Version 2 UPM-1 Upmixer Offers Lower Latency & Improved Channel Separation

SoundField, the UK manufacturer of multi-capsule microphones and processing technology for broadcast and recording applications, has announced the availability of a version 2 software upgrade for the UPM-1 stereo-to-5.1 upmix processor. Improvements include superior 5.1 channel separation and lower-latency processing. The new v2 software upgrade is available free to existing UPM-1 owners from www.soundfield.com

The UPM-1 converts stereo audio to 5.1 surround sound and is popular amongst HD broadcasters who frequently need to transmit legacy stereo programme material in 5.1 surround. Processing latency in the original version of the upmixer was set to one video frame at the request of the broadcast industry, but the version 2 software sees the introduction of a new low-latency mode in which the time taken for upmixing is reduced to 9 milliseconds. All new UPM-1s are shipping set to this low-latency mode and with the v2 software pre-installed, although the latency can still be set either to 40ms (one frame in the USA), or 33ms (one frame in Europe) if required.

The UPM-1 was recognised for the high degree of channel separation in the 5.1 mixes it produces, but with the version 2 software, this feature is further improved, resulting in tighter 5.1 mixes with more defined localisation in each channel and less crosstalk between the stems of the 5.1 mix. In high-definition broadcast, commentary tends to be mixed to the Centre channel of a 5.1 mix and more reverberant sounds are usually mixed to the surround channels. In order to create similar-sounding mixes from stereo with no additional channel information, the UPM-1 analyses and separates the stereo information received at its input into 'dry' and 'reverberant' components, and assigns these in appropriate proportions to the respective channels in the 5.1 output. The analysis is yet more advanced in version 2, resulting in 5.1 mixes in which commentary is found almost exclusively in the Centre channel, more direct sounds in the original stereo are mixed realistically across the front three channels, and the more reverberant components are found in the rear surrounds.

Existing UPM-1 owners can download the v2 software upgrade now, for free, from www.soundfield.com/downloads/downloads.php. Release notes can also be found at that address.