Details revealed of Sphere’s custom immersive audio system


Sphere Entertainment has unveiled Sphere Immersive Sound, powered by Holoplot, the audio system that will provide individualised sound to every seat in Sphere, an entertainment venue opening in Las Vegas in September. Sphere Studios, which develops technologies and content, partnered with Holoplot, a 3D audio technology specialist, to create Sphere Immersive Sound.

Sphere will open its doors on 29 September with the first of U2’s 25 performances of U2:UV Achtung Baby Live At Sphere, with the Darren Aronofsky-directed Sphere Experience, Postcard from Earth, debuting on 6 October.

U2’s The Edge said: “The beauty of Sphere is not only the ground-breaking technology that will make it so unique, with the world’s most advanced audio system integrated into a structure which is designed with sound quality as a priority; it’s also the possibilities around immersive experiences in real and imaginary landscapes. In short, it’s a canvas of an unparalleled scale and image resolution, and a once-in-a-generation opportunity. We all thought about it and decided we’d be mad not to accept the invitation.”

“Sphere Immersive Sound is a cornerstone of the custom-designed technology that will make Sphere unlike any venue, anywhere in the world, providing audio with unmatched clarity and precision to every guest, no matter where they are seated,” said David Dibble, CEO, MSG Ventures, a division of Sphere Entertainment. “Creating this experience required us to go far beyond existing audio technology, and in Holoplot we found a partner at the forefront of innovation to help achieve our vision and truly transform what is possible with audio.”

“From the beginning, Holoplot has been focused on radically transforming audio technology, rethinking the underlying physics of sound reproduction as we know it,” said Roman Sick, CEO, Holoplot. “Working alongside Sphere Studios on Sphere Immersive Sound has been a truly thrilling opportunity for our team – challenging us to extend the boundaries of our technology at an unparalleled scale and create a revolutionary listening experience.”

A Holoplot X1 Matrix Array

A Holoplot X1 Matrix Array

Sphere Immersive Sound is a concert-grade audio system specifically developed for Sphere’s unique curved interior. The system consists of approximately 1,600 permanently installed and 300 mobile Holoplot X1 Matrix Array loudspeaker modules, and includes 167,000 individually amplified loudspeaker drivers. The system utilises Holoplot’s next-generation 3D Audio-Beamforming and Wave Field Synthesis technology to deliver controlled, consistent and crystal-clear concert-grade audio for audiences of up to 20,000 people, providing each audience member with a personalised listening experience. The entire sound system is completely hidden behind Sphere’s 160,000ft² interior LED display plane. Audio transmission losses are fully compensated for by Holoplot’s algorithms in the optimisation engine. The completely unobstructed visual LED surface wraps up, over and around the audience.

Holoplot’s patented 3D Audio-Beamforming technology uses software algorithms to create highly controlled soundwaves designed to ensure that levels and quality remain consistent from point of origin to destination – even over large distances. Holoplot’s beamforming technology can also simultaneously send unique audio content to specific locations in the venue, creating the possibility for different sections to hear completely different content – such as languages, music or sound effects.

Sphere Immersive Sound will additionally utilise Holoplot’s Wave Field Synthesis capabilities, a spatial audio rendering technique that leverages virtual acoustic environments. With conventional audio technology, the perceived origin of a sound has traditionally been the location of the loudspeaker. Using Wave Field Synthesis, sound designers can create a virtual point of origin, which can then be placed in a precise spatial location. This enables audio to be directed to the listener so that it sounds close, even though the source is far away – for example, an audience member could hear a whisper that sounds like someone is talking directly in their ear.

The award-winning Holoplot has received global recognition for its patented technology, and with its 3D sound capabilities, drew the attention of MSG Ventures – which is responsible for developing the technologies used to create immersive experiences for Sphere.

Sphere Immersive Sound, powered by Holoplot, was first introduced last summer at the Beacon Theatre in New York ahead of being further customised and scaled for Sphere – which leverages the full capabilities of the technology. The introduction of this system at The Beacon brought a nearly 100-year-old venue into the next generation.

In addition to Sphere Immersive Sound and the interior LED display plane, Sphere also features patented 4D technologies such as infrasound haptic seating, and various atmospheric and environmental effects, such as warm breezes, scents and changing temperatures, to create multi-sensory experiences.

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About Author


Izzy became editor of Auditoria magazine in 2018, having previously served as assistant editor on the title earlier in her career. She is also the editor of Business Jet Interiors International, Railway Interiors International and new launch Cruise Liner Interiors International. Over the course of a decade as a business-to-business magazine editor, Izzy has covered everything from airline catering to car safety technologies, autonomous vehicles and business aviation airports. Outside of work, Izzy loves watercolour painting, live music and travel.

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