Bang & Olufsen chooses Genelec for its Virtual Reality Laboratory

Danish electronics pioneer Bang & Olufsen has selected Genelec SAM monitors to equip its new laboratory, which allows researchers at B&O’s Struer headquarters to create hyper-accurate simulations of how loudspeakers will sound in any given environment.

Konstantinos Arsenios Sachos from Bang & Olufsen pictured in the company’s Virtual Reality laboratory

The loudspeaker sphere is based around a three metre diameter frame, constructed within an anechoic chamber, and utilises a network of thirty-five Genelec 8320 monitors, five 8331 three way coaxial monitors from The Ones series, plus four 7050 subwoofers to create instantly recallable sound fields ranging in format from simple stereo and 5.1 up to 22.2.

The result is a one-of-a-kind environment which allows the listener to experience the acoustic conditions specific to a particular concert hall, car interior, living room or other acoustic space.

At the heart of the research project is the understanding and analysis of reverberation – what it is, how sound reacts with reflective surfaces, and how it can benefit — or detract from — the listener’s experience.

“We wanted to bring real life into the lab,” said Dr. Neo Kaplanis, a Tonmeister and lead scientist at B&O. Along with an EU-FP7 consortium, Kaplanis examined whether it is possible to compensate for reverberation effects with the goal of aiding B&O’s R&D department. “Our acoustic memory is extremely short, and that makes it hard to remember for any length of time exactly what a particular loudspeaker sounds like,” he continued.

“And when auditioning loudspeakers in a store, you have no idea what that same model would sound like in your own living room. We knew that the same loudspeakers don’t sound the same in different rooms, we just didn’t know what was different. So the idea of this project was to investigate and record the acoustics inside various spaces so that they could be easily simulated in a controlled environment.”

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