Innovason debuted the flagship Eclipse GT digital console: named for the “all-gifted” figure of Greek mythology, Pandora is a new way of panning that provides audibly better results across the listening field than traditional stereo panning.
Tonmeister and renowned classical sound engineer, Carsten Kummel, explains: “The problem with traditional panning is the loss of signal on one side when you pan to the other. To resolve this, some people choose to mix in mono, but this isn’t really a viable solution, especially for complex shows where you are dealing with anything from 80 to 100 channels. So, I started playing around with delay and seeing if I could achieve better results that way.”
“I went away and did a whole series of testing and taking measurements and the results were astonishing – by using the tools available to us to reproduce the way in which the ear works naturally, we opened up a whole new world of possibilities,” continued Carsten. “I had been achieving similar results myself by using the functions that were available to me on the Eclipse, but it was just a way of working, and not an integrated feature of the desk.”
“At this point, it was time to consult Hervé de Caro, the godfather of Eclipse – when I discussed my findings with him, he said straight away that it was something he wanted to incorporate properly into the console. After some initial experimentation, being the genius that he is, Hervé and his team had developed a working prototype algorithm with the function available on a single pan pot in just two days!”
Hervé de Caro takes up the story. “This is an absolutely amazing function, even if I say so myself,” he says. “The world has been waiting for Pandora, and finally, thanks to our collaboration with Carsten, it’s here. Carsten has been slowly developing the idea over the last three years and testing it in real-world situations in the work that he does daily with major symphony orchestras across the world.”
“Without going into the technicalities, the difference it makes to the listener is amazing,” declares Hervé. “We have finally found a way to pan a signal from full left to full right to create the feeling of a stereo image for the entire audience, no matter where you are sat, WITHOUT losing any information for those sat at the extremes, and no loss of sound quality for those sat in the middle.”
“On the contrary, in fact - because we are reproducing the natural function of the ear, it actually sounds better. In practice this means that if you are sat at the extreme left of the auditorium whilst the signal has been panned to the extreme right, you can still hear it from the left, even though the sound image has moved to the right, and vice-versa.”
“With traditional panning, you would hear nothing from the left, and the sound from the right would sound very far away – in fact, you’d be losing half of the audio information. Even those in the middle would experience a loss of level and audio quality. Pandora puts an end to all that – you can now hear everything all of the time and STILL benefit from a true stereo image. How cool is that?!”