Instead of trying to explain what Ambisonics is, I advise you to listen to the Podcast. Also, I provide this Wiki definition:
"Ambisonics (not to be confused with ambiophonics) is a series of recording and replay techniques using multichannel mixing technology that can be used live or in the studio. By encoding and decoding sound information on a number of channels, a 2-dimensional ("planar", or horizontal-only) or 3-dimensional ("periphonic", or full-sphere) sound field can be presented. Ambisonics was invented by Michael Gerzon of the Mathematical Institute, Oxford, who – with Professor Peter Fellgett of theUniversity of Reading, David Brown, John Wright and John Hayes of the now defunct IMF Electronics, and building on the work of other researchers – developed the theoretical and practical aspects of the system in the early 1970s.
Along with Miles' information in the Podcast, I promised I would provide a few links to Ambisonic related sites. Of course, one can always just Google it and find more info than I can provide in this blog, but I try to make it easy for you. Here's two of the best for newbies to the subject:
At Ambisonia.com, users can upload and download samples of recordings in various formats, including DTS-CD, which can be played on a conventional 5.1 system.
There are many other links on both of these sites that can lead you deeper into the subject as well.
Next week on the show, we'll have Trevor Young discussing live sound tips and techniques, as well as some funny horror stories. Also coming up in a few weeks will be an interview with Russ Hughes of the Digidesign AIR users blog, and an interview with Russ Miller, one of the top studio and touring drummers today. His album credits include such greats as Cher, Ray Charles, Natalie Cole, and a blillion others.