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Auro-3D® Audio for Arcam
and JBL Synthesis

By Matthew Corbett
Field Support Engineer

Matthew Corbett headshot

With the introduction of the JBL Synthesis SDR-35 and SDP-55 and the Arcam HDA Series receivers and processors, achieving Auro 3D spatial sound is now completely possible. True Sound in 3D, Auro 3D adds the crucial third and final dimension in the evolution of sound reproduction, created to immerse viewers into the action with cinema-like accuracy.

Auro-3D is the next generation three-dimensional audio standard. It provides a realistic sound experience unlike anything before. By fully immersing the listener in a cocoon of lifelike sound, Auro-3D creates the sensation of actually “being there.” Thanks to a unique “Height” channel configuration, acoustic reflections are generated and heard naturally since sound(s) originate from above as well as around the listener.

To achieve “true sound in 3D,” Auro-3D adds the crucial third and final dimension in the evolution of sound reproduction. While 5.1/7.1 Surround configurations fail to include height channels (Z-Axis), Auro-3D’s creates its outstanding effect with a HEIGHT-based sound hemisphere capable of thoroughly immersing the listener. Depending on the size of the room, either one or two additional layers (HEIGHT and TOP) are mounted above the existing Surround layer at ear-level to produce Auro-3D’s defining “vertical stereo field” (see image). This field is the key to creating the most natural and immersive sound experience possible. The optional (third) TOP Layer placed overhead is a supplementary effect channel that is not critical for natural audio reproduction. As people are less sensitive to sounds originating from above, the TOP Layer is primarily used for “fly-overs” and other special effects – most sound sources and their chief initial reflections are located between the Surround Layer and Auro-3D’s unique Height Layer.

There are four speaker configurations that Arcam 16-channel HDA products can replicate with ease.

Arcam SA30 software update picture 2

The above diagrams are the most commonly used configurations in a Home Cinema. Keep in mind that other configurations are possible.

To achieve extraordinary Auro-3D spatial sound, not only does the configuration matter, but the content is equally important. Not all content is created equal. Certain Blu-ray discs are specifically created to immerse viewers into the action with cinema-like accuracy. This sound can now be replicated in your own home. With the introduction of the HDA Arcam and JBL Synthesis SDP-55 and SDR-35, Auro-3D immersion is possible in your very own living room. Below you will find an outline with diagrams to help set up your Arcam or JBL Synthesis system correctly for Auro-3D.

Speaker Configuration for Auro 9.1 – 5.1+4

Arcam SA30 Software Update picture 3

Auro 11.1 – 5.1 + 5+1
The configuration below is the same as the above, except now, you add additional surround speakers both on the TOP layer as well as the Z-Axis Top layer and possible Surround Back speakers behind the listening position. This can easily be manipulated in to a 13.1 Auro Configuration which is the addition of the Surround Back speakers. To get Auro 3D sound, based on configuration alone, it is not required to have Surround Back speakers behind the listening position.

A Couple of Tips
There is specific Auro-3D Demo content that can test the validity of your configuration (see video below). You can also order the Auro 3D demo discs from 2014 and 2017 that will force Auro through all channels to make sure that you have the correct configuration.

If the front of your Arcam displays “Auro 3D,” you are good to go. There are instances where Auro 2D will display; this is a “down sampled” version of Auro 3D without the Top layer, as described above.

Remember that your content must also be in Auro 3D to display properly. The above configurations were tested with Spiderman Homecoming Blu-ray disc and Sample Auro 3D content discs.