looking for Notre-Dame” radio fiction to simplify the creation of realistic auralisations.

D. Poirier-Quinot, P. Stitt, B.F.G. Katz, “RoomZ: Spatial panning plugin for dynamic RIR convolution auralisations”, AES Intl Conf Spatial and Immersive Audio, 2023-08-23

B. F. G. Katz, J.-M. Lyzwa, and D. Poirier-Quinot, “La Vierge 2020 : Reconstructing a virtual concert performance Through Historic Auralisation of Notre-Dame Cathedral,” in Intl Conf 3D Audio (I3DA), pp. 1–9, 2021, doi:10.1109/I3DA48870.2021.9610849. video