BBC Radio 4

    Private Peaceful: Drama in surround sound

    Head of Technology, BBC Radio

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    Ed's note: This Saturday's Play on Radio 4 is Michael Morpurgo's Private Peaceful, dramatised by Simon Reade. Directed on location by Susan Roberts, there are several different audio versions of the drama in surround sound available to download. Here Audio and Music's head of technology outlines the different listening options and how to get them - PM.

    Following our successful experiment offering A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols in surround sound at Christmas, we are now giving you the chance to hear a drama in surround sound. This time it will be available to download.

    There are two versions of Private Peaceful to try, one is designed for use with normal surround sound speakers and the other gives an impression of listening on surround sound speakers using normal headphones.

    To find out more about Michael Morpurgo's play Private Peaceful, visit the programme page.

    To listen in Surround Sound on speakers

    You need to download the audio file of the play and player from the internet by following these instructions, then install the player on a Windows PC connected via a surround sound card or HDMI cable to a multimedia amp or "home cinema".

    Once you have accepted the terms and conditions you will be able to install the player.

    When you've downloaded the player or the audio file, connect the surround sound output from your computer to the amplifier input using separate leads or an HDMI lead, then just drag and drop the downloaded audio file onto the player and it should play.

    The special player will only work for the two weeks we are running this experiment, after which it will stop working and you should uninstall it. After the experiment, you will still be able to play the audio in stereo using a variety of media players.

    To listen in Binaural Sound on headphones

    You will need to experiment to find out which one works best for you; it will depend on the shape of your head and ears and the type of headphones you are using.

    Once you have downloaded the audio, you can play it on your computer or put it in a mobile mp3 player or smartphone to take with you and enjoy at any time. There is no time limit on the binaural version and it should play on most devices but if you switch to a different type of headphones you may find you need to use a different binaural version of the audio

    Strange though it may seem, different versions may also be affected by the size of room you are listening in and this is one of the properties we are seeking to examine with this experiment.

    We'd like your feedback

    We welcome comments on this blog, but if you have a question please check the FAQs first. We would also like you to complete the short survey to help us understand how the experiment worked for you; it covers both the loudspeaker and headphone experiments.

    Find out more about the feedback we had from the last surround sound experiment with Radio 3's Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols.

    Rupert Brun is head of technology, BBC Audio & Music

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