Theory Overview

The Integral Transference theory introduces a new context for producing and reproducing ensemble sound events with controllable macro-micro attributes. Optimized architectures for articulating ensemble sound events, along with optimized amplification algorithms for intensifying ensemble events are two compelling issues the sound industry has arguably glossed over for many years simply because a compromised approach has for so many years provided satisfactory results. Stereo and surround sound have been effective reproduction paradigms especially when you factor in cost, ease of use, and backward/forward compatibility issues. But are these popular paradigms close to being fully optimized in terms of ensemble renderings and/or volumetric intensification? The Metcalf white papers make a strong case that current paradigms like stereo and surround sound have reached a point of “innovation saturation” plotting cost against subjective sonic improvement. The Integral Transference Project submits a novel engineering template for reshaping this curve.

In the past the limitations for a given medium have often dictated the limitations for a given rendering paradigm. For example the CD medium limits reproductions to two channel stereo, DVD-A limits reproductions to six channels of discrete data or two channels of high resolution data. But what if a medium posed no limitations? How should a reproduction system be optimally formatted then? Through the years the state-of-the-art answers to these questions have been based upon immersive surround sound paradigms using advanced signal processing technologies like Ambisonics and Wave Field Synthesis to reconstruct composite sound fields. This project proposes a more optimized use for an N channel multichannel platform, a more distributed articulation process for controlling, rendering, and intensifying object oriented macro-micro sound events based on the macro-micro ontology introduced by this project (MMV).

Integral Transference

Integral Transference can be described as the transfer of integral acoustical energy from one place, space, and time to another place, space, or time, usually with the intention of duplicating a given performance. It is especially applicable for ensemble sound events where discrete sources when “mixed” together often lose their individual spatial attributes in addition to an ability to control individual tonal attributes during playback. Integral Transference uses signal analogs representative of a given sound event’s macro-micro outputs, captured and/or defined during an original recording and mastering process. These configurable macro-micro analogs can be used to rearticulate original ensemble sound events in a more precise and controllable manner.

For instance, in the acoustic instrument domain the creation of ensemble music first occurs as an array of independent sound events, each one producing a unique set of energy vectors representing both tonal and directional characteristics for a given source. The integral domain for each discrete source can be defined as the total acoustical energy output in all directions from a point in space occupied by a given source as a function of time and other variables. A source’s integral output for instance can be quantified by capturing the outgoing acoustical energy on the surface of a circumscribing sphere. Each source within an ensemble event has a discrete outgoing energy field that interacts with other discrete outgoing energy fields and with the space or volume they occupy, thus the term Macro-Micro Volume (MMV).

Integral Transference uses a distributed control architecture to harness control over an ensemble’s macro-micro attributes for the purposes of reproducing equivalent macro-micro outputs or any defined derivative or modified output. Synthesized macro-micro outputs for ensemble sound events can also be defined by artists and producers to create innovative sound experiences that can be more objectively defined and more precisely reproduced. This makes the Integral Transference technology as much about sound production as it is about sound reproduction, both processes now capable of being harmonized and optimized according to objective criteria. Once an MMV mastering process defines a macro-micro production it is up to the Integral Transference technologies to transfer and reproduce the stored MMV analogs according to the corresponding original event model and data.

Generalizations to "ideal state" cases can be implemented according to a calibrated modular design function resulting in more commercially viable designs and applications for the proposed technologies. It is a key aspect of this project however to initially consider "ideal state" conditions without regard to practicality and/or commercial viability. This approach helps to establish an objective baseline (fully optimized integral state) from which derivative systems can be more optimally derived. It also creates a reverse engineering template from which bridge technologies (linking today's applications with future applications) can be derived and harmonized with long term future designs ultimately capable of facilitating a fully optimized integral system. Generalizations of this type may be dictated by various technology limitations (e.g. medium limitations) and other governing factors related to commercial viability. The Metcalf white papers make a strong case that quantum leap improvements in sound quality can indeed be achieved even from generalized MMV-based technologies as proposed. For more information on these processes please refer to the technology white papers archived at this site.

Within the Integral Transference paradigm integral source data (whether captured or synthesized) can be used for more than simulation and analysis purposes common to many research operations that use for example nearfield acoustical holography to analyze and predict acoustic behavior, but not physically reproduce it as a series of configured outputs.

The diagnostic spheres introduced earlier can in theory be used to analyze reproduced sources in the same manner as previously described for use with original sources. This establishes a basis for juxtaposing original and reproduced sound events in a more objective manner further resulting in a basis for quantifying tonal and spatial accuracy for reproduced macro-micro sound events. The macro-micro ontology used by this project introduces a type of optimization template for defining incremental generalizations to a given MMV "ideal state" resulting in a calibrated and functional design template. From this process comes design criteria for the project's first generation commercial technologies and content formats.

Content Formats

New content formats will obviously be required to take full advantage of a fully-optimized macro-micro rendering engine. For a massive content change to be commercially viable, quantum leap improvements in a consumer's overall sound experience will be required, a proposition enabled by this project. Presently the project is developing several content formats for mass market applications. The Metcalf white papers introduce a set of engineering templates for designing and harmonizing modular hardware within a framework of existing technologies to allow for backward and forward compatibility issues. The "smart content" models under development are designed to work with old and new rendering paradigms. In terms of existing content owned by labels and artists, much of the archived source material still exists in multi-track format and can be used to remaster old works in a new more advanced content format.

Composing macro-micro sound events will likely evolve into a new art form since many more rendering options will become available to artists in terms of defining macro-micro outputs for ensemble sound events. Artists and production engineers can now expand their art and science by better defining what they intend an original event to be in terms of an ensemble’s unique blend of spatial and tonal attributes. Even purely electronic music will apply in terms of artists and producers defining how they intend a final work to be spatially articulated into a macro-micro volume. Default settings can be used to govern how certain spatial attributes fold down to match the rendering capabilities for a given playback system. Optional rendering algorithms presented to consumer's as value added material could also be governed by artists and producers via DRM applications authorizing consumers to alter spatial and tonal attributes for a given piece of content.  Metadata along with intelligent hardware systems can be used to communicate and implement these control and diagnostic functions.

The new content formats are capable of folding down to two-channel stereo and matrixed surround sound to allow for backward compatibility with existing hardware configurations. Dual-sided discs are among several options that can serve as a viable medium for integrating old and new formats. The new content will require a minimum of one piece of new hardware, a universal player with backward and forward compatibility for playing all available formats including those proposed by this project. It is likely that in five to ten years the limitations of today’s mediums will become a non-factor and fully-enabled macro-micro rendering engines will be free to take advantage of expanded content formats offered by artists and labels as a result of this project. Consumers can expand their reproduction architecture over time as various types of rendering appliances become available at affordable prices. The project implements a modular design function to optimize this hardware expansion process and harmonize it with emerging content formats.

The benefits related to a new content format go well beyond quantum leap improvements in sound quality and volumetric intensification. A new multichannel format can be more securely distributed via trusted hardware systems designed from the ground up to protect content from pirating and other content related issues. Authentication coding can be incorporated into new hardware designs to verify properly acquired content. The content may still be subject to copy but it can only playback on trusted hardware systems. Patents can be used to enforce the hardware issues more effectively than many of the software solutions offered today.

A New Curve Dynamic

The Integral Transference paradigm establishes a basis for a new curve dynamic in terms of sound engineering and the production of sound related content. The theoretical work has been derived and compiled over a long period of time. The project is introducing its innovations to the engineering community for applied work to follow. The Integral Transference R&D Project was created to manage and optimize this process, and to help exploit the intellectual property created from the project. We are considering strategic partnerships for joint research and development initiatives. Interested parties please send inquiries to the project’s contact data.

“… perhaps it is time to look at reinventing the concept of reproduced sound.”
- John Atkinson, Stereophile Magazine, Dec. 1994

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