D&B Audiotechnik’s Soundscape is transforming live concerts into a 360° experience

Here’s how D&B is bringing an immersive experience to live audio events, sans the audio leakage

At NAMM 2020 last week, D&B Audiotechnik announced their KSL-SUB and KSL-GSUB subwoofers which both utilize the brand’s powerful immersive Soundscape technology.

Have you ever gone to see your favorite musician perform live and ended up disappointed by the sonics at the venue? That is because, so often, the audio set up at a venue fails the musician. Whether it’s mic feedback or speaker issues, many venues are simply plagued by poor sonics. Fortunately, D&B Audiotechnik Soundscape tech changes all of that. Not only does it allow for the music to come through as it was intended, but it also provides a truly immersive experience for concert-goers and guests.

We experienced Soundscape first hand at D&B’s newly opened facility in Los Angeles. Soundscape provides an immersive live audio experience that you don’t just hear, but that you also FEEL. It brings out the emotion in the music and offers a live experience like none other.

But offering an immersive, emotional experience, isn’t the only benefit to Soundscape. Its technology also helps contain sound leakage. Ever pass by an auditorium and hear thumping? That’s a no-no for most communities. Fortunately, Soundscape addresses that.

While you shouldn’t expect this technology to show up in any consumer-facing products any time soon, D&B’s Soundscape technology is something that you should keep an eye out for at live events. Already, artists like Sting, and Kraftwerk, who are all touring with D&B’s Soundscape equipment.

We spoke with D&B’s Asher Dowson about how Soundscape is changing the experience at concerts and House of Worships.

GEEKSPIN: Tell us what you are most excited about at NAMM?
Asher Dowson: Well, we just opened our new Los Angeles facility in Signal Hill. We’re also bringing a new development to our Soundscape system.

GEEKSPIN: Tell us about the new products that you’re revealing at the show?
Asher Dowson: We’re releasing the KSL subwoofer. It’s part of our obsession with getting the sound where it should be and not firing it into neighbors or the backstage.

GEEKSPIN: So, this Soundscape technology that D&B has created, when did you start on that? Is this something that has been evolving over the years, or is this something that you just jumped into in the past few years?
Asher Dowson: Three years ago, but it has been in the brain of one of our engineers, Ralph, for probably 25 years. But Soundscape isn’t just hardware, it’s a software portfolio that runs end to end from planning to performance optimization.

GEEKSPIN: So, with Soundscape, it’s all software related?
Asher Dowson: Yeah, it’s all software related now. But we kind of push that. So, what happens to sound is, if I move closer to you, you feel more, you hear that low frequency. That excites people’s emotions because it resonates with your nervous system. So, you get excited by that frequency. Previously performers couldn’t hit that frequency without creating loads of feedback as soon as that energy hits the microphone. But what Soundscape and the SL series does, it means that it can bring that experience close to people. You can make it a lot more intimate.
And that’s the thing that excites people, right? If you feel like your 100 feet away from the show, it doesn’t move you as much. If I can feel like I’m a part of it, it’s an immersive experience – it’s kind of all around me.

If I can feel like I’m a part of it, it’s an immersive experience – it’s kind of all around me.

GEEKSPIN: So, anywhere that you’re standing in that concert hall, in the general area, it’ll sound and feel immersive?
Asher Dowson: Yeah. Everyone in the audience who is able to see the stage – wherever they’re sitting, will be able to experience the sound exactly as it tracks to the performer that is moving on stage. This has never been possible before.

GEEKSPIN: So, the performers are wearing an actual tracker?
Asher Dowson: Yeah.

GEEKSPIN: So, there’s no real learning curve for the person who’s performing or speaking? Because they just put it on and they just do what they’re going to do.
Asher Dowson: Exactly.

GEEKSPIN: What size of audiences is SoundScape best suited for it?
Asher Dowson: Well, it’s scalable, like everything we have. We’ve done applications of 10 to 20,000 people with Soundscape. But the point where I think it reaches its limit is within your localized field of view. I’d say when it gets to within like 15% of the field of view, then it’s not really making much of an impact.

GEEKSPIN: Are there genres that you’d say that it does well, does better than others?
Asher Dowson: It’s really flexible. We’ve done it with classical music, we’ve done it with EDM, we’ve been on tour with it.

GEEKSPIN: So, would you call this a 360-experience?
Asher Dowson: Yes.

Disclaimer: D&B Audiotechnik brought us out to NAMM for this interview. All thoughts and opinions are 100% our own.
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