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With the advent of their DSF-1 and DSF-2 surround mic systems, U.K. microphone manufacturer SoundField is introducing the DSF-3 Digital Surround Decoder at the 123rd AES convention in New York City.

The DSF-3, paired with either a DSF-1 Music Surround Mic System or DSF-2 Broadcast Surround Mic System, completes the line of SoundField's all digital solutions for a simple, easy-to-use, world-class solution to a multi-channel future. This new SoundField digital line has the capability to handle the needs of users in the various applications that require surround sound. The new DSF-3 provides a complete all digital mic-to-multi-channel output surround microphone system with the perfect feature set to address current and future digital recording systems and storage. In addition, the DSF-3 actually improves upon the previous SoundField analog decoder performance with enhanced sound quality and greater channel separation.

All SoundField microphone systems consist of a unique-to-SoundField multiple capsule microphone and matching preamp to deliver a four-channel, phase-coherent signal known as the SoundField B-format. This signal is what sets SoundField mics apart from other surround-capable systems, as the B-format four-channel archival medium contains all the three-dimensional acoustical information necessary to decode into mono, stereo, M/S, 5.1, 6.1, 7.1 or any unnamed future multi-channel delivery formats. With a SoundField digital microphone system in the field and DSF-3 Digital Surround Decoder in post, the user is able to capture and play back extremely vivid, accurate, and phase error free multi-channel recordings with absolute realism.

A 1U, 19-inch rack, hardware processor with an all-digital signal path, the DSF-3 allows decoding of SoundField microphone or B-format signals to digital 5.1 surround or stereo audio (or both simultaneously) at any sample rate. Five-segment LED displays on the left side of the front panel act as input level meters, and each 5.1 channel's output level control has separate green "signal present" and red Clip LEDs for further peace of mind. Controls on the front panel of the DSF-3 allow a degree of freedom to alter the audio being decoded that only a SoundField system can offer.

There are separate output level controls for each of the six channels in the 5.1 signal (Left, Center, Right, Left-Surround, Right-Surround and the LFE sub-bass channel), and further rotary switches and buttons allow users to alter the virtual pickup pattern and orientation of the microphone without physically handling it. The perceived front and rear width of the 5.1 pickup pattern may be continuously altered with two more rotary controls, and a Focus control allows the user to vary the localization characteristics of the 3D SoundField. The entire 5.1 soundfield can even be rotated through 360 degrees by means of a rotary encoder with a live front-panel readout. This last control also affects a separate stereo output, for which separate front-panel controls are offered to adjust the stereo polar patterns and perceived stereo width.

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