Comhear MyBeam™ Debuts at California Great America’s New “Mass Effect” Attraction

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A new, immersive 4D audio and visual theater experience at the California Great America amusement park is the first attraction worldwide to feature the Comhear MyBeam™ 360° spatial speaker array.

Tech writers have declared 2016 the year that Virtual Reality (VR) technologies go mainstream. At the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show VR headsets supporting varying degrees of 3D immersion could be found on every row in all the halls of the convention center.

The growth of 3D Virtual Reality visual effect systems has been rapid, but they consistently lack a critical ingredient which prevents consumers from reaching a deep level of virtual immersion. This critical missing ingredient is 360° spatial audio that accurately projects sound position in conjunction with the visual effects. Current technologies that produce 360° spatial sound effects are not commonly found in these 1st generation VR technologies. A new, immersive 4D audio and visual theater experience at the California Great America amusement park is the first attraction worldwide to feature the Comhear MyBeam™ 360° spatial speaker array.

“Comhear’s MyBeam™ platform is ideally suited for Great America’s 4D experience theme park attraction,” says Comhear CEO Perry Teevens. “Participants would normally need to wear headphones to experience deep immersive spatial sound effects which are an essential part of the 4D theater experience. This is a major breakthrough for public audio applications. We are proud to be associated with California’s Great America, UC San Diego and Crescendo Media Engineering on this project.”

The importance of combining 360° spatial audio integration with 3D Virtual Reality visual effects is now being demonstrated at California’s Great America latest attraction: “Mass Effect: New Earth, A 4D Holographic Journey”. The attraction’s 360° spatial 3D audio system, combined with what is being billed as the largest high-resolution 3D screen in the world, completely immerses guests of the park in the popular “Mass Effect” video game developed by Electronic Arts franchise BioWare (3DLive and Halo are also collaborators).

The experience features settings, characters, music and visuals familiar to players of the game and will take guests on an outer-space adventure, hurtling them through visually stunning landscapes to face off against larger-than-life adversaries and “save the day.” The attraction represents the first time the Comhear MyBeam™ 360° spatial speaker array is being used in a public venue.

Working under the auspices of their start-up company, Crescendo Media Engineering, Peter Otto and Jeff Sandubrae, researchers at UCSD’s CalIT2 Qualcomm Institute, created the attraction’s audio design from a library of sound effects taken from the Mass Effect game, as well as custom-generated sounds. Unlike the restrictive limitations of VR headsets and personal entertainment systems, Mixed Field Sound Design (MFSD) audio is seamlessly integrated with story, picture, motion effects and multi-sensory production on a cinematic blockbuster scale by way of the theater’s 70-channel state-of-the-art theatre speaker system integrated with an advanced 540 speaker binaural auditory imaging system.

The MyBeam™ spatial speaker arrays are located directly in front of the guests’ motion seats, with one array for every two guests. The system enables the arrays to project four beams of both far-field and near-field sound to “create sound objects that move around the room and also project some of these really intimate sounds right next to your ear,” Sandubrae says.

“This is the first environment of its kind to have this many speakers,” Sandubrae adds. We’ve found that this spatialized, personalized audio experience elevates the suspension of disbelief that 3D video renders, providing a highly realistic experience. It’s very technical on one end, and very artistic on the other. It is a new paradigm for sound design.”

“We call it ‘wow factor’ for your ears,” says Christian Dieckmann, Corporate Vice President of Strategic Growth for Cedar Fair Entertainment, which owns Great America, Knott’s Berry Farm and several other theme parks. “This is the kind of technological experience that can’t be replicated at home or even in a small entertainment venue. It’s next-generation, next-level 4D.”

The 4 ½ minute experience takes place in the park’s 80-seat, newly renovated Action Theater. Guests take their seats aboard the “Terra Nova Cruiser” and are debriefed by a live actor on their impending inter-galactic adventure. Through a fictional time-warping effect known as “mass relay,” guests then travel to Planet Terra Nova, where “not all is as it should be.” The experience is made all-the-more realistic by water and air jets, scent generators and vibrating transducers built into the MediaMotion seats, providing the “4D” effect. Sandubrae notes that the family-friendly journey, while intense, “involves no killing of people -- only aliens.”

California’s Great America is located in Santa Clara, Calif., and celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. For more information or ticket prices, visit

About Comhear, Inc.

Comhear believes in sound that moves you. Founded in 2013, Comhear is an audio technology company that brings people closer together through pristine communication, and enhances immersive entertainment with the physical sensation of sound you can practically touch. Consumer electronics speaker and headset OEMs, enterprise TEMs, kiosk systems manufacturers and integrators and Gaming/VR platforms benefit from Comhear’s revolutionary beam forming services, which add vocal clarity and customization to audio and conferencing systems.

Comhear products are powered by our patented KAP™ software, which gives you wider, more natural soundscapes while protecting long term hearing acuity. This passion for healthy audio, combined with a deep understanding of how the brain processes sound, enables Comhear to develop products and solutions that adapt to your environment and transform the listening experience.

About Cedar Fair

California's Great America is owned and operated by Cedar Fair Entertainment Company, a publicly traded partnership that is listed for trading on The New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "FUN." In addition to California’s Great America, Cedar Fair owns and operates ten other amusement parks, three water parks, one indoor water park, and five hotels. Cedar Fair also operates the Gilroy Gardens Family Theme Park in California under a management contract. Mass Effect and BioWare are trademarks of Electronic Arts Inc. or its subsidiaries.

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Michelle Hays
Comhear Inc.
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