So what’s the most difficult part about the existing home theater systems? They are all wired up, difficult to install and control, unweildy (restricted area of *perfect* audio experience).
Bangalore based startup, Snap Networks has launched a wireless home theater audio system (dubbed Violet) that has a spatial microphone senses and optimizes sound in 3-D space.
The audio system offers a few unique differentiators like non-directional speakers (most of the home theatre systems use directional speakers) and uses DSP algo for for position independent speakers placements.
Violet, the home theater runs on AC power and has intelligent room and speaker calibration. The company has raised angel investment and we will soon share the details of availability as well as pricing of the products. Meanwhile, here are a quick USP that the startup shared with us.
Violet delivers the magic of sound – fidelity of sound and coherence of sound. For a great movie experience, it’s not enough to have great speakers. You need great speakers that work in perfect synchronization and harmony with each other. This is what we call coherence. Violet achieves coherence by creating a kind of virtual bubble. The speakers could be placed anywhere. They could be at various distances. They could be in corners and so be creating echoes. What Violet does is visualize a big virtual sphere that occupies the full room. It then fills this bubble with sound space – a spatial sound experience that is in perfect harmony and coherence. It visualizes a pattern of speakers, to create this sound space. And then it adjusts the signal, volume of timing of the existing speakers to simulate this pattern of speakers. So what you get if a bubble where you are placed into the movie’s action, exactly the way the director wanted you to be. That is what we call coherence. That is what we call soundspace.
Ease of Installation
For perfect sound there are many parameters that need to be fixed – The relative volumes loudness of speakers, the timing, the positioning, the polarity, and the frequency at which crossover to sub-woofer happens. With Violet, just place the speakers where you want. Sit in the centre, and press the button on the wand. Violet figures out where your speakers are. It also senses the basic topography of the room (whether a speaker is in a corner, and so on). And it takes care of optimizing the settings so that you get a perfect home-theatre experience. Everything is automatic. And it just takes a few minutes. So, you can also rearrange the speakers as and when you want.
With most home-theatre systems, you have to live with the ugliness of wires. Violet is a completely wireless system. All the five speakers and the sub-woofer are wireless. The speakers are compatible with any ordinary power socket. So it is literally as easy as screwing on a light bulb. Violet has distinct advantages over other wireless speakers as well. Other wireless home-theatre systems just transmit the sound for each speaker and don’t really bother if it reaches the speaker or when it reaches the speaker. Violet however, has a unique Phase Synchronization Algorithm. The transmitter keeps sending pulses to the speakers and keeps receiving acknowledgement. These pulses serve as a drumbeat on the basis of which all speakers can be perfectly synchronized. And if a packet is dropped, the transmitter knows it immediately and can resend the signal. So you get 100% fidelity and absolutely perfect timing. Violet tackles the problem of wireless interference by using a Power Adaption Technology. Basically, Violet knows where the speakers are placed. So it sends the sound signal using the minimum necessary power. This strength is constantly re-evaluated and optimized. This means that the possibility of interference is minimized.
All home theatre systems rigidly tell you where you must place your speakers. You are told to place a centre speaker above or below the screen. The four surround speakers have specific places where they must be placed. The distance is specified, the angle is specified and so is the height. Violet, on the other hand, works like magic. Place any number of speakers wherever you want.
Most home theatre systems use directional speakers. Which means that the sound emanated by the speakers is a narrow beam. While installing, you are asked to point the speakers so that they face a hypothetical chair that is at the centre of the rear surround speakers. Which is why there is this concept of an ideal seating position. Unfortunately, this ideal seating position only seats one. Violet solves this by using non-directional speakers. Basically, each speaker has a diffuser. So instead of sending out a narrow beam of sound, the speaker creates a sound space around itself. So you can sit anywhere in the room. And you will be enveloped by sound. In addition to the use of non-directional speakers, Violet goes two steps further. It first maps the geometry and acoustical characteristics of your room you’re your speakers and then jointly calibrating these speakers.
An interesting product worth waiting for. We will soon share the ‘live’ experience of Violet.
PS: The company is still working on it’s website and we will update the post with more details about the company.