deadmau5: The Wiltern, June 2018

The goal of L‑ISA’s multichannel technology is to help audio professionals deliver a new live experience to audiences of all sizes. This experience is named Hyperreal Sound or Immersive Hyperreal Sound depending upon how the technology is deployed.

L‑ISA solutions create a sound that is natural and intelligible for audiences and matches what they hear to what they see. It also provides the mixing engineer with the L‑ISA ecosystem, a unique multichannel environment, enabling intuitive placement and movement of input channels in 3D, directly from the channel strip.

The L‑ISA ecosystem combines our professional L‑Acoustics loudspeaker systems in a multi-array configuration with new spatial processing hardware and software-based audio tools to manage every step of an immersive audio project from the design through to the show itself.

L‑ISA Sound Design Principles

Unlike traditional stereo solutions, L‑ISA Hyperreal Sound is based on a linear topology of loudspeaker arrays that are distributed above or behind the full width of the stage. This Frontal configuration relies on overlapping coverage so that as much of the audience hears all of the frontal arrays as possible. The configuration consists of:

  • A high-resolution scene system of speaker arrays to match the width of the performing zone. The scene system allows for the accurate localization and separation of sound sources, as well as for the tracking of performers
  • An extension system [optional] that expands the soundscape as far as the side walls of the venue, thereby stretching the soundscape of the performing zone and providing envelopment
  • A central subwoofer configuration to maximize low & sublow frequency consistency over the audience
  • Additional surround and overhead speakers can be used to augment the sense of envelopment : see Immersive Hyperreal section

The L‑ISA scene speakers can be deployed in two different manners:

  • The L‑ISA Wide design: The scene sources are all identical arrays evenly spaced across the stage. This design is adapted to a majority of music content including jazz, classical, speech, adult contemporary
  • The L‑ISA Focus design (patent pending): The scene system dimensioning is optimized to reproduce high LF contour program material. This design is adapted to rock and electronic music
L-ISA Design L-ISA Design
Classic L/R Design Classic L/R Design

Frontal System

A frontal system is the configuration of choice for L‑ISA live solutions, thanks to its ease of implementation and its positive impact on sonic performance: a frontal system elevates the experience for a much larger percent of the audience and enables fusion as a primary objective.

Additional System

Fill and delay systems can be deployed and fed with automatic mixdowns to complete the coverage.

Surround and overhead speakers may also be deployed. When combined with the proprietary L-ISA room engine, these systems elevate the sense of envelopment and immersion while expanding panning capabilities to full 3D configurations.

The Benefits

Johann Sebastian Bach’s La Passione, Deichtorhallen Hamburg, Germany, April 2016

For The Audience:

What You Hear Is What You See

With a multiple-array frontal configuration on, above or behind the stage, L‑ISA provides a soundscape to match the modern desire for an augmented panorama and corrects the historic compromise of stereo systems that only deliver spatialized sound to a narrow sweet spot.

By contrast, L‑ISA deploys multiple arrays across the performing zone, allowing audiences to distinguish instruments and voices clearly and to enjoy a level of connection to the artists they’ve never felt before. The results? Better intelligibility, closer connections and a much larger spatialized zone. The L‑ISA Zone.

For The Sound Engineer:

Creativity With Confidence

Generations of engineers have faced the challenge of mixing sound for groups of musicians performing onstage through speaker arrays positioned offstage. This challenge has become greater as ever-growing video screens have expanded the visual panorama and pushed the speakers even further from the performers.

With a frontal system across the stage, the engineer has the opportunity to localize the sound from each performer, to track moving sources and to dedicate individual arrays to individual or small groups of instruments, safe in the knowledge that the entire L‑ISA Zone is covered by all of the arrays.

L‑ISA provides the most comprehensive and robust solutions for mixing in real time / real world environments, with the confidence that the speaker designs and the mixing tools in the L‑ISA ecosystem will combine to exceed the production’s expectations.

For The Production:

Superior Experiences. Superior Returns.

From extraordinary spatialization through immersive hyperrealism, L-ISA enables productions to differentiate into a premium sonic position that brings new energy to the show and creates lifelong memories. L-ISA configurations are highly compatible with panoramic video and scenographic elements while presenting unmatched sightlines. And in multi-purpose venues, the L-ISA room engine allows the listening experience to be fine-tuned for a wide variety of music styles.

Renaud Phénix Tour, European tour, October 2016 – April 2017

Multidimensional Mixing

Mixing with L‑ISA tools for an L‑ISA frontal configuration sets the engineer free from the traditional constraints of stereo or LCR. Each console channel becomes a sound object that can be freely positioned in the soundscape, while the engineer can accurately localize sources and track performers on stage.

The properties of each sound object are defined independently from the loudspeaker layout, so the entire mix can be retained across a wide variety of venues and system configurations.

The advantages for the engineer and the audience are immediate:

  • The vocals become more intelligible
  • The precision, clarity and detail for every instrument is significantly enhanced
  • Less equalization and compression is needed to achieve sound object Separation in the mix
  • Spectacular soundscapes can be created using width, depth and elevation

The L‑ISA Ecosystem offers consistent mixing from venue to venue through the simplicity and power of its object-based mixing platform.

Object-based Live Mixing

The L‑ISA Processor receives a post-fader, post-processing output for each channel and creates signal feeds for each frontal speaker group. Object properties are independent of loudspeaker layout allowing portability from show to show. In addition to offering real-time control of any input, parameters can also be stored in synchronization with audio tracks and then recalled as snapshots, triggered through time code, modified from sensor inputs, etc.

L‑ISA provides the mixing engineer with five parameters for each sound object:

Pan

controls horizontal location

Width

controls perceived size, from point source to panoramic 

Distance

controls perceived proximity (and applies the appropriate reverberation algorithm)

Elevation

controls vertical location

AUX Send

provides a classic post-distance auxiliary bus send

Spatial Processing for Live Sound

Robust, Scalable, Purpose-designed for Live Sound

L‑ISA technology is the culmination of years of research and development aimed to improve the live concert experience by breaking free of the stereo or dual mono paradigm that results in frustratingly poor localization.

The technology addresses the many challenging constraints specific to the live sound environment such as high SPL, intelligibility, and large spaces.

In the initial phase of research & development, numerous algorithms, options, and existing technologies were considered, yet none fully addressed the requirements of live audio. Ambisonics, for example, remains well-suited to broadcast or VR applications, but scales poorly to large audiences and venues. Wave field synthesis (WFS) is effective in a laboratory setting, but falls short in deployments where the spacing between speakers increases by a few meters, resulting in audible artefacts that significantly degrade sound quality, impact, and the feeling of proximity that L‑Acoustics line source technology has brought to the pro audio industry since the 1990s.

With the uniqueness of live sound in mind as a framework for development, L‑ISA Labs opted to approach the subject with fresh set of eyes…and ears.

Our goal was to achieve maximum spatial precision and sound quality while preserving the ability to scale to large audiences.

Research and development efforts including simulation, listening tests, and iterative prototyping yielded results in the form of three new proprietary algorithms combined in a way that establishes direct connections between objects and sound. More specifically, the algorithms enable full 3D object-based amplitude panning, position-dependent frequency compensation, and spatial spreading with zero-latency decorrelation processing. Objects can be positioned and moved in real-time via PAN, WIDTH or ELEVATION controls with accurate localization, spatial extension, and timbre. Additional sub-processing blocks are included in the L‑ISA Processor to address the specific needs of fill systems that are ever-present in large scale installations.

Designed from a blank slate to a state of the art, L‑ISA provides the perfect combination of multi-array sound design and dedicated processing for main or sub-systems.

Scalable Acoustic Enhancement

The L‑ISA room engine, accessible via the DISTANCE mixing parameter, allows users to naturally re-create different room acoustics within the same venue or show. Specifically designed for object-based audio and variable space configurations, the engine uses full 3D multi-channel processing to diffuse energy across many loudspeakers, eliminating audible electronic processing.

A patent-pending algorithm for automatic direct sound precedence control ensures localization across the entire audience at all scales, and for all source positions. As a result, reverberations can be deployed with ease, even in large venue surround setups.

L-ISA Classical Consert Classical Concert
L-ISA Pop show Pop Show

Multi-purpose Room Engine

Thanks to a highly innovative approach to in-line convolution processing that allows for independent control of time, frequency and spatial behavior, the L‑ISA room engine can be used to complement existing room acoustics by adding selected effects as needed. A full acoustic space can be created in a dry room. A diffuse field can be added in rooms that need a bit more tail. Early reflections can be added if desired. Decay length and shape, as well as spectral behavior, can be adjusted with precision to reach the desired room response.

The L‑ISA room engine provides a wide range of possibilities that can be stored and recalled via intuitive presets, creating different acoustic environments within the same show or venue.

The L‑ISA Ecosystem

The L‑ISA ecosystem provides the most comprehensive toolchain for every stage of a multidimensional audio project. From early qualification of a sound design to low-latency real-time operation directly from the mixing console, this unique set of tools offers designers and engineers predictability, consistency and a design process that is easy to plan, simple to replicate and makes switching from mono or stereo to L‑ISA as straightforward as possible.

L‑ISA Desk Link (Available On Digico Sd Series)

The L‑ISA Desk Link integrates L‑ISA Controls into DiGiCo’s industry-leading mixing consoles, allowing engineers to access configuration and control information directly from the mixing desk while using a familiar workflow and a single interface to manage immersive environments easily and intuitively.

L‑ISA Processor

For extreme reliability, the L‑ISA Processor focuses solely on spatial audio processing, offering panning and room simulation for up to 96 audio objects based on defined speaker positioning information and mixing parameters (pan, width, distance, elevation, aux send) and creating up to 32 outputs.

L‑ISA Controller

The L‑ISA Controller offers, on a single screen, a visualization of all sound objects in the 3D mixing space for live monitoring and user interaction in Windows® and Mac OS® environments and transmits control information to the Processor for selected parameters (pan, width, distance, elevation, aux send) for each sound object.

LA Network Manager 2

Supporting Windows and Mac OS X operating systems, the LA Network Manager 2 remote control software provides control and monitoring of up to 253 L‑Acoustics amplified controllers within the L‑Acoustics L‑NET Ethernet network.

Soundvision

Soundvision is L‑Acoustics’ proprietary acoustical and mechanical simulation program and is the first 3D program capable of operating in real time. It calculates SPL coverage, SPL mapping and delay coverage (or mapping) for complex sound system/venue configurations. It now features advanced parameters to qualify and certify multichannel sound designs.

Recent Projects

Photo courtesy of Drew Gurian

Setup
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Classic L/R Design Classic L/R Design
Mapping
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“It was like he was whispering in my ear, and it was so cool! This was the first time that I felt like I was really part of a musical experience… I can’t stop smiling!”

— Alex H., audience member

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

UK based alt-J kicked off their recording career in a big way with with 2012’s Mercury Prize-winning first album, “An Awesome Wave.” Following up with “This is All Yours in 2014, the band has toured the world and been a fixture at the globe’s prestigious festivals ever since. In 2017 they released “Relaxer,” and began a circuit of festivals and tour dates to support the album.

alt-J shows have become synonymous with innovation, highlighted by an award-winning lighting design. The band’s desire to elevate sound to the same level of innovation as the other show technology led them on a search for technology that would allow them to present a live stadium show in surround sound. Having heard about L-ISA, FOH engineer Lance Reynolds visited the L-ISA studio at L-Acoustics in Westlake, California to explore the technology. He was excited about the possibilities it offered and when he presented L-ISA to the band and their management, everyone agreed that this was the right technology to create a historic immersive surround performance, choosing New York City’s Forest Hills Stadium for the show.

SOUND DESIGN SOLUTION

To create the giant L-ISA zone, three arrays of 12 K2 each were equally spaced above the center of the stage, flanked left and right by single hangs of 16 Kara elements each. Two hangs of eight SB28 subs were flown behind the center K2 array. Outside those five arrays, to left and right, extension hangs of 16 Kara speakers were toed in toward the center. A hang of nine K2 boxes on either side provided out-fill for those seated immediately next to the stage. Three pairs of Kara and a pair of ARCS II delivered front-fill. A mounting system for the 16 Syva surround speakers was created by attaching poles behind the handrails at the upper edge of the seating bowl and fixing the speakers to them. L-ISA Controller software was used to place sound objects with the L-ISA Processor dedicated to spatial audio processing, and the entire system was powered by a combination of 15 LA12X and 31 LA8 amplified controllers.

TECHNICAL INFORMATION

Type Ampthitheater
Venue 75m deep x 90m wide
Stage 25m Wide x Height TBD
FOH 40m from D.S.C.

Constraints
Up Trim height Low steel 15m

SOUND DESIGN TARGET

Program type Rock
SPL max average >= 105 dBA
SPL distribution 9 dB
Frequency contour 12 – 14 dB (@ 100hz)
Frequency contour 12 – 14 dB (@ 40hz)

Setup
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“It’s all about separation. The L-ISA technology provides a better means of placing things within the audio image. The amazing thing is the off-axis imaging: you get the sense of the placement across the whole of the stage from most positions in the audience bowl and that, in turn, improves clarity. To be honest the benefits were even better than I had expected.”

— Lez Dwight, Britannia Row Productions

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

Part of the family of BRIT Awards events owned and organized by record labels’ association the BPI, The Classic BRIT Awards was first staged in 2000. Since then, 14 Awards shows have been staged – all at London’s Royal Albert Hall. Following a five-year hiatus, the 15th edition returned in June 2018 – reformatted and refreshed – to celebrate and honor Britain’s rich musical heritage and to provide an engaging platform for established classical artists and exciting new talent. The new show format embraces all forms of ‘classic’ music and was broadcast on ITV.

The refreshed show celebrates the growing appeal of classical music from film, television, theatrer and games. Many of the performances are exclusive, once-in-a-lifetime events and never to be forgotten collaborations and the night included sets from two of Britain’s best loved entertainers Ball & Boe, the biggest selling classical artist of all time Andrea Bocelli, Welsh bass-baritone Sir Bryn Terfel and winner of Britain’s Got Talent 2017 Tokio Myers.

Britannia Row Productions were engaged to provide sound to the ceremonies. Colin Pink, Head of Live Sound for the Classic BRIT Awards explains, “It came about because we were keen to try the L-Acoustics L-ISA system, and the Royal Albert Hall were keen to hear it.” It was decided that the technology, which enables the sound engineer to place instruments in their correct positions relative to all of the listeners, would be an asset to the ceremony.

SOUND DESIGN SOLUTION

A classic design would use a left/right configuration of 14 K2 with 2 K1-SB per side, augmented by 8 flown KS28 subwoofers. An L-ISA design for the Classic BRITs consisted of a Scene system of 5 hangs spaced above the performance zone of 15 Kara each, providing separation and localization. One flown array of four KS28 subwoofers was placed behind the center Kara hang, and a fill system of two arrays of 10 Kara was flown left/right and a fill system of 10 X8 coaxials was distributed along the stage lip. The additional hangs meant shorter arrays and over-all less equipment, as well as a more distributed weight load for the same energy of sound delivery. The changes from a left/right system proved a boon to this broadcast production, greatly reducing the problem of sightlines for cameras.

TECHNICAL INFORMATION

Type Theatre
Venue 45m deep x 55m wide
Stage 12m wide front x 25m wide rear x 1.2m high
FOH 23m from D.S.E

Constraints
Min Trim height 10m (from stage)

SOUND DESIGN TARGET

Program type Classic, speech
SPL max average >= 105 dBA
SPL distribution 6 – 9 dB
Frequency contour 6 dB (@ 100hz)
Frequency contour 6 dB (@ 40hz)

Photo courtesy of James Adams

Setup
L-ISA Design L-ISA Design
Classic L/R Design Classic L/R Design
Mapping
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“The whole concept of immersive audio is fun and exciting. We’ve had massive advancements in lighting technology over the last 10-15 years. It’s so good to see a new step forward in audio presentation. I don’t listen to a stereo anymore at home, I listen to the surround sound system and now, hopefully, I can do the same thing in my working environment. This is game changing.”

— Adam Rhodes, sound engineer for Angus and Julia Stone

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

Australian-born brother and sister duo Angus and Julia Stone impressed the indie folk world with their debut 2006 album, A Book Like This. Their 2010 follow up Down the Way sealed their presence at the top of the charts, winning five ARIA Music Awards: Album of the Year, Best Adult Alternative Album, Best Cover Art and Producer of the Year, and Single of the Year for “Big Jet Plane.” 2018 has seen the duo touring the world in support of their latest release, “Snow.”

UK and European production supplier for the Stones, Britannia Row Productions, were engaged to install L-ISA Hyperreal Sound technology at the Royal Albert Hall for the Classic Brits in June close to the date Angus and Julia Stone show. Knowing that FOH engineer Adam Rhodes has extensive experience with multiple stem mixing for films, they felt the technology would be a great fit – Adam agreed and the decision was made to use L-ISA for the RAH performance.

SOUND DESIGN SOLUTION

A classic design would use a left/right configuration of 14 K2 with two K1-SB per side, augmented by a centrally-flown hang of eight KS28 subwoofers. An L-ISA design for the Angus and Julie Stone performance consisted of a Scene system of five hangs of 15 Kara each, spaced above the performance zone, providing separation and localization. One flown array of four KS28 subwoofers was placed in front of the center Kara hang, and a fill system of two arrays of 10 Kara was flown left/right and a fill system of 10 X8 coaxials was distributed along the stage lip. The whole system was driven by a total of 27 LA12X Amplified Controllers

TECHNICAL INFORMATION

Type Theatre
Venue 45m deep x 55m wide
Stage 12m wide front x 25m wide rear x 0.95m high
FOH 23m from D.S.E

Constraints
Min Trim height 10m (from stage)

SOUND DESIGN TARGET

Program type Folk and indie pop
SPL max average >= 105 dBA
SPL distribution 6 – 9 dB
Frequency contour 6 dB (@ 100hz)
Frequency contour 8 dB (@ 40hz)