Tongyu Zhou, April 2022
Soundvision is a 3D, real-time acoustical simulation program by L-Acoustics that allows users to build and visualize sound systems by placing different sound sources (currently proprietary software, so this is unfortunately only limited to L-Acoustics speakers) in 3D scenes. By adjusting different speaker positions and orientations, the users can see the sound pressure level (SPL) coverage and mapping in the scene. Currently, this software does not have VR support. However, analyzing this industry-standard software can still reveal important insights into what elements are important in a VR sound design tool.
Navigate to the Soundvision website and click on "Get Soundvision" button on the top right. This opens up a dialog that prompts the user to enter their basic profile information and OS before providing them with a download button.
Soundvision supports imports from SketchUp via its SU4SV plugin, which exports SketchUp models into .txt files that can be directly added to the scene. It then exports its scene data as a .xmls file and its speakers configuration data as a .xmlc file.
This is a short Hello World-esque guide that shows you how to set up a basic scene and visualize SPL mappings within Soundvision.
Create an audience: this is the object where sound will be projected onto and where the sound visualizations will effectively be rendered on. There are 2 options for creating these 3D objects: 1) creating them natively in-unit by manually entering vertex positions to create meshes or 2) importing pre-built objects from SketchUp. In the image below, I created a simple rectangular box as my audience by specifying 4 vertices.
Add speakers: the user can select from a library of in-house L-Acoustics speakers to place a sound source into the scene. After placement, the user can then modify its position, orientation, and other sound properties. In the image below, I added a KARA I to the top right-hand corner of the audience.
Visualize: after both the audience and sound sources are in the scene, the user can click the first button on the top bar to see the SPL mapping.
Minimum System Requirements
OS: Windows 10, MacOS High Sierra (10.13) To MacOS Monterey (12)
Intel HD: Iris Graphics
Nvidia: GeForce Series 8 And Above
Ati: Radeo HD 2000 Series And Above. ***
Ram: 1 GB
Processor Speed: 1.2 GHz
Available Hard-Disk Space: 100 MB
All available features are accessible for free.
Time to Setup:
Beginner: No coding or graphics experience | < 10 min
Intermediate: Some coding or graphics experience | < 10 min
Advanced: Both coding and graphics experience | < 10 min
Essentially, there is no coding experience necessarily at all, although having some background knowledge in sound design would help discern what some of the speaker settings are doing.
Soundvision supports the following features:
3D CAD modeling
Real-time SPL mapping in frequency of your choice (dBA, dBC, dB unweighted)
Optimize SPL distribution with Autosplay
Autofilters to filter out high frequencies
Automatic indicators to assess quality of designs
While 3D modelling is not overly complex, the software provides enough tools for users to design and craft different types of scenes to test their sound configurations in.
The controls for specific speaker configurations do contain jargon and is probably tailored towards an audience with more domain expertise, but a novice user can see manipulate different controls to see its effects.
Whenever you update speaker configurations, the system takes a couple of seconds to re-render the visualizations appropriately.