Harpex Ltd today announced Harpex-B, the first high-resolution surround processor for soundfield recordings. Available both as a plugin and a stand-alone player, these tools promise to make an already versatile surround and stereo recording technique even more interesting.
Soundfield microphones have gained a faithful following since their introduction thirty years ago and are today offered by several manufacturers. They are commonly used both as compact stereo microphones and surround microphones. They already provide more post-production possibilities than any other portable recording technique. With the introduction of Harpex-B, several new and useful possibilities become available:
- Precise rendering of the frontal stage in 5.1 surround with good channel separation.
- Emulating non-coincident microphone techniques like ORTF or AB with a single, compact microphone unit.
- Adjusting the ratio between reverberant and direct sound.
- Emulating high-resolution 3D dummy head recordings.
- Isolating sound sources through sharp spatial filtering.
“This is not just another B-format decoder,” explains Svein Berge, inventor of the harpex algorithm, “while research on high-resolution B-format processors has been going on for at least fifteen years, this is the first time that this class of processing has been shaped into a useful product.”
B-format is the standard surround format for soundfield microphones. While conversion between B-format and other formats has always been possible, the spatial resolution has been limited to that of first-order microphones. This is insufficient for the frontal stage of 5.1, 6.1 and 7.1 speaker layouts. High-resolution processors make use of advanced signal processing that mimics the kind of spatial analysis that a human listener uses to separate and localize the many sound sources in a complex sound scene. This results in a level of channel separation and spatial definition that has never been possible before.
On the Mac, Harpex-B requires OS X 10.5 or later, and an Intel Core 2 duo processor running at a minimum 1.6 GHz.
Harpex-B is now available at harpex.net. The stand-alone player is free of charge. The plugin costs £498 and is compatible with VST, AU and RTAS hosts. A 30 day free trial is available.
Discuss Harpex-B on our Applications forum.