CEDAR Audio launches Isolate system for recording sound in noisy environments

CEDAR Audio has introduced a new system called ‘Isolate’ which is designed to isolate individual sounds in noisy environments. 

Unlike previous technologies that require large arrays of matched microphones to try to focus on individual speakers, the British audio firm’s microphone array is smaller than a beer mat, while even smaller devices from other manufacturers can also be used. 

“The human auditory system has a remarkable ability to focus on one or more sound sources in a noisy environment, which is why it’s possible for us to have a conversation in a space such as a club or a restaurant,” explained CEDAR Audio MD Gordon Reid in a LinkedIn post. “Unfortunately, some of the information that enables the brain to perform this task is lost when audio is picked up and recorded using microphones, so recording in noisy environments is often unsuccessful.

“We began to look into this problem in 2008 and, when we heard the first results of our source separation project it was clear that we were developing something with enormous potential. We even created a sister company, AudioTelligence (based nearby on Cambridge University’s West Cambridge site) to further develop the technology and to address commercial fields outside of our traditional areas of operation while, at CEDAR, we continued to develop it for the pro-audio and security markets.

“Our next job was to marry the underlying source separation with our new ‘direction of arrival’ system, which makes it possible for users to choose which sounds they wish to isolate. This is completely different from beamforming – Isolate decomposes an unknown soundfield into distinct sources of interest without the user having prior knowledge of the locations of the speakers.

“It’s also totally different from noise reduction, where you’re trying to remove the noise from a signal that already contains it. With Isolate, you’re pointing the recorder at the wanted sources, stopping the unwanted sounds from reaching the recording in the first place. It’s possible that, in years to come, people will be amazed that recording audio in noisy environments wasn’t always done this way”.

Isolate will initially be available as a module in the CEDAR Trinity recording, monitoring and enhancement system. 

The latest version, CEDAR Trinity 5, is used worldwide by law enforcement and security forces for real-time intelligence gathering, evidential recording and transcription.

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