IMM Sound – It’s Immersive (Barcelona based technology company)

IMM Sound – It’s Immersive

This is an article about 3D sound in the cinema.

Before we start let me ask you some questions.


When I went skiing last season I had to get kitted out with loads of new things. What did I buy?

I bought a new computer last week and tomorrow I’ll bring it to class to show off . Do you want to see it?

The supermarket has a fantastic array of beers, I don’t know which one to choose! What do you think?

The stock market is extremely erratic. What’s happening?

Under what circumstances do I need something patented?

What’s the best time of year to celebrate with a firecracker?

My cousin once burst his eardrum. Can you tell me how this happened?

Do you know any card tricks?

The professor at the university pointed out that a lot of practical experience is needed. What did he mean?

New army troops were deployed yesterday in Iraq. What just happened?

What TV series are you keen on at the moment?

My sister was born early and incubated for 2 weeks. Do you know anyone who was incubated?


Barcelona company plans to equip 40 movie theatres around the world with its 3D acoustic technology this year.


The board members of Spanish company Imm Sound are assembled in a Barcelona movie theater kitted out with their professional audio technology. They don’t want to talk about any fantasy, but show an already-made reality. What they’re talking about is something this special audience knows. True 3D is not created with a stereoscopic image; what produces the third dimension is sound.

A diagram of the speaker layout in a cinema kitted out with Imm Sound’s technology.


The firm shows clips of films made to show off the whole array of effects the Imm Sound system can achieve to the maximum. But what’s most enjoyable about the spectacle is when the screen is black and you can listen to the erratic path of a fly buzzing around the room.

Imm Sound is showing nothing new in this presentation. It is demonstrating the (patented) result of seven years of work. And the company has already equipped theaters in the United States, Europe, Latin America and Asia with its 3D sound. Vicente López, professor of computer sciences at Pompeu Fabra University and president of Imm Sound, says that its projections for growth in China are enormous. There, three theaters a day are being opened.

But what does Imm Sound offer that, for example, Dolby doesn’t? López first explains the concept behind it and then, with teacher-like patience, the technical differences. Sound has to be immersive and has to be delivered naturally, he says. Good sound is not a firecracker on the eardrums. Good sound creates spaces.

The technological trick of the system is that the spectator stops recognizing the speakers as the source of what they are hearing and can enjoy such effects as. These are not minor details, above all now that movie theaters are not just screening films any more. Now there are also retransmissions of rock concerts, soccer matches and opera premieres.

Dolby and DTS, the two historical names in this business, were born in the analog era. The traditional setup for a stereo sound theater is three loudspeakers around the screen, one on the left of the theater, another on the right and a subwoofer for the bass. This arrangement of channels is known in the industry as the 5:1 system. Subsequent versions have been named in the same fashion: there’s a 7:1 system, a 14:1…

“Imm Sound clients install a basic 14:1 configuration, a total of 15 channels, three of which are on the ceiling, a forgotten place for loudspeakers,” explains López. “Others install 24 channels. They are optimal configurations, but the Imm Sound equipment installed in projection rooms automatically adapts the sound to the loudspeakers that are there. The soundtrack is recorded in the Imm Sound format and thanks to the labeling of the sound, this is distributed according to the speakers the cinema has.”



López points out that if the digital era changes everything, that also means rethinking sound.

The Orphanage director Juan Antonio Bayona’s forthcoming The Impossible, a movie about the 2004 tsunami in south-east Asia starring Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts, is the first film to be shot using the company’s acoustic technology.

Although it is now focused on making equipment for movie theaters, Imm Sound’s technology could also be deployed in domestic home theater systems and videogames. The company has already kitted out 20 cinemas and has another 40 installations planned in the next three months.

López points out the business aspect of his enterprise because he is keen to show that public money invested in research and development is neither a gift, nor useless. Imm Sound was incubated by the Barcelona Media foundation, participants in which include everyone from the Catalonia regional government to private companies and which has received as many funds from the EU as from the Spanish government’s InnoCash program.

The company has a mixing room in Barcelona and is preparing to open others in Los Angeles and Beijing.

What do you think of this demo?

What sounds did you hear?

Whats the verb for a sound bouncing off another object or position?



It’s always good to see new technology companies emerging in Barcelona, what do you think?

What sort of industries should Barcelona be producing?

When watching a film, TV or YouTube, is image or sound more important?

People still like the cinema but ultimately watch films for free?



Please use the vocab below in the sentences below:

kitted out, to show off, array, erratic, to patent, a firecracker, an eardrum, trick, to point out, to deploy, to be keen, to incubate.


1. There is a __________ to opening this bottle, do you know it?

2. His behaviour is very ___________ , I don’t think he is suitable for the job.

3. Children should not be allowed to used ______________ . They should be banned.

4. My new TV sound system is _________ ________ with 6 speakers.

5. The inner ___________ is damaged, you’ll have to see a specialist.

6. I am always ________ new Catalan words and phrases for my Twitter account.

7. When chickens sit on their eggs they ____________ them for several weeks.

8. Before putting your idea online I think that you should ____________ it to be safe.

9. Last month Carla came to the office to ________ _________ her new baby ! She’s beautiful.

10. Toshiba have an impressive ___________ of cheap video cameras.

11. I should _________ ________ that the real problem it the huge unemployment in Spain.

12. The sales team needs to be ___________ in all the different areas of the city, not just the rich ones.


Post Class Questions for revision the week after.


1. another word for selection

2. A type of explosive used in traditional celebrations.

3. A deception or skill that appears like a talent or magic.

4. a phrasal verb used to demonstrate something with pride.

5. To get equipment for something

6. The part of the ear that rebounds sound.

7. A phrasal verb used to indicate the position of something or to clarify information.

8. To be enthusiastic.

9. To keep warm and nourish from the beginning.

10. Irregular behaviour.

11. To protect intellectual property rights.

12. to spread out or arrange in position.





About Author

Justin Donlon

English Teacher & Content Developer Over 15 years of experience in engaging educational content

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