05.21.2009 10:54 AM
Originally featured on BroadcastEngineering.com
From broadcast stereo to 5.1 surround for HD with SoundField’s UPM-1

SoundField, the UK-based maker of multicapsule mic systems for stereo and surround audio capture, has begun shipping its latest product, the UPM-1 stereo-to-5.1 converter.

Aimed at the broadcast market, the UPM-1 is a 19in rack processor designed to create 5.1 material from older stereo programs. Such “legacy” programming is a problem for companies broadcasting in 5.1 surround audio, because viewers find it distracting when the audio narrows to two channels for older material. This kind of distracting switch can occur even within one show, such as HD sports that incorporate older clips of past sporting events. The UPM-1 provides a fast, easy-to-use solution to these changes in the audio soundstage.

The UPM-1 distinguishes itself from other available stereo-to-surround processes in several ways. It doesn’t add reverb or use phase shifts to generate new material for the rear channels, adding nothing “new” to the audio stream. All material is derived from spatial information present in the original stereo signal and converted through an adaptive algorithm that changes with the input signal, separating the audio into direct and ambient components.

The SoundField UPM-1 offers operational simplicity for fast application. Stereo audio is inserted and broadcast-ready, artifact-free 5.1 audio appears at the outputs. The operator can then adjust the relative levels using the unit’s simple control knobs.

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