A common Schoeps semi-surround setup. Courtesy of Schoeps GmbH

A common Schoeps semi-surround setup. Courtesy of Schoeps GmbH

For the home user, an immersive theater experience is one that many chase after. Be it a dedicated room, or merely attempting to create the experience in an existing space, it has become part of the American dream.

Part of that dream often includes the sound. While I'll be chatting about sound capture in the field a few posts down the road, the allure of surround sound (or the effect of) causes many a cine/audio/technophile's eyes to glimmer.

While this blog is not about hooking up your home stereo system (though the name is a bit of a misnomer, as many off the shelf systems now support a 5.1 or 7.1 output) the process of capturing surround sound has always been somewhat prohibitive due to cost or complication, or disappointing due to quality.

In short, for every speaker of a surround systems (six or eight depending on your devotion and wallet) requires a microphone, save for possibly the subwoofer. This is often executed with a rig of multiple microphones in the professional realm, or audio signal manipulation for consumer products. These are typically very closed-ended systems, in that they use proprietary parts and processing.

An iOS device based surround capture from Rode release last April 1st. Courtesy Rode microphones.

An iOS device based surround capture from Rode release last April 1st. Courtesy Rode microphones.

Enter, the Sennheiser Esfera. Below is link from the great folks at NewsShooter.com but in short, it takes a two-channel stereo microphone and processing unit that converts the signal to a full 5.1 breakout. But more impressively, one could swap in a microphone of their choice. While it will be priced more towards the professional range (aka, if you have to call your bank first, you can't afford it) it does show some hope in innovation to come.

This post was written in cooperation of the Multiplatform Journalism Class at RIT.