Chapter 2

History of 3D Sound

Braxton Boren

Introduction

The history of 3D sound is complicated by the fact that, despite how much the concept may appear to be a late 20th-century technological buzzword, it is not at all new. Indeed, just as Jens Blauert famously reminded us that “there is no non-spatial hearing” (Blauert, 1997), so too due to the nature of our world all sound is inherently three-dimensional (Begault, 2000). For the majority of human history the listener—the hunter in the field, a singing congregant within a cavernous stone church, or the audience member at a live performance—perceived sound concomitantly with its spatial setting.

In this sense it is the late 20th-century view that is out of step with historical sound perception. ...

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