Disruptive Tech: BACCH 3D SOUND

Professor Edgar Choueiri of Princeton University and Bacch creator explains where it's at

I first reported on BACCH 3D SOUND from CES 2015. If you want some information on the technology, check those links. I'm here to simply talk about listening.

how big?

Do you remember how Neil Young, when pitching Pono, said people would hear the difference? And like it? Of course that's not how Pono played out. I'm here to say that if/when people hear Bacch 3D, they will be BLOWN AWAY. Regardless of their interest in hi-fi and/or music (of course everyone loves music).

over there, too

The reason is simple: Bacch 3D makes music sound like it's originating from different places in space that have nothing to do with your hi-fi but have everything to do with reality. As a matter of fact, Professor Choueiri explained how the speakers, stereo speakers, could be placed next to each other so that are touching and you would still the full 3D experience. Damn applied physics!

BACCH can effectively restore the true immersive nature of stereo by minimizing the corruption of stereo cues due to crosstalk.
What this means, in reality, is that music sounds like it's coming from a real, dimensional space. For binaural recordings, this means that if the trombone player was standing 15' feet from the mics hard left, that's where she'll be when you listen to the recording through your hi-fi. If the drummer was dead center, 5 feet back, that's exactly where she'll be when you listen to the recording through your hi-fi. And so on. The space of the recording takes up residence in your place with pinpoint accuracy.

The stereo recording of your choice is unfolded in 3 dimensions before your very ears.

the BACCH-SP. photo credit: Bit Cauldron Corporation

We auditioned the Bacch-SP (Stereo Purifier) that comes with ($23,800) or without ($18,500) a DAC. Either one sits before your amplification and the price of admission includes everything you need (in-ear microphone, iPad). I also heard tale of of a Jambox jammed with a version of Bacch 3D software that made it explode (sound wise). The flagship Bacch processor comes in at $54,000.

I hope we all hear more.

More on the Bacch-SP

COMMENTS
BradleyP's picture

Must one sit still in an itty-bitty sweet spot to get the effect, or is it more foregiving? I would love to see this technology filter down into the realm of mere mortals eventually if it's that good. I see a parallel here with VR, which can be amazing and has been much ballyhooed but oddly hasn't yet caught on. Perhaps Bacch 3D will catch on, or perhaps it's stellar but not quite "audiophile" enough for the people who would spend $18,500 (or $50k) on a processor. Would YOU spend $18,500 on it? Are there plans for a review?

Michael Lavorgna's picture
...the sweet spot is defined by the user, more or less. For this demonstration, the sweet spot was defined for one person sitting and that person could move their head a few feet in either direction without disrupting the 3D effect.

As I referenced, this technology can make its way into devices like portable Bluetooth speakers. I suggest reading the info provided on the linked sites and if you're still curious, Google is your friend.

I don't have $18,500 to spend. At present, no review is scheduled.

PeterMusic's picture

Michael,

With all due respect, I don't understand how you can write "if/when people hear Bacch 3D, they will be BLOWN AWAY. Regardless of their interest in hi-fi and/or music...", and then dismiss the idea of writing a review. I've been reading you for a few years, and your inclusion of "regardless of their interest..." may make this the highest praise you've given.

Please explain your thinking. Thanks

Michael Lavorgna's picture
I said no review was planned at present.
bgardineer4's picture

The BACCH-SP actually uses a web cam and sophisticated real-time head tracking algorithms to ensure that the sweet spot follows your head. This frees up the listener, allowing them to relax and not worry about staying glued to a small sweet spot.

The calibration consists of three measurements: one at the center listening position, one at the extreme left listening position, and one at the extreme right listening position. Head tracking ensures that if your head is detected anywhere within these left and right extremes, you will still get the same 3D image. For example, if your left and right extremes span the length of your couch, you can sit anywhere on that couch, the camera will instantly find your head, and you will have 3D imaging!

I'll add that the sweet spot also extends behind the listener. The performance is of course optimal at the location where the calibration was done, but depending on the radiation pattern of the speakers you’re using, you can still experience excellent 3D imaging up to several meters behind the optimal position.

(I'm a Development Engineer with Theoretica Applied Physics, the company that makes the BACCH-SP.)

Bob Karp's picture

Many years ago I was an early adopter of the outboard Carver Sonic Hologram Generator. I can say with great conviction that when it was properly setup, AND when your head was right in the sweet spot (which was quite constrained), the sound was utterly mind-blowing. Now, was it "realistic?" Well, maybe not. But it was astounding! I didn't listen to a lot of acoustic music then - I wish I had, so that I could comment on the effect. But with Genesis, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, ... it was a roller-coaster ride of three-dimensional effects where you would swear that sounds were coming from places FAR away from the speakers, even to the sides or behind your head! Front to back layering was also incredible.

The big problem was ... you HAD to be positioned JUST SO. (And your speakers HAD to be positioned just so.) The idea of obtaining such effects (or better) with much greater, if not complete freedom of movement and system setup ... whew! Please sign me on! Well, then there's the price ...

Years ago as I upgraded my equipment, I eventually removed the hologram generator, as I felt that listening to the "pure" system in stereo was actually better than the illusory effect. But ... as I believe it is still perfectly functional, perhaps I should play with it again :-)

PeterMusic's picture

If I am the listener and the camera is tracking me, and my wife is sitting on the other side of the room, will the music she hears be the same as if I was not using BACCH-SP, will it be degraded, or will it be slightly improved?

bgardineer4's picture

If your wife isn't standing behind you, she will hear the same thing she would hear if the BACCH-SP were bypassed. The sound will be neither degraded nor improved -- listeners outside the sweet spot pay no penalty with the BACCH-SP. In our demonstrations we actually encourage people to stand outside the sweet spot and A/B with the BACCH filter engaged versus bypassed to illustrate this point. Of course, we encourage the same A/B testing in the sweet spot as well (where the difference is striking from an imaging standpoint). BACCH filters are tonally flat, and thus do not color the sound in any way. They simply purify the signal of crosstalk for the primary listener. Any other listeners in the room will simply hear regular stereo (unless of course they are standing directly behind you, as described in my comment above).

PeterMusic's picture

Thanks--just as i was hoping. This is really intriguing to me. If, as Anton suggested, it was $4K (and available in Massachusetts), I'd probably be listening and buying this afternoon. But I will keep this on my radar and try to visit the NYC dealer when I'm next in the area.

Anton's picture

This seems so amazing that I wonder if they'd sell twenty times as many at four thousand bucks.

I'd max a credit card for it, but my limitations would put it at a lower price point. I'd be willing to suffer, though!

Thanks for reporting on it!

ctsooner@alumni.ou.edu's picture

Never heard of this. Would be fun to hear if it affects the quality of the sound or not. Hope you all let us know where in the US this can be heard. Thanks....

X