“Soundscape Auralization” Combines the Art of Recording with Science of Sound
Matthew Azevedo – firstname.lastname@example.org
33 Moulton St.
Cambridge, MA 02138
Popular version of paper 1aAA5 presented at the 2014 167th ASA Meeting in Providence, Rhode Island.
While modern soundscape auralizations are accurate in terms of how sound travels and reflects in their simulated environment, they frequently lack the small details that convince listeners that what they are hearing is “real.” Far from the acoustic research labs where the technology of auralization has been developed, people have been creating realistic soundscapes for years in recording studios and Hollywood soundstages. Recording engineers are experts at carefully crafting the details that give sounds a sense of reality. Even when the sounds we hear are impossible, like the whoosh of a starship as it travels through the soundless vacuum of space, our minds frequently believe in them.
Listen to the auralization of John Donne’s Paul’s Cross Sermon here.
The quality and character of the source material is also a key component of an immersive soundscape. In some cases, researchers use poorly engineered recordings and rely on the simulated environment to breathe life into them. In fact, the quality of the initial recording is as important to a soundscape as it is to a hit record. The lack of suitable source recordings also leads to the use of almost-right material in many auralizations. Successful soundscapes almost always necessitate custom recorded material to instill an auralization with its own life.