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Augmented Reality to Improve Orchestra Conductors' Headphone Monitoring

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Conductors face challenges when conducting the orchestra with headphones to synchronize with a soundtrack or a click track. We sent a survey to 12 international conductors to identify and classify those challenges. They primarily reported on balance issues, aggressive click tracks, and the difficulty of hearing the acoustic sound of the orchestra, leading 70% of them to remove one ear out of the headphones. A solution using augmented reality monitoring through binaural rendering and head tracking was tested in various situations and showed that it could successfully reproduce the acoustic sound of the orchestra into the headphones. Another perceptual experiment evaluated the potential of realism of this solution when merging two binaural auditory scenes recorded in the same acoustic space together. Results encourage us to further develop immersive monitoring systems for conductors, with the soundtrack integrated in the real acoustic space.

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AES - Audio Engineering Society