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How is the Dolby Atmos Production Suite Binaural rendering?
Old 10th June 2020
  #1
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How is the Dolby Atmos Production Suite Binaural rendering?

Is it any good? I know it's not going to be the same as discrete speakers...but I'm doing more immersive stuff, and what I'd like to do is set my room up for 7.4.1 so i can do most of the immersive grunt work on speakers then just have to put on headphones for the home stretch to fine tune, because wearing headphones is not how I imagined my life. What say ye? I know there's an immersive/vr subforum, but I'd like to hear the opinions of people who mix on speakers.
Thanking you.
Old 10th June 2020
  #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Led View Post
Is it any good? I know it's not going to be the same as discrete speakers...but I'm doing more immersive stuff, and what I'd like to do is set my room up for 7.4.1 so i can do most of the immersive grunt work on speakers then just have to put on headphones for the home stretch to fine tune, because wearing headphones is not how I imagined my life. What say ye? I know there's an immersive/vr subforum, but I'd like to hear the opinions of people who mix on speakers.
Thanking you.
It depends a lot on how similar your ears are to the HRTF models Dolby was using for their binaural renderer, so there's actually no way to find out without trying on your own.

For me personally it doesn't work too well, same with about every binaural rendering I tried until now.

It's a pity there's no universal head tracking device available that's supported.

Until easy customized HRTFs and headtracking isn't supported 'virtual immersive
' won't work properly IMO.
Old 10th June 2020
  #3
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I think it's great. Two years ago I did an A/B test using a dummy head recording true binaural, and then a mix of almost the same content using DAPS. Atmos binaural is really good. There are quirks with distance and passing over the top center, but the effect can be startling.
Old 10th June 2020
  #4
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Kosmokrator, yeah the hrtf modelling really varies, the waves Nx lets you measure your head, maybe they'll add something like that at some point. I wonder if ear buds would work better for you as they are taking your pinna out of the equation in a way..Still doesn't make any difference with the point Nathaniel mentioned which is elevation. It's still not there in any of the immersive encoders I use, which is why I was wondering if the DAPS was any better. Thanks for the replies.

Last edited by Led; 10th June 2020 at 10:49 PM..
Old 12th June 2020
  #5
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I think it is impressive.
The early reflections do colour the sound a bit.
Old 13th June 2020
  #6
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Unless I didn´t properly understood it from Dolby´s recent webminar series on Atmos for music, the binaural output of the DAPS is not a re-render, meaning that it can be monitored binaurally through headphones while using the app in real time (or using a loaded atmos master file), but you can´t render it as a binaural wave "stereo file" for distribution, like you can with other plugins that allow binaural rendered files like Dear VR, Noise Makers etc. Regardless of the HRTF/SOFA file it uses.

Any comments on this from real users? Thanks.
Old 14th June 2020 | Show parent
  #7
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rcutz's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by paulo m View Post
Unless I didn´t properly understood it from Dolby´s recent webminar series on Atmos for music, the binaural output of the DAPS is not a re-render, meaning that it can be monitored binaurally through headphones while using the app in real time (or using a loaded atmos master file), but you can´t render it as a binaural wave "stereo file" for distribution, like you can with other plugins that allow binaural rendered files like Dear VR, Noise Makers etc. Regardless of the HRTF/SOFA file it uses.

Any comments on this from real users? Thanks.
You can re-render a 2.0 binaural file.

I did some experiences and post to my studio Instagram @106db_sounddesign if someone want to listen. Those are totally headphones mixes done in improv homestudio setup made during those quarantine days.
Old 14th June 2020 | Show parent
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rcutz View Post
You can re-render a 2.0 binaural file.

I did some experiences and post to my studio Instagram @106db_sounddesign if someone want to listen. Those are totally headphones mixes done in improv homestudio setup made during those quarantine days.
Well, that´s not what Ceri from Dolby told on the webminar as far as I understood. But like I said, I´m probably wrong. How did you produced the re-renders? Directly from the DAPS or by recording the output of the headphone mix? I assume you´re using the Mastering Suite instead of the DAPS if I properly remember your setup from a previous conversation.
Old 14th June 2020
  #9
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Just to clarify my previous post, binaural from DAPS is only produced along with metadata, either as an ADM BWF or DAMF, so it implies a device/platform that can interpret that metadata, for instance Tidal. Not a "simple" 2.0 wav file.

Check screenshot from one of Dolby´s webminars.

Maybe they have changed it meanwhile, but you may be listening to a fake binaural file, assuming is the real thing. Again, I may be wrong. Don´t take it as an offence please.
Attached Thumbnails
How is the Dolby Atmos Production Suite Binaural rendering?-dolby-atmos-music-codecs.png  
Old 14th June 2020 | Show parent
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paulo m View Post
Unless I didn´t properly understood it from Dolby´s recent webminar series on Atmos for music, the binaural output of the DAPS is not a re-render, meaning that it can be monitored binaurally through headphones while using the app in real time (or using a loaded atmos master file), but you can´t render it as a binaural wave "stereo file" for distribution, like you can with other plugins that allow binaural rendered files like Dear VR, Noise Makers etc. Regardless of the HRTF/SOFA file it uses.

Any comments on this from real users? Thanks.
You can. A couple of years ago, we started mixing these elaborate scripted podcasts for a client that wanted basically a complete soundtrack with original music, SFX etc. They loved the binaural Atmos re-render, so I hotwired the output and put it on a re-record track in PT. Delivered a regular 2.0 BWAV to the client (no metadata), and it sounded great. One of these podcasts turned into a minor hit in children’s media.

A year later I was talking to Tim Carroll from Dolby at AES and explained what we did. His eyes popped out of his head, “you’re not supposed to do that!” He’s right, but until we have a lot more uptake on the distribution platforms for encoded Atmos, people will find a way. Dolby tolerates it.
Old 14th June 2020 | Show parent
  #11
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rcutz's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by paulo m View Post
Well, that´s not what Ceri from Dolby told on the webminar as far as I understood. But like I said, I´m probably wrong. How did you produced the re-renders? Directly from the DAPS or by recording the output of the headphone mix? I assume you´re using the Mastering Suite instead of the DAPS if I properly remember your setup from a previous conversation.
Hi Paulo. Yeah, i have the Mastering suite. In this particular scenario I’m using everything in the box, doing the “netflix workflow”.
It is a direct re-render done offline. But you can create a live “re-render” also, witch means it will be outputted and can be recorded in the daw(pro tools). It also is outputted as headphone monitor. There is also a preference to save computer resources that outputs only the stereo headphone that can be selected as “normal stereo” or “binaural”.
In this in the box scenario I don’t know how to return to pro tools. In my studio where I do use an separate computer to the RMU, I did some live re-recording, but after some testing I end up with a preference to do the offline re-render.
It answers your questions?
Old 15th June 2020 | Show parent
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NReichman View Post
You can. A couple of years ago, we started mixing these elaborate scripted podcasts for a client that wanted basically a complete soundtrack with original music, SFX etc. They loved the binaural Atmos re-render, so I hotwired the output and put it on a re-record track in PT. Delivered a regular 2.0 BWAV to the client (no metadata), and it sounded great. One of these podcasts turned into a minor hit in children’s media.

A year later I was talking to Tim Carroll from Dolby at AES and explained what we did. His eyes popped out of his head, “you’re not supposed to do that!” He’s right, but until we have a lot more uptake on the distribution platforms for encoded Atmos, people will find a way. Dolby tolerates it.
So basically, it can be done without the metadata, so I wonder why they (Dolby) say it´s not a real binaural file. Puzzles me....
Old 15th June 2020 | Show parent
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rcutz View Post
Hi Paulo. Yeah, i have the Mastering suite. In this particular scenario I’m using everything in the box, doing the “netflix workflow”.
It is a direct re-render done offline. But you can create a live “re-render” also, witch means it will be outputted and can be recorded in the daw(pro tools). It also is outputted as headphone monitor. There is also a preference to save computer resources that outputs only the stereo headphone that can be selected as “normal stereo” or “binaural”.
In this in the box scenario I don’t know how to return to pro tools. In my studio where I do use an separate computer to the RMU, I did some live re-recording, but after some testing I end up with a preference to do the offline re-render.
It answers your questions?
I´m not doubting about what you´re saying, but then, why do Tidal for instance require an ADM file with metadata for binaural purposes if you could simply handle them a 2.0 wav file with the binaural info already encoded? If it´s for headphone purposes only, that would do. Recently you can now listen to Atmos music on home receivers as well, meaning that loudspeakers are involved. So one file that can handle every scenario makes sense. I just don´t get the misinformation on the Dolby side.
Old 15th June 2020 | Show parent
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paulo m View Post
So basically, it can be done without the metadata, so I wonder why they (Dolby) say it´s not a real binaural file. Puzzles me....
Hey Paolo! No misinformation from Dolby. I have a lot of respect for what they're doing. Let's be clear, a real DAMF or ADM file with metadata can be decoded into a bunch of different formats (stereo, binaural, 3.1 (Echo Studio), 5.1, 7.1.2, 9.1.6...). That's the beauty of the format- terrific flexibility from one file. When I hot-wired the binaural file it was impossible for it to decode into any other format. While it was acceptable on speakers, it wasn't ideal. Tidal wants the music to sound best on any device.
Old 15th June 2020 | Show parent
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NReichman View Post
Hey Paolo! No misinformation from Dolby. I have a lot of respect for what they're doing. Let's be clear, a real DAMF or ADM file with metadata can be decoded into a bunch of different formats (stereo, binaural, 3.1 (Echo Studio), 5.1, 7.1.2, 9.1.6...). That's the beauty of the format- terrific flexibility from one file. When I hot-wired the binaural file it was impossible for it to decode into any other format. While it was acceptable on speakers, it wasn't ideal. Tidal wants the music to sound best on any device.
Well, that´s what´s I was saying. A single DAMF or ADM file that has metadata and can be decoded in various formats, including binaural. Great, I got that. It´s fantastic.

From the webminars on Atmos for music I watched (can´t remember which video on the series), someone on the Q&A asks if a binaural file can be extracted from the renderer in a simple wav file. The answer was no. It needs to be a DAMF or ADM file with metadata. Binaural mode is just for monitoring evaluation through headphones on how a binaural mix, once decoded by the use of the associated metadata will sound.

Then NReichman post above refers to a conversation with a Dolby person some years ago, surprised that by hot wiring the binaural output of the render you could get binaural files without metadata, that sounded great. Maybe the term "misinformation that I´ve used was not adequate.

My question is: does the hot wired binaural version taken from the renderer into a simple "stereo" wav file sounds the same as the extracted binaural mix taken from the ADM or DAMF file using metadata using an apropriate device/decoder?
Old 16th June 2020 | Show parent
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paulo m View Post
My question is: does the hot wired binaural version taken from the renderer into a simple "stereo" wav file sounds the same as the extracted binaural mix taken from the ADM or DAMF file using metadata using an apropriate device/decoder?
Theoretically yes. I haven’t done extensive testing, but that’s what I’ve heard and that’s how it’s designed.
Old 16th June 2020 | Show parent
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NReichman View Post
Theoretically yes. I haven’t done extensive testing, but that’s what I’ve heard and that’s how it’s designed.
OK, great. If it works like that, I think it would be a great option in a future version of the Renderer to be able to have a 2.0 binaural file Re-render option (without the need to hot wiring) from whatever speaker layout you´re working from. For certain types of work, it´s enough, in particular considering that Atmos for music is still only available in only a few devices/platforms and binaural through headphones is the most common and simplest way of listening. The majority of consumers don´t have Atmos setups at home, in particular, for music listening.

I use Dear VR Pro and it sounds great, but I can´t feed it multichannel as a source, although I can generate multichannel from it. It´s of course a different product, but in my opinion, a lot of people with limited resources, would like to mix their music in Atmos using the binaural headphone emulation on the DAPS and output a 2.0 binaural wav file for basic distribution. That applies to other products like podcasts, audiobooks etc.
Old 16th June 2020
  #18
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You can re-render the binaural file, it’s just not meant for distribution. But the feature you’re talking about exists today.
Old 16th June 2020 | Show parent
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paulo m View Post

I use Dear VR Pro and it sounds great, but I can´t feed it multichannel as a source, although I can generate multichannel from it. It´s of course a different product, but in my opinion, a lot of people with limited resources, would like to mix their music in Atmos using the binaural headphone emulation on the DAPS and output a 2.0 binaural wav file for basic distribution. That applies to other products like podcasts, audiobooks etc.
Paulo, this was my main interest in the binaural rendering (as opposed to multi speaker atmos mixing) hence my original post. Dear VR you can always split a multi channel file into it's mono channels and put one instance of the plugin on each track then position them that way, but it's a real buzz killer workflow wise.
Old 16th June 2020 | Show parent
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Led View Post
Paulo, this was my main interest in the binaural rendering (as opposed to multi speaker atmos mixing) hence my original post. Dear VR you can always split a multi channel file into it's mono channels and put one instance of the plugin on each track then position them that way, but it's a real buzz killer workflow wise.
Hi, ya, I did that a while ago, but like you´ve said, it´s not a great workflow. In particular on the elevation plane. It kind of works with a static horizontal bed layout, but with limitations.

I prefer do do it from scratch from a mix of mono or ambisonics sources and then render either binaurally or to multichannel. Then if needed I can go further and input those outputs to the DAPS and work from there, using the great multichannel reverbs within Dear VR. I occasionally may add a bit of upmixing material as well using Nugen Halo Upmix with the 3D option.

There´s a lot of room for experimentation by integrating various tools and concepts I guess :-)

I have to say I´m also a big fan of ambisonics to multichannel, I´ve experimented with the Rode plugin and it sounds great on a 7.1.4 setup. I haven´t tried it with the new version of Dear VR that allows multichannel output though.
Old 29th October 2020 | Show parent
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NReichman View Post
You can. A couple of years ago, we started mixing these elaborate scripted podcasts for a client that wanted basically a complete soundtrack with original music, SFX etc. They loved the binaural Atmos re-render, so I hotwired the output and put it on a re-record track in PT. Delivered a regular 2.0 BWAV to the client (no metadata), and it sounded great. One of these podcasts turned into a minor hit in children’s media.
Can you explain how you routed this in more detail? I'm just starting playing around with DAPS.

Do you guys think, for mixing a binuaral podcast, the Dolby Music Panner be a better choice than the built in Pro Tools Atmos panner? Is there any difference besides the interface?

Thanks.
Old 29th October 2020 | Show parent
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tapwatr View Post
Can you explain how you routed this in more detail? I'm just starting playing around with DAPS.

Do you guys think, for mixing a binuaral podcast, the Dolby Music Panner be a better choice than the built in Pro Tools Atmos panner? Is there any difference besides the interface?

Thanks.
Hello Tapwatr:

I did this workflow back in the day with the old Send/Return methodology of work. That's an awkward way to work today. So the new workflow would be to connect DAPS the conventional way with Dolby Audio Bridge so audio flows from Pro Tools to DAPS. But instead of monitoring Physical, or 7.1.4, monitor 2.0 BIN which is binaural. And then in the re-render panel, make a BIN re-render. You can record your .atmos file while listening in binaural, and then export the binaural re-render as a stereo WAV. This is better, because you'll get a real-deal .atmos mix, too. As far as panner, start with the Pro Tools panner and learn that first.

You probably can still do it the old way, but if you get used to punching in the renderer instead of Pro Tools, the new way is better. Post here again if you get stuck. Good luck!
Old 30th October 2020 | Show parent
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NReichman View Post
A year later I was talking to Tim Carroll from Dolby at AES and explained what we did. His eyes popped out of his head, “you’re not supposed to do that!” He’s right, but until we have a lot more uptake on the distribution platforms for encoded Atmos, people will find a way. Dolby tolerates it.
FYI... Tim Carroll worked for Digidesign/ Avid and is now CEO at Focusrite.
Old 30th October 2020 | Show parent
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tapwatr View Post
Can you explain how you routed this in more detail? I'm just starting playing around with DAPS.

Do you guys think, for mixing a binuaral podcast, the Dolby Music Panner be a better choice than the built in Pro Tools Atmos panner? Is there any difference besides the interface?

Thanks.
The Dolby Music Panner basically just has a built in sequencer for timed panning effects.
For anything that doesn't need that functionality use the normal PT panner.

I wouldn't recommend mixing on headphones with the binaural renderer at all (except if release is for headphones only).
It's just such a shot in the dark for a variety of reasons.
You don't know how similar your ears are to the HRTF models Dolby used. It might work great for you and not at all for me etc.
There's no head-tracking.
Etc.

For dabbling around and checking the workflow, sure why not.
Old 30th October 2020
  #25
As far as I know, with DAPS you can easily create a stereo wav with binaural sound. But it's a static binaural mix.

Metadata is needed, when it should be possible to be headtracked or that you can move the view-angle per hand. In this case it can't be a stereo wav. It has to be an ambisonic format.

I did a static binaural mix with the facebook 360 tools in Pro Tools. Works fine. But I heard that the resolution of the dearVR, Blueripple and maybe Dolby-tools is much better. Have to try that.


Cheers
Maik
Old 30th October 2020 | Show parent
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dr.sound View Post
FYI... Tim Carroll worked for Digidesign/ Avid and is now CEO at Focusrite.
This Tim Carroll:

https://www.aes.org/events/141/presenters/?ID=5595

Not that Tim Carroll:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/tim-carr...alSubdomain=uk

And to all other Tim Carroll's out there, feel free to post your CV below!
Old 30th October 2020 | Show parent
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marsian View Post
As far as I know, with DAPS you can easily create a stereo wav with binaural sound. But it's a static binaural mix.

Metadata is needed, when it should be possible to be headtracked or that you can move the view-angle per hand. In this case it can't be a stereo wav. It has to be an ambisonic format.

I did a static binaural mix with the facebook 360 tools in Pro Tools. Works fine. But I heard that the resolution of the dearVR, Blueripple and maybe Dolby-tools is much better. Have to try that.


Cheers
Maik
I've done many VR mixes with the FB360 spatial suite and, to my ears, DAPS is sounding much better.

I don't think the majority of DAPS users are worried about head tracking. Also, FB360 is one of the most glitchy pieces of software I've ever used and at the moment isn't able to install itself properly and is causing havoc for users.
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tapwatr View Post
I've done many VR mixes with the FB360 spatial suite and, to my ears, DAPS is sounding much better.

I don't think the majority of DAPS users are worried about head tracking. Also, FB360 is one of the most glitchy pieces of software I've ever used and at the moment isn't able to install itself properly and is causing havoc for users.
I have to agree with this.
We (have to) mix quite a bit with FB360 as it's the only end-to-end 'solution' for spatial mixes these days.
It's really buggy. Getting the remote video player slaving for the Rift to play is just a gamble.

It's such a pity that Dolby didn't find a business case for Atmos for VR. The whole system was much better in principal and with some quite minor updates would have worked great (panning via the standard panner, more formats for the video player etc.)
Much more scalable, better localization etc.
Also, it would have meant that all immersive mixing could be done in the same ecosystem.

Well, maybe one can dream...
Old 4 weeks ago
  #29
Gear Maniac
 

On a side note. Plug In Alliance is having a flash Halloween sale and you can pick up Dear VR Pro for $29.99.

https://www.plugin-alliance.com/
Old 4 weeks ago
  #30
...got it. Thank you!
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