Edgar Choueiri and BACCH 3D Audio

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1K Club - QQ Shooting Star
Jun 10, 2016
What with all the recent talk elsewhere on QQ about Penteo vs. SPEC vs. Involve, I'm not sure if this is a "MultiChannel in the Media" post or some other kind of post. (Surround Sound Tech Talk > Stereo to Surround Upmixing, maybe?) But this morning, someone on the Facebook "Quad Traders" group--maybe he's also here on QQ, under another handle--posted a link to a 2013 piece in The New Yorker by Adam Gopnik, "Music to Your Ears," about rocket scientist and audioacoustic theorist/engineer Edgar Choueiri's "BACCH" 3-D audio. (I probably read this article when it first appeared, but I wasn't into surround sound back then, so that--and not my middle-aged memory, I swear!--must explain why I don't recall it.)

So anyway, if you Google "Edgar Choueiri 3D Sound" you come up with all kinds of interesting--and more recent--articles and videos about his lab at Princeton and his BACCH system. By all accounts it sounds amazing, and to an impressionable non-expert like me, the descriptions of the science behind it make the hype more believable than similar claims we've all heard for Sony 360 Reality Audio, the Dolby Atmos upmixer (a/k/a the post-2014 version of Dolby Surround), DTS Neural:X, etc., etc. But so far the only commercial adaptations of BACCH run into the thousands of dollars. (Quoted on an Oswald Mills Audio blog, also in 2013, Choueiri said the technology was "being licensed in the audiophile, pro and consumer audio markets," but five to seven grand isn't exactly within reach for the majority of us consumers.)

So I guess this is a question for the sound engineers and the industry insiders here: what do you know about BACCH and how it compares to other "immersive" systems? Has Dolby (or anyone else) licensed it, either openly or behind the scenes, or are they trying to bury it, or what?
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