New technology startup Fourier Audio said it plans to bring “immersive and cinematic” audio to live audiences with a set of new processing tools.

The startup has been created by Olivier Award-winning sound designer Gareth Owen, acoustical engineering postgraduate student at the University of Southampton Henry Harrod, and lighting designer and software engineer Peter Bridgman. It is being supported by startup accelerator Future Worlds.

Harrod (pictured right) said the team has a target of having the technology at every live production worldwide by 2031. He said the products differ from existing audio technology in that they will provide live sound quality that is currently only available in recording studios, and will therefore “change the entire profession, from the smallest basement gigs to West End theatres and global broadcasts.”

He said, “By reconsidering the basic fundamentals of sound console and system design that have existed since the days of The Beatles at Shea Stadium, we have reassessed how audio can be processed in a live environment. This includes a new approach to audio processing architectures and interfaces.

While live events have the most electric atmosphere, so often there simply isn’t the same immersive and mesmerising audio experience you get in a cinema or listening to your favourite studio recording. Our technology will bring studio-grade, immersive audio to live audiences for the first time.” 

Harrod suggested the startup could use the impact of the pandemic on the industry to its advantage: “Covid-19 has forced our competitors to radically reduce research and development while it’s given us time to really focus on our product development. Recent technological advances have opened a huge window of opportunity that really wasn’t explored before, and with live engineers increasingly unhappy with the currently available technology, we hope Fourier Audio’s tools will be well-received across the industry, by TV and radio studios, sports, theatre, concert venues and places of worship alike.”