Dr Craig Cieciura
Academic and research departmentsDepartment of Music and Media, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.
Homes contain a plethora of devices for audio-visual content consumption, which intelligent reproduction systems can exploit to give the best possible experience. To investigate media device ownership in the home, media service-types usage and solitary versus group audio/audio-visual media consumption, a survey of UK households with 1102 respondents was undertaken. The results suggest that there is already significant ownership of wireless and smart loudspeakers, as well as other interconnected devices containing loudspeakers such as smartphones and tablets. Questions on group media consumption suggest that the majority of listeners spend more time consuming media with others than alone, demonstrating an opportunity for systems which can adapt to varying audience requirements within the same environment.
Media Device Orchestration (MDO) makes use of interconnected devices to augment a reproduction system, and could be used to deliver more immersive audio experiences to domestic audiences. To investigate optimal rendering on an MDO-based system, stimuli were created via: 1) object-based audio (OBA) mixes undertaken in a reference listening room; and 2) up to 13 rendered versions of these employing a range of installed and ad-hoc loudspeakers with varying cost, quality and position. The programme items include audio-visual material (short film trailer and big band performance) and audio-only material (radio panel show, pop track, football match, and orchestral performance). The object-based programme items and alternate MDO configurations are made available for testing and demonstrating OBA systems.
A study was conducted in participants’ homes to ascertain how they would position one to eight compact wireless loudspeakers, with the goal of enhancing their existing system. The eleven participants described three key themes, creating an arrangement that: was spatially balanced and evenly distributed; maintained the room’s aesthetics; maintained the room’s functionality. In practice, the results showed that participants prioritised aesthetics and functionality, whilst balance was not usually achieved. It was concluded that a hierarchy of preferred positions in each space exists, as the same positions were reused whilst positioning differing numbers of loudspeakers and by different participants in each location. Consistencies were observed between the locations which can be used to estimate loudspeaker positions for a given living room layout.