thread: Newbie - QQ
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Old 25th May 2019
Gear Addict

Originally Posted by camacozie View Post
I am most likely following a rabbit hole that doesn't need to be explored. I just want to satisfy my curiosity of working out of the box.
I think your instincts are right on this - probably not worth pursuing some sort of hardware solution with ambisonics at this point. Perhaps in the future, but I think it would be very complex, expensive, and not worth the effort.

There are a few ways to think about this, but it's not nearly as simple as running a 2 mix through a summing box, etc., and then re-printing through AD. The workflow would be similar, but you'd need 16 very high quality DA to get the o3a master out of your DAW, then 16 channels of analog processing that happen in one pass, *equally affecting each of the 16 channels* at the same time, then 16 channels of high quality AD to capture the master again. If just one of those 16 channels isn't processed in exactly the same manner, your soundfield will become compromised and you will experience strange results when it's decoded to speakers or binaural headphones. Even a .3 dB difference in gain will break spatialization to a certain extent. This is why people use digitally linked pre-amps when using an ambisonic mic, and special compressors, eqs, etc., when working with ambisonics in a DAW. I suppose there are ways that you could attempt to calibrate all of your analog gear so it processes equally across the 16 channels, but that sounds like a lot of work with very little return.

In practice, I think it would be much better to process individual sounds through whatever analog gear you like, get each sound or group of sounds the way you want them, then pan those into ambisonics in a DAW, staying in digital at that point all the way through your 16 channel master. What type of work are you trying to do? Are you sound designing nature or atmospheres in 360, or music? People are doing a bit of everything, but with music, I'd treat individual elements with analog processing first, then whatever digital plug-ins you like while the element is still in mono or stereo, then pan those into ambisonics. That way you can use whatever gear you'd like, analog and digital, just before it hits ambisonics.