Version: 2.8
Last-modified: 21 January 1998

Ambisonic Surround Sound FAQ

Section 18

Copyright: © 1994, 1995, 1996, 1998 by Martin J Leese
Distribution is unlimited

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18. Are Ambisonic decoders being manufactured commercially?


By Minim Electronics Limited. When I last spoke to them in January 1995, they were about to revamp their offerings.

Minim Electronics Limited
Lent Rise Road
Slough SL1 7NY
United Kingdom
Phone: +44-1628-663724

Cepiar Limited manufacture a reference Ambisonic decoder, the Ambi-8x. This is intended for professional use, and is priced accordingly. Using plug-in resistor boards, the decoder can be configured for 4, 5, 6, 7 or 8 speakers, and for horizontal or periphonic (full-sphere) surround sound. Cepiar also plan to release a consumer Ambisonic decoder in the second half of 1998.

Cepiar Limited
Debden House
11 St Ethelwold's Close
Cambridgeshire CB6 3AX
United Kingdom
Phone: +44-1353-666818
Fax: +44-1353-666819

In March 1993, Sound & Vision (see References) reviewed the Onkyo TX-SV909PRO A/V Receiver which incorporates an Ambisonic decoder. When in Ambisonic mode, the receiver is configured only for four speakers. The successor to the Onkyo 909PRO was the Onkyo 919THX, but this did not incorporate an Ambisonic decoder.

Onkyo USA Corporation
200 Williams Drive
NJ 07446
Phone: +1-201-825-7950
Fax: +1-201-825-8150

Onkyo Europe GMBH
Hellersbergstrasse 4
4040 Neuss
Phone: +49-2131-120075
Fax: +49-2131-103306
Telex: 8517916 ONDU D

Meridian's 565 DSP Surround Processor, which can be configured for 4, 5, 6 or 7 speakers, incorporates an Ambisonic decoder. Using delay lines and other tricks, the aspect ratio of the area enclosed by the speakers can be varied between 0.5:1 and 2:1.

Meridian Audio Limited
Stukely Meadows
Cambridgeshire PE18 6ED
United Kingdom
Phone: +44-1480-52144
Fax: +44-1480-459934
E-mail: jrs
Web: <>

Meridian America Inc
3800 Camp Creek Pkwy.
Suite 112, Bldg. 2400
GA 30331
Phone: +1-404-344-7111
Fax: +1-404-346-7111

The October 1995 issue of Audio magazine contained an annual equipment directory that included Sansui and Legacy Audio as suppliers of Ambisonic receivers and decoders, respectively. The Sansui receiver, model RZ2900, does not have an Ambisonic mode, so this was a misprint. When I last spoke to Legacy Audio in July 1996, they had decided against adding an Ambisonic mode to their Steradian product.

Legacy Audio
3023 E. Sangamon Ave
IL 62702
Phone: +1-217-544-5252 (also 1-800-283-4644)
Fax: +1-217-744-1483

Audio magazine's 1996 equipment directory did not have an indicator specifically for Ambisonics.

Version 2.2 of this FAQ suggested that Maplin Electronics plc offered an Ambisonic decoder kit. This was incorrect. In 1994, Electronics - The Maplin Magazine carried a series of articles on surround sound (see the Woodgate 1994 reference), but referred readers to Minim Electronics Limited for the supply of Ambisonic decoders.

If anybody knows of other domestic Ambisonic decoders, will they please let me know. I am particularly interested to hear about stand alone Ambisonic decoders that are not bundled together with home theatre decoders.

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