The Wadax Atlantis Super DAC is the result of a very intense project going on for the last two years. We have been involving in a project with a well known Spanish university (health related), together with other specialists from different knowledge areas. The aim is to dig deeper into the applications of psychoacoustics to cochlear implants and other hearing aid devices. Patients with hearing problems have severe limitations enjoying music in spite of the presence of advanced hearing aid devices designed primarily for recognizing speech.
We like the idea of using our know-how and acquire experiences to help improving life for those that cannot enjoy music the way we do. The idea was to advance on leading researches on cochlear implants, finding alternatives to traditional approach. That is where Wadax contributes the might of mapping technology beginning with a different starting point instead of the standard vocoder (voice coder).
For the project we had access to many costly hardware resources such as the latest generation of functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging equipment (fMRI) and EEG (electro encephalogram) equipment. fMRI (different from classic magnetic resonance machines in Hospitals) is a machine that maps what areas of our brain are activated with what intensity in real time with a time resolution of 1 second. I can talk about this for hours but let's get to the point.
There were many challenges to overcome: (1) the machine is huge and the patient cannot wear any of the most typical metal. It is because the magnetic and RF field generated by the fMRI machine is huge. This took almost 5 months for us to achieve adequate reliability and safety for the patient to begin experimenting our technology using new materials, custom circuitry, and advanced sensor protocols. It was a beautiful team work with rewarding experiences.
This fundamental research work will hopefully translate into better hearing experience of music for many hearing impaired patients. Music is something that is very remote to them as of today. The researches reward Wadax immensely with a new perspective in the physical-neural mechanism of emotion build-up from LIVE music. Now I know what should be preserved during the D/A conversion process in order to recreate musicality. There are many surprises discovered from such fundamental work that will be beneficial to the Atlantis series for many years to come.
One of the most interesting research conclusions has tremendous applications in the design of high end audio electronics design. The hypothesis is the following: Emotion build up is a “target” for a listener. Live music is the “mean” to charge up the emotion. Our conclusion is that a LIVE event triggers emotion to an intensity that no playback device can ever achieved. That is further substantiated by fMRI and later with electrodes alongside EEG equipment in LIVE music events, with blinded eyes.
And there is another very interesting conclusion inferred from our researches. Different subject perceives tonal balance differently but every subject 'locks' onto a LIVE presentation with almost immediate response to emotion build up.
So there is something UNIVERSAL across different listener types. And the mandate of Wadax is to get as close as possible to the emotional intensity of a LIVE event via the Atlantis DAC.