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Calgary’s Next Economy: Augmented Acoustics puts users in control of the live music

Imagine going to a concert and being able to listen to the music adjusted in any way you want.

Maybe you reduce the bass and increase the volume of the percussion. Maybe you just want to hear the acoustic guitar for a song and not the other instruments.

What got Augmented Acoustics founder Stéphane Dufossé into the idea of allowing users the ability to adjust the music was from his own experience at many, many concerts.

“The fact is, I was really disappointed by the sound quality,” said Dufossé, part of one of the French companies involved in the latest tech cohort in Platform Calgary Junction program.

He said sometimes the sound engineer can manage poor acoustics and other sound inequities in a concert. Dufossé thought it would be great to put that control in a user’s hands.  

“That basic idea was to take the sound coming from the mixing desk and to provide it in high definition to the users,” he said.

 That’s their SupraLive® programming.

Mixing the music on your phone

While you’re at a concert a user is tied into the sound engineer’s board – with up to 8 different tracks. A user can control the different instruments: Adjust the volume, the equalizer, balance – you name it, to get the perfect sound from anywhere in a venue.

Dufossé said that even if a person is at a live concert, depending on where they are, they can be affected by any number of things. Too close, it can set off tinnitus. Too far and you’re not getting the richness of the music. Perhaps you just want to focus in on the singer.

It’s all done through a set of headphones worn during the event.

“Concert goers will go to the concert at the concert hall at the festival and they will be able to listen to that live but with perfect sound,” he said.

While originally made for music, Augmented Acoustics is also exploring the sports world. They’re able to mic up certain parts of a playing area and feed those sounds through to the user.  It might be the sound of players on the pitch, or it could be the sidelines, the bench or a mic’d up player.

Dufossé said they’re also working on a streaming option and being able to pair it up with video of a performance.

North American market

Like the other French companies participating on the tech exchange, Augmented Acoustics wanted to know more about breaking into North America, Dufossé said.  They have a product that’s been operating in Europe for some time. Now it’s time to grow.

They were a part of a program in France geared towards the music industry. Many wanted to know more about making the jump across the Atlantic to North America.

“We want to go to North America,” Dufossé said.

“I also want to be worldwide. It was a question of opportunity.”

He said the music industry is different here. They needed to break in, create a network and build a business here.

While they’ve delved into music and tinkered with sports, Dufossé sees a huge opportunity with film, too. He said there can often be distractions in theatres (phones, loud popcorn eaters, talkers) and having touch access to sound could be a winner.

“It means you go inside if you want to access to another way to listen to the concept,” he said.