BACCH 3D Sound

that's Stereophile's Jon Iverson getting the full 3D effect

One the biggest and most mind-boggling moments of CES 2015 was delivered by Professor (of applied physics) Edgar Choueiri of Princeton University. I'd bumped into HDtracks David Chesky, whose binaural recordings are helping to spread the word about 3D sound and Bacch 3D, a number of times at CES, and each time he reminded me that I had to see and hear what Professor Choueiri had to offer. I was intrigued since David has never led me astray in the past and I'd been hearing raves about Bacch from everyone who'd heard it. What is BACCH 3D Sound? In brief the technology behind Bacch is a tonally transparent realtime inter-aural crosstalk cancellation filter. How's that for an oversimplification!

The listening experience in the Bacch 3D room was unusual to say the least. The system was modest by audiophile standards and consisted of the lovely KEF LS50s, a Hsu subwoofer, and a pair of Sanders Magtech amps. The first step in the process involved having small microphones inserted into my ears after which the Bacch system ($54,000), which is a product of Theoretica Applied Physics, runs some sweep tones to measure your ears in three locations, center, right and left, and then it loads that data into the program saved as a unique profile. This only takes a few minutes after which you are ready for immersion. I should also mention that there is a 3D infrared sensor that sits atop the Bacch-SP box that literally follows your head's movements and adjusts your filter in realtime so the 3D effect is not disturbed if you move.

With Professor Choueiri at the iPad controls, I was treated to 3D demo material one consisting of David Chesky in a large church. David starts out about 30' away to your left/center and he proceeds to walk closer and closer until he whispers in your ear. Let me just say this was 100% convincing and kinda creepy in its intimacy, no offense to David intended.

The real fun began when we got to the music. I was treated to a number of recordings including some of David Chesky's Binaural recordings, a Pink Floyd track using QSound technology, a live recording of Deep Purple's "Lazy", as well as a number of '50s recordings transposed from tape by Professor Choueiri. In each case, the 3D-ness of the presentation was absolutely startling. The presentation literally dissolved both the speakers and room, the later felt more like it had been blown open. Sound was not only coming at me from nearly all directions in such a way as I could very easily pinpoint each instrument and singer's physical location within the recorded space, but the natural reverb and decay into the space of the recording was simply astonishing. You.Are.There. Color me more than wowed and let me state the more-than-obvious—this is ground-breaking technology that I hope we'll see trickle down into more affordable products.

After the presentation, I ran in Joel A., a reader and someone I see at most every hi-fi show and who I've come to depend on for what's hot tips (thanks Joel). When I told him abut Bacch 3D he asked, "If someone told you you could have it for free as long as you used it all of the time, what would you say?" And I have to admit I hesitated. While my mind was truly blown by the Bacch 3D experience, I'm not certain I'd want to live with it forever. In the end, the answer to this question lies in longer term listening but I will share that the few people I know who have had this opportunity prefer their hi-fi in 3D.

For more on Bacch 3D and Professor Choueiri, visit the Princeton University website and check out this article in the Atlantic.

joelha's picture

Michael's right. I do see him at a lot of shows and love to share anything I've seen which I think he might want to know about.
But what's really important is that you'd have trouble meeting a nicer guy in the industry. There are times when he'll stop to talk to me and I know he's in a hurry to see other rooms. And the fact that he mentions me by name in his article is evidence of how decent a guy he is.
Our hobby can only benefit by having such good people associated with it.
Will I see you in Chicago, Michael? :)

Michael Lavorgna's picture
Chicago? I haven't recovered from CES ;-)