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Apple Patent Filing – Simplify Home Theater Surround Sound

Apple Patent Filing – Simplify Home Theater Surround Sound

A patent application by Apple shows that the Cupertino firm has some interest in making it easier to properly configure a surround sound setup so you can get the best possible sound out of it.


The details were revealed this week in a patent application discovered by AppleInsider entitled “Multi-Channel Sound Panner.” The filing was made with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in March of this year, and is a divisional application of a filing first made in 2007.

The proposed invention describes a software sound “panner” that can support an arbitrary number of input channels and changes to configurations. In this manner, Apple’s system could support all kinds of surround sound configurations and provide users with the best possible sound presentation.

Variables in setting up a surround sound system can be mind boggling. They include the number of speakers, the placement of said speakers, where the viewer is in relation to the speakers, the size and shape of the room, etc.

“Given the number of variables that affect the sound manipulation, and the interplay between the variables, it is difficult to visually convey information to the operator in a way that is most helpful to manipulate the sound to create the desired sound,” the filing reads.

Apple’s solution is a panner. It would allow users to adjust a source audio signal as it applies to all speakers in the surround sound setup at once.

This system would allow the user to “view how the manipulated source signal will be heard by a listener at a reference point in a sound space.”

“Also, the panner supports changes to the number and positions of speakers in the output space,” the patent application reads.

The proposed invention is credited to Aaron Eppolito, a software engineer at Apple.