On January 24, 2002, 36 members and guests gathered at a Pioneer's listening room in Tokyo to study gAutomatic Sound Field Equalization System for Multi-channel Sound Listeningh developed by the company. Shinji Koyano of the company discussed first, the problems involved in the conventional systems which simulate acoustics of existing concert halls and the like. In such a system, as the listenerfs own room reverberation is inevitably added to that included in the sound source, the end results are more or less confused. Other hand, meeting the professional ITU requirements for multi-channel reproduction is difficult for consumers. This led the Koyanofs group to develop a system which automatically equalize frequency responses, level differences and delay times of the reproduced multi-channel sound reaching the listenerfs ears as close as possible to the ITU requirements.
Thereafter, Yoshiki Ota explained how the signals were processed based on the sound detected by a microphone placed at the listenerfs ear position. Frequency response is adjusted by a graphic equalizer responsive to the output of 9-band band-pass filter, level differences between speakers are compensated based on the power levels derived from pink noise weighted for manfs loudness. In order to obtain delay time differences between the channels less than 0.1 ms accuracy and minimum background noise disturbance, an exponential pulse is employed. Using these obtained parameters, real time signal processing is performed for tuning filters and delay lines so as to set up the target listening conditions using DSPs developed for the purpose. Finally, Kiichiro Koguchi demonstrated the system built into a multi-channel amplifier model VSA-AX10, by playing DVD discs with and without the equalization.
On February 21, 2002, 26 members and guests gathered at the Seijyo Club in Tokyo on the topic of gVersatile Functions and Performances of DVD-Audio Systemh. Takao Sawabe of Pioneer and a DVD Forum member, lectured and demonstrated the system. Sawabe emphasized the versatility of DVD-Audio as such that the system allows disc producers to utilize their program contents including archives, in various formats such as up to 6 audio channels, 24-bits of maximum quantization and the sampling frequency selectable from 44.1 kHz up to 192 kHz. Further features include still pictures and navigation which may be presented as slide shows and liner-notes to support the music contents. In order to realize such a technical versatility, the system uses a large file configuration, but operability for users is kept simple, in other words, users are able to manipulate DVD-Audio players easily like CD players. Further, the system allows a mixed use of DVD-Audio and DVD-Video formats on a limited basis, for example, one disc may contain a studio quality music content along with a live video show. Finally, few discs were played to prove the versatility. In the subsequent discussion, one commented that studios today were often equipped already with such as 96 kHz, 24-bit multi-channel facilities, but how to use them for producing DVD-Audio discs was still unfamiliar to the engineers. The audience concurred in that gfurther efforts of the DVD Forum for promoting the system is needed".
--J. Yoshio & Vic Goh--
gEffect of Music on the Score of Auto-Racing Gameh was the topic of Sectionfs Technical Meeting held on March 20 at Seijyo Club, Tokyo. Masashi Yamada of Osaka Univ. of Arts talked to the audience of 15 about how background music effects the game score. It is generally known that BGM is effective in super-mart sales, factory productions, milking cows and the like, but no scientific analyses in depth had been made.
Motivated by the study gInteraction between auditory and visual processing in car audio: Simulation experiment using video reproductionh by IWAYAMA, Yamada, using an auto race game as a simulation tool, investigated a correlation of background music with car maneuverability represented by lap times. In the experiments, lap times of individual sub-jects were measured of 10 different types of music including no sound, and the subjectsf were asked their impressions of the music alone and the game itself. End results were ana-lyzed in the Semantic Differential method to find the rela-tions between the music, the game and the scores. Best lap time was obtained with no music, referred to this, some mu-sic degraded the score significantly, the darker or more agi-tating music, worse the score, apparently, such types of mu-sic confused the game, that is, disturbed the driversf concentration in the race. The study proved that music does not always give good effect in personsf behavior, and sug-gested that more careful consideration is needed for applying music in sound environment designs.
-- T. Kamekawa & Vic Goh--
NAB 2002 held in Las Vegas this January was the topic of Japan Sectionfs April meeting. Satoshi Yagishita and Atsu-shi Yamazaki both of Tamura Corp., reported to the audi-ence of 20 members and guests gathered at the Seijyo Club Tokyo on April 18. NAB organized 150 seminars and 1,458 exhibitors this year, that attracted nearly 120,000 visitors. Current status of DTV in the US was briefed that out of 1,500 stations, 273 stations in 94 cities are broadcasting DTV, 80 % of households are capable of receiving at least one DTV station, nearly 2.5 million DTV sets have been sold, but only 14 percent of them are in receivable condition, CATV subscribers are having difficulties to watch DTV due to the limited data transmission rate. In the exhibit, newly opened South Hall of the Convention Center was the center of attention, where major console manufacturers showed off their new products. Yagishita, a long been console specialist at TAMURA, explained the features of notable consoles in the exhibit, commented that medium size consoles were quite popular this year.
112th AES Convention held in Munchen Germany was reported by Kazuho Ono of NHK Labs. to 20 members and guests attended.
On June 26, 53 members and guests of the Japan Section made a tour to NHK Science & Technical Research Labs. at Setagaya, Tokyo to examine their totally renewed sound research facilities. Kimio Hamasaki of the Labs. briefed the visitors about their objective of the renovation and the ongoing sound research projects. Thereafter, they visited respective laboratories and witnessed their highly advanced developments, and had discussions with the lab chiefs. Highlights of them included: an extended dynamic range silicon diaphragm condenser microphone; a tiny moving coil microphone capable of picking up a sound of insect chewing leafs for example, which was developed for the purpose of supporting microscopic scenes taken by a high resolution camera; a highly directional stereo gun mike; and a sound image control system using speaker arrays for a virtual studio. Demonstrated finally was a 23-channel sound system developed for an experimental 4000-lines HD-TV system, that impressed most the audience.
On August 22, 2002, Japan Section held the annual meeting for closing the fiscal year of 2001. In the meeting, all the section's activities through the year and the settlement of accounts were reported and approved. Further, the new officers, the activities and budget projected for the coming fiscal year of 2002 were announced.
Slim column type speaker system producing surprisingly rich bass and low distortion sound was introduced to the sectionfs technical meeting held on September 26 at Seijyo Club Tokyo. Sakuji Fukuda of Pastoral Symphony Co. who developed the system talked to 18 members and guests about his gMicropure Technologyh applied to the new speaker system. The system features a unique speaker configuration in that each of the tweeter and woofer units is not directly mounted on the front panel of the cabinet, instead, the unit is mounted first on the ring like sub-panel, then the sub-panel is fixed to the front panel using a limited number of studs providing an air gap behind the sub-panel. The air gap allows to release an undesirable pressure buildup inside the cabinet, and through the gap, a controlled degree of sound generated from the back of the diaphragm radiates to the front. Further, because of its indirect speaker mounting system, the tweeter is isolated from an undesirable vibration of the woofer frame, so that cleaner sound is produced. Fukuda commented that such slim design should be suitable for home theatre systems and thin panel display TVs, and concluded his lecture with a sound demonstration in 2 and 4 channel presentations, that quite pleased the audience.
--Y. Yoshio and Vic Goh--
Los Angeles Convention was reported to Section's October meeting held on 17th. Hirokazu Nakashima of TBS Radio & Communication talked to 16 members and guests gathered at Seijyo Club Tokyo. Nakashima presented pictures of the convention taken by him, starting from show's main gate to respective exhibits of speakers, consoles, effectors and microphones and so on with relevant remarks. Among them, newly introduced VISTA6 by STUDER and now flourishing ProTools were given in depth explanations. Further, explanations of OTARI's MO recorder and SONY's digital portable mixer with analog I/O terminals that were relevant to Nakashima's daily work, were quite informative to the audience.
--K. Ishino and Vic Goh--