Yamaha Upgrades Active Field Control Capabilities


April 22, 2021

The upcoming release of a new Active Field Control (AFC) version upgrade by Yamaha includes related acoustic enhancement (AFC Enhance) and image control (AFC Image) system.

In 1969, Yamaha launched acoustic consultations with the goal of finding the ideal relationship between performer, audience and space. This led to a deep understanding of acoustic technology, including structural and electronic acoustics.

Based on its experience, and in response to growing venue diversification and a need to accommodate a wider array of events, in 1985 Yamaha released its Active Field Control (AFC) immersive audio system. Refined with improved performance and features in succeeding decades, AFC can dramatically change the acoustic response of a space at the touch of a button.

AFC now offers advanced 96 kHz processing capability that delivers outstanding sound and space control. Today, it has been expanded to included AFC Enhance for ambience control and AFC Image for acoustic image control. With AFC Enhance and AFC Image, Yamaha now offers a system that can create any acoustic environment you can imagine, sonically transporting the audience to new and exciting places.

AFC Enhance can be used to create acoustic spaces in which acoustic images are positioned and moved around by AFC Image, using a sophisticated but intuitive GUI.

AFC Enhance controls the reverberation of a space, while making use of the natural acoustic properties of the existing structure. Unlike approaches that add artificial reverb to the source sound to create a different impression, AFC Enhance controls sound propagation within the space, so that reverberation and volume can be altered while the natural sounds of musical instruments and voices are maintained.

AFC Image allows users to control the perceived positions of acoustic images within a space. With a conventional stereo configuration, the acoustic image will vary according to the listener’s position. Immersive systems, on the other hand, allow acoustic images to be placed and moved wherever they are needed to produce the desired effect, and their position remains absolute regardless of listener location.

There are many features that make AFC Image unique, such as a speaker zoning function that assigns object sounds to only the desired speakers within the system, and binaural output that lets users experience the immersive sound in headphones. Systems can be created according to customer needs, allowing easy integration of DAWs, mixers, tracking systems, plus other third-party hardware and software.

As well as the system setup and playback at the venue, a truly memorable sonic experience includes off-site content creation and custom audio system design. It is our primary goal to connect every phase of the process with an optimized workflow that makes content delivery smooth and straightforward.

Yamaha immersive audio systems provide support that covers everything from content production to playback. The space conversion feature in AFC Image, for example, makes it possible to reproduce 5.1 channel content created using a DAW via a live sound system, easily matching playback to the venue and the audio system’s speaker layout. Working with NS-1 simulation software and a range of outboard equipment, this technology can deliver the creator’s content in a wide range of real-world environments.

A wide spectrum of knowledge and experience forms the backbone of AFC. Its’ continued development and growth hinges on the expertise, high-level input and support from Yamaha group businesses such as Steinberg and NEXO. The Yamaha group alliance enables close collaboration between experts in a variety of related fields, driving innovation and development that keep AFC and other technologies way ahead of the curve.

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