Nine speakers are hidden behind the foam panels on the walls, designed to transport visitors into another dimension. By way of the AMBEO®-3D sound system, the booth provides for an immersive audio experience. The booth's sound system plays a live version of the song “Tiny Human” by British star Imogen Heap in 3D quality. After just a few seconds, you’re not sitting in Hong Kong anymore, but in the audience at London's Central Hall Westminster where the artist recorded the song in summer 2015. The sound is crystal clear and distributed throughout the room.
A Sennheiser mixing console can also transform stereo audio into 3D sound. The procedure is demonstrated with the next songs played in the booth, by Coldplay and Marvin Gaye. Zila Lewkowicz keeps turning her head, trying to figure out why the clear sound of the hi-hat sounds like it’s coming from behind her right shoulder. Leon Lewkowicz’s right foot is tapping. “You can feel the sound with your body,” Zila Lewkowicz says after her listening experience in the booth. “It’s insanely good, it’s like being at a concert,” her husband responds.
Carl Wong: “This type of listening will significantly influence my work as a music producer in the future.”
A few hours later, the music producer Carl Wong is sitting in one of the booth's chairs. Sennheiser invited him for a private listening session and he is among the first people in Asia to test the new HE 1 headphones. Afterwards, he doesn't want to give them back. His conclusion: “This type of listening will significantly influence my work as a music producer in the future.”
The innovative products from Sennheiser help sound artists like Carl Wong explore new boundaries. The future of audio also inspired a project by the artist duo Miro, from Hong Kong. The collective was founded by Michael Leung and Rony Chan. The two of them are decorating part of the outside of the booth during Art Basel with a work of art made up over 400 individual Sennheiser sound components.
Sound That Is As Natural As Possible
They’ve interpreted the concept “Shape the Future of Audio” in their own way. Their inspiration was the question as to what the best possible audio quality truly means. Their answer: sound that is as natural as possible. "As though you were standing right in front of an orchestra or in a concert hall," explains Rony Chan. Artist Michael Leung shows on his mobile phone what the artwork will look like when it's finished: An Asian inspired landscape with abstract mountains and flowers. They spent two days tinkering with the Sennheiser components in their studio. By the time it's finished, they will have spent 10 hours working on the final version of the artwork at the Sennheiser booth. The piece, combining technology and nature, steadily grows across the wall.
In the Future, an Increasing Number of People Will Be Able To Listen To Music in Perfect Sound Quality
The portraits made by star-photographer Tom Lemke are also works of art in their own right. Next to the booth, he photographs artists, musicians and normal Art Basel visitors. How do you see the future of music? The answers are as varied as the people in front of Lemke's lens: visions of the future where headphones convey emotion as well as music; music compositions without notes, guided only by feelings; music that is more directly connected to motion. New York artist Bradley Theodore imagines a future in which an increasing number of people can listen to music in perfect sound quality.
It is exactly this path that Sennheiser has now embarked upon.