SPATIAL AUDIO AND AMBISONICS

SPATIAL AUDIO AND AMBISONICS

SPATIAL AUDIO AND AMBISONICS

There are several ways of creating a sound experience that is pleasant to the listener. Normally, we have been using traditional methods to distribute sounds such as stereo and multichannel audio mixes. Nowadays, a newer technology is reaching success: Spatial Audio. Different terms can be used to refer to it: 360 audio, 3D audio, immersive sound, virtual sound, among others. The key factor in all this is being able to find a system that allows sound to come from all directions around the listener and therefore, create an immersive and interactive experience.
Facebook 360 Work station
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First, let’s define some of the key concepts to understand more about this technology

Binaural Audio

Binaural audio technology allows a listener the opportunity to experience a full 360 immersive experience through headphones. It takes into account the physical characteristics of the human head to define proper cues that allow this to happen.

B-Format Ambisonics

 

Ambisonics is a way to describe a complete sound field on a 360-degree sphere. It can be described as a method to record, mix and reproduce multidimensional audio.
The most common format for Ambisonics is known as B Format. For this, the sound field is composed of 4 axis or channels. (W,X, Y and Z). If a listener is situates in the center of the sound field, this axis reflect the following:
W: Omnidirectional Channel
X: Left and Right
Y: Up and Down
Z: Back and Forth
Ambisonics

A Format Ambisonics

Once we count with the recording signal on A format, we convert it to the standardized B Format. There are three different orders for this and the higher the order, the more defined the sound field will be for the listener.
First Order Ambisonics: 4 Channels
Second Order Ambisonics: 9 Channels
Third Order Ambisonic: 16 Channels
Ambisonic B-Format
A first order ambisonics file consists on 4 channels. The first one will transport the signal amplitude and the other 3 will be responsible for the directionality within the 360 sound field.
Stay tuned, we will keep learning more about Ambisonics and VR Audio !
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