Fraunhofer IDMT upgrades with Powersoft Ottocanali amps

The Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology (IDMT) – which focuses on applied research in the field of audiovisual media – has invested in a brand new range of Powersoft Ottocanali 4k4 DSP+D amplifier platforms for its Ilmenau headquarters.

A total of 29 Ottocanali 4k4 DSP+D amplifiers were required to meet the institute’s grand aspirations, with 16 of those units being installed in the building’s 3D Presentation Room alone.

“This room is one of our biggest experimental rooms,” said René Rodigast, business manager in the acoustics department at Fraunhofer IDMT. “The goal when we created it was to have an efficient and flexible setup. The room is equipped with 117 loudspeakers and is able to accommodate a small number of subwoofers as well. All of the speakers can switch to different setups. One of our standard configurations is a stage setup of below-stage subs and some front fill, and a system enclosing the ‘audience’. Thanks to the certified acoustics, we can simulate other systems as well, such as stage, cinema, planetarium, and even home setups.”

Rodigast continued: “The amplifiers’ Dante capabilities make the system very flexible, which is ideal when using different speaker setups in the room. It is also easy to use the Dante metrics – we often have projects with students who are not used to the system but it’s easy to explain to them how it works. Flexibility is so important as we have different hardware and software all the time. It’s good for us to have a reliable audio network where we can work quickly and easily switch channels.

“In our acoustics department we have a lot of research and sound possibilities. Our biggest room, the 3D Presentation Room, is where we conduct R&D in relation to 3D sound systems. We also have a 3D sound studio, which is used for creating the 3D sound content and for presentation of technology.”

The studio itself houses more Powersoft amplifier platforms, as well as computers, digital/analogue converters and the playback system. “We go directly from the PC to the amps via Dante and from there we go direct to the loudspeakers in the 3D room,” Rodigast said.

Aside from these rooms, there is also a full anechoic chamber at Fraunhofer IDMT’s HQ, which is one of the biggest in Germany at 10m x 9m x 8m. The room is capable of accommodating 60Hz and allows the team to conduct very precise measurements in low frequencies, which is very important for the improvement of sound reinforcement systems.

One of the principles explored in depth at Fraunhofer IDMT is Wave Field Synthesis (WFS). Through conducting numerous experiments, the institute came up with Spatial Sound Wave (SSW) technology – an object-based system for producing 3D sound. Using SSW, audio content can be produced for reproduction by any audio system and loudspeaker setup. Reprocessing and adaptation of scenes or effects is not required.

Rodigast concluded: “We can accommodate most applications on the pro audio market here at Fraunhofer IDMT. We are currently doing things in the video side of the market as well, combining 3D sound with VR and headphone applications. We also have aspirations of working outside pro audio in areas such as industry and maybe medical technology.”