Tony Myatt, Paul Modler, Peter Worth, Pascal Wyse
Underwater Ambisonic Recordings, 2013


Project Outline
The intriguing and revealing soundscapes that are integral to sea life provide a common arena for the work of contemporary sound artists and scientists working in bioacoustics. The sounds of fish, sea mammals and threatened environments are all vital indicators of the oceans’ health. They support an understanding of the natural world and the problems of the marine environment, and also form the subject of artistic speculation and investigations. Work from scientific and artistic perspectives cross-fertilizes within the Academy, to inform work in both domains; exploring intriguing new sound worlds and discovering new knowledge about the use, nature and role of sound in our seas.
A hydrophonic native Ambisonic B Format microphone is being developed by Prof Tony Myatt, University of Surrey, and a team of researchers from Europe. This small (1m) array of hydrophones will capture holistic surround sound environments that can be reproduced using standard Ambisonic reproduction technology. Sounds recorded using this method capture entire soundfields and a sounding objects, not reducing a sound source (which might be the size of a blue whale) to a single point of sound as traditional microphones do, but capturing the spatial distribution of sounds and resonances, entire sound objects and the movement of sound sources.

For an audio example of this work, listen to ‘Placencia Bay’, a recording made during the Academy expedition to Belize in December 2012.