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Imagine That! - Every Seat a Sweet Spot

Imagine That!
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Imagine That! - Every Seat a Sweet Spot

Credit: NSF/Finger Lakes Productions International

Audio Transcript:

Surround sound is great, in your home or at the movie theater -- unless you're surrounded by sound the director never intended.

Imagine that!

(SOUND: stereo left/right/left/right w/ annoying music)

At the University of Southern California, engineer Chris Kyriakakis hates to hear great sound go bad on the way from the orchestra to your ears.

Kyriakakis: "There are a lot of bad things that happen to sound in those last few inches or feet that are due to the fact that each room has different characteristics that affect sound in a way that is not what was intended when the sound was created."

The sound expert found a way to measure the acoustic properties of every seat in the house - whether that house be your car, your home, or the movie theater - and adjust the sound for any spot that you might possibly be listening from. You start by moving a special microphone from one seat to another, and digital signal processing makes calculations for each listening location.

Kyriakakis: "The music passes through these filters that undo the effects of the acoustics and let you enjoy the music or the movie the way it was intended."

(SOUND: pleasing movie music)

This technology is available today for your home system. It will soon be on hand for your car and is making its way to the movies in the near future. Ah yes, every seat a sweet spot. I'm Eric Phillips.

"Imagine That!" covers projects funded by the U.S. government's National Science Foundation. Federally sponsored research -- brought to you by you! Learn more at

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