Feel the take off of the Ariane rocket: we caught our ears with Devialet

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At the invitation of Devialet and ArianeGroup, Frandroid was able to attend the takeoff of the Ariane 5 rocket from the launch base at Kourou (Guyana), without leaving Paris, but by taking full ears in the same way. A sonic feat produced by the French sound specialist and an unexpected experience.

Traveling is now proving to be much more complicated than before. Being able to travel to the other side of the planet to attend an exceptional event is more in the head than in reality. So, the best is to bring the exceptional to you.

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This is what the audio specialist Devialet and the aerospace group ArianeGroup understood. The two French giants in their sector forged an unexpected, but not necessarily meaningless, partnership during the Dubai World Expo in order to provide visitors with a strong sound experience: the takeoff of the Ariane rocket from the Space Center of Kourou.

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It was obviously not the rocket that was transported to the United Arab Emirates, but the sound of its takeoff captured as faithfully as possible by the acoustic experts at Devialet and broadcast to the curious through Phantom I speakers. need to go to Guyana or Dubai, we were able to live the experience from Paris.

Two French know-how for a world first

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When the invitation card received is issued in the name of Devialet and ArianeGroup, we usually know that something unusual is happening. A speaker manufacturer on the one hand and the developer of Ariane rocket launchers, it is expected to learn that the former has equipped a space station or at least the Ariane rocket with its products. It is not so. It is, however, the audio expertise of the former which served to highlight the technological know-how of the latter.

It is therefore in a private mansion in the Marais that we are invited to celebrate the union. From the entrance, a reproduction of Ariane 5 welcomes us, as if to announce the color: we are going to be “sent»In Guyana to attend take-off. “We want you to experience and feel the power of a takeoff, as if you were in Guyana, a few kilometers from the launch pad», We are told on the ArianeGroup side. All this seems very ambitious being thousands of kilometers away …

As if you were there

And yet, that’s what Devialet is harnessed to do. In August 2019, an engineer from the company headed for the French territory of South America to record in situ the sound of the takeoff of the 249th flight of the French rocket. A noise considered as “the most powerful man-made“, Enough to put the ears and the devices in turmoil to capture it perfectly.

Obviously, all this will not be done under the rocket, near the reactors. The idea is more to report what the observers and all those who can get there live from the authorized areas near the launch base, that is to say a few kilometers from the rocket itself. To capture the sound emitted by the rocket since its departure for space and in the sky as it is perceived on Earth.

The expert present thus used a 3D microphone capable of picking up sound in all directions on 4 channels in ambisonic format. This will then make it possible to recreate the movement of the rocket taking off from the ground, with the notion of elevation on a 3D system. Two microphones in stereo mode also picked up the sound as our ears would. Finally, an ultra-directional shotgun microphone focused solely on the rocket to follow the precise sound it emits.

All this made it possible to distinguish four times “sound»In the takeoff of the Ariane 5 rocket (launch, travel, climax, space), to which were added two other parts corresponding to the expectation of spectators in the jungle (with ambient noise) and the count before takeoff.

And the rendering is then done in a 360 ° immersive cabin, designed by the engineers of ArianeGroup and Devialet. This is where the 8 Phantom I speakers, placed at two heights at all four corners, will restore the full power of take-off.

A sound, visual … and physical experience

By the time we enter the cabin, which is plunged into darkness, nothing suggests what will happen to us. Our “take-off observation pointIs actually a cube with visual animation on all sides that doesn’t faithfully reproduce the landscapes, but a kind of animation in the form of moving sound waves. The first sounds emitted by the massive speakers are those of the jungle, the sounds of birds and trees. It’s quite disturbing to hear without seeing, however, quickly we “believe it», Especially when the count starts.

Then the rocket takes off and the sound fills the whole room with its power. Nothing that does “break the ears», But a strange feeling of strength which is also physically there. The body feels the power of the sound wave of takeoff and will crescendo before stabilizing in its feeling. The sound of the video will perhaps not give thanks to the work done by the Devialet teams in the restitution and it is obviously less than what we really felt at the time, the exit of the atmosphere also leaves a different noise that reaches our ears.

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The two partners did not overplay the takeoff. No floor shaking to have the undoubtedly really physical sensation of takeoff. Everything happens at the level of our hatches and the sound power that fills our body with a strange sensation. And to think that this is what the people present, miles away from the firing point, feel! It is clearly already impressive without having the image.

When one tries to minimize the noise that the other wants to magnify

The two players are in their own way acoustics experts. At Devialet, engineers strive to faithfully reproduce sound at all levels, to solve problems of sound pressure, sound density with a maximum of details and sensations caused, both in the ears and in the physical feeling. These are all advantages when it comes to designing the experience.

« It is true that it is a rather paradoxical situation when you think about it.», Confides Hervé Gilibert, technical and innovation director of ArianeGroup. “Our goal is to restrict the sound wave as much as possible so that it does not propagate along the rocket and damage the satellites during take-off.“. This is why the rocket is sprayed before its launch for “break the generated wave”By firing the engine and side boosters. Here, the only watering we suffered was sound to our ears and we will remember it.

The experience will be presented to visitors at the next Vivatech fair in Paris (June 15-18, 2022). But it could well be offered to the Parisian public a little earlier in a department store.

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Source From: Google News

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