A is for Audio: For the Love of Sound

Today’s soapbox call to action. Turn off the lights and turn up the sound! It’s a kind of magic – one performed without eyes. It is a seeing with ears.

Today’s soapbox call to action. Turn off the lights and turn up the sound!

I have a child’s love for Dolby. Dolby is the stereophonic soundtrack to my life, that extraordinary opening to Star Wars, the sound of that ship passing not in front, but actually through me, marking the moment I first realised the singular power of pure sound, a purity possessed of the ability to reduce the gap between subject and object, between me and there, between the function of hearing and being drenched in sound. It’s a kind of magic – one performed without eyes . It is a seeing with ears.

How wonderful then that beautiful fate should grant me the undeserved and yet marvellously welcomed opportunity to work last year with Dolby, and on as groundbreaking a project as Dolby Atmos, its new in-cinema sound system. Now, even if I could, I’m not here to tell you exactly how 64 speakers are able to successfully identify 128 sound objects (the wings of a butterfly, the report of a gun, and, yes, the sound of a helicopter’s blades), but let’s just say that it represents an enormous leap forward in the art of sound making.

My interest is less technical. Working with Dolby has taught me a most valuable lesson. Sound is primal. It precedes sight. Done well, toned off against the everyday noise of a room, it makes for an experience well known to musicians, sound technicians and anyone who has lain on his back, eyes closed, in the middle of a sundrenched field. It makes for an imagination designed by the unseen, the untouched. It takes us to new places. Branders, your ears please: A is for Audio.

A to Z. A is for Audio
“For Dolby we were astounded by the dramatic power of using solely immersive sound to captivate a walking audience.”

What:            Dolby Atmos Launch
Where:          Dolby House, Soho
When:            2013
Who:              FreeState
Link:              http://www.freestate.co.uk/#project-1-168
Film Credit: ©  Ilian Metev for FreeState

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