Effects of room acoustic on stereo and surround sound systems
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A home theater system recreates the surround sound heard in cinemas and concerts in the listening room of any house. It is an extension of a stereo system to create a three-dimensional sound field. A Stereo system uses two channels to produce a wide soundstage along with some spatial information. Surround sound produces a sense of presence and realism unable to be produced by a stereo system. The aim of this study is to determine the effects of Room Acoustics on stereo and surround sound. It also involves the study of the characteristics of a home theater system along with their optimized placement in any room. A quantitative evaluation of the room acoustics effect is made by observing the signals from the microphones in the ears of an anthropomorphic manikin (KEMAR) as compared to qualitative evaluation by listeners. Both the stereo and surround sound characteristics are tabulated and analyzed. The measurements of frequency response and cross-correlations are done in three rooms (anechoic, reverberant and listening room) in this study. Then, the plots between the speaker and manikin are compared to evaluate the effect of different rooms on the measurements. The study shows that only in the anechoic room, the unadulterated program material gets to the listener. The cross correlation is the best measure of this condition. Correlation is also useful in speaker placement so that program material arrives at the listener 'in phase'. Transfer functions are useful in showing room modes in non ideal listening rooms.