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Immersive Music & Trough of Disillusionment
Old 27th May 2018
  #1
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Immersive Music & Trough of Disillusionment

I've been testing immersive music systems from google/apple/amazon. They are all really great. I personally love the apple homepod, it's speaker array and microphone array is impressive. I've also been getting reactions from others, seeing super positive direct comments.

At the same time, I think the entire immersive sound hype cycle is clearly in the "Trough of Disillusionment".



As an easy data point, I've been looking at different immersive sounds forums, they are all in a trough of post volume.

The immersive sound cell phones will also be hitting soon, right now there's around 3 million house holds with these new immersive interactive sound things, but when a person can lay down a cell phone on thier kitchen counter and get immersive sound ... that's my bet on a crazy uptick.

A lot of the traditional audio people just don't seem part of the discussion. Looks to me that the big streaming companies (google/amazon/apple) have some major audio brains working for them, and are just outputting these products with thier current libraries. I'm not so sure what "normal" gearslutz people can contribute, but one thing I've noticed is that "headphone" mixes don't sound too good after they've been broken up into the speaker arrays. It feels to me, that good music arrangement is the most important thing to make sure the stereo sound files are converted correctly. My gut feel, is if all the frequencies are on top of each other, these new fanangled interactive speaker/mic arrays don't have much to work with.

I'm starting to be real careful on upmixing, and putting more effort into looking at arrangements. In some weird way, it's back to the 1930-1950's. I guess solid musical arrangement never goes away and my prediction is people that focus on solid arrangements will end up doing well.
Old 30th May 2018
  #2
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Temple of Light's Avatar
 

That's an interesting graph, what is this type of analysis referred to as?
Curious what your day job is as well...

YYMV

Light

Temple
Old 15th June 2018
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Temple of Light View Post
That's an interesting graph, what is this type of analysis referred to as?
Curious what your day job is as well...

YYMV

Light

Temple
This is more or less standard analytics, I am on the finance and distribution side of things - most all merchants involved in audio use my math somewhere along the purchase. (if you just google my name in patents with sound, you can read a bunch of stuff I'm involved with : Google Patents )

In general, the trend that effects distribution for audio has been about Moores law and the reduction of computer size. A good example is the move on purchasing & distribution of music from smaller to smaller computers: desktops -> laptops -> pads -> phones -> watches -> glasses -> hearables.

I think the wearable group, hearables/glasses/watch , could even have a bigger impact on sound/video distribution than the initial huge impact of things like itunes. Airpods are a good starting example of hearables, but that space is increasing with WearOs by google. My gutt feel is that the hearable&watch combo will happen quicker then people are expecting and also have a lot of music/video business impacts people weren't expecting.

Last edited by PatrickFaith; 15th June 2018 at 05:47 AM.. Reason: than
Old 25th June 2018
  #4
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Curious, what's your take on the future of custom HRTF tech? My interest and focus has been on delivering for that medium, as I feel that's where consumers will go first (when the tech comes of age).
Old 27th June 2018
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Christian_C View Post
Curious, what's your take on the future of custom HRTF tech? My interest and focus has been on delivering for that medium, as I feel that's where consumers will go first (when the tech comes of age).
I break HRTF tech into 3 different segments: Channel (i.e. dolby stuff), Object (i.e. games and vr), Granular (ie active microphone/speaker as in wearables and xr).

To me the big numbers are in granular, basically the world is getting noiser, people's hearing is getting crappier, and everyone needs realtime translation(also reverse hrtf so the earbud can act as the micrphone for calls). Right now things are deploying in the noise reduction with voice improvement wearables segment. For the more advanced use cases, the background noise is removed, the audio is replaced & translated then re-inserted to the correct location via hrtf. Use case is older travelers where the earbuds auto translate to the users language. Also from a volume/distribution viewpoint, I could see a large percentage of all cell phone users cutting over to this tech within 2 years (new cpu's for this btw are just coming out the next couple of months).
Old 30th June 2018
  #6
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Nice, I hadn't heard of the "hype cycle" before this (googled "trough of disillusionment.")

Very useful general guide to things, that does ring true. Applies to music acts fair accurately too IMO, even though they're not tech, they ride a similar hype cycle. Bitcoin would be in the trough part of the cycle right now too, right?
Old 1st July 2018
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newguy1 View Post
Nice, I hadn't heard of the "hype cycle" before this (googled "trough of disillusionment.")

Very useful general guide to things, that does ring true. Applies to music acts fair accurately too IMO, even though they're not tech, they ride a similar hype cycle. Bitcoin would be in the trough part of the cycle right now too, right?
Good example, I tend to not do trend analysis on a single company but if I merged bitcoin with etherium as a "distributed ledger" trend I think your analogy holds. Also some things get "stuck" in the trough, like I think bitcoin is going to be more of a niche play while distributed ledger I think is a sure bet of leaving the trough.

Within that thinking, I kind of think of ambisonics a bit like bitcoin, it's almost clouded things and put people off from having a real discussion on the technology of immersive sound. For example I put way to much energy into ambisonics when I should have been focusing on granular and objects within a immersive framework. As an example, on just the post sound, all my purchases and flow is focused on objects&granular now with just using ambisonic output channel from facebook/protools if someone needs that as a distribution option: native instrument suite I am now heavily using for sound design, analog synths for creating grains and samples, izotopes neutron and other plugins which are even more "wavelet" based allow sections of different waveform to be added/subtracted.
Old 10th July 2018
  #8
In shopping for a new wifi speaker, it seems like the field is basically being lead by Google, Apple & Amazon. I love the idea of an ad-hoc sound system using wifi speakers but it seems like development is stunted, unless one buys into the mentioned companies or JBL and Sonos. I found some open source wifi speaker projects online but haven't been able to find demos.

wifi speakers (immersive or not) seem like a novelty, when they could be as good as studio monitors or PA systems.
Old 17th July 2018
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Temple of Light View Post
That's an interesting graph, what is this type of analysis referred to as?
Curious what your day job is as well...

YYMV

Light

Temple
This graph comes directly from a research vendor called Gartner. They call it the "Hype Cycle" and publish a new, updated graph on a regular basis. Here's the one from 2017:

https://blogs.gartner.com/smarterwit...A-1024x866.jpg

They actually seemed to be right with that 2017 graph for Augmented Reality (AR) - I think a lot of people are looking forward to seeing what Magic Leap's new hardware is going to do for example.
Old 16th April 2019
  #10
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Good Stuff Patrick, thanks.

Interested in the evolution of the recording and mixing stages specifically as it relates to product intended for AR/VR. I know of a couple facilities that have been doing it, but there doesn't seem to be much consensus on methodology. I imagine that 'supplier consolidation and failures' is meant to mostly represent the hardware concerns, but as it relates to the audio production suppliers it's probably more accurately father down the valley of the 'trough of disillusionment' imo.

Note to self, try to find more ways to incorporate the phrase 'trough of disillusionment' in my daily conversation.
Old 12th February 2020
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PatrickFaith View Post

The immersive sound cell phones will also be hitting soon, right now there's around 3 million house holds with these new immersive interactive sound things, but when a person can lay down a cell phone on thier kitchen counter and get immersive sound ... that's my bet on a crazy uptick.
This isn't going to happen until we reach StarTrek times. At the moment it is a BS marketing gimmick. Transaural sound (binaural over loudspeakers) doesnt even work that well due to problems surrounding crosstalk and personalised HRTFs.

Quote:
I've noticed is that "headphone" mixes don't sound too good after they've been broken up into the speaker arrays. It feels to me, that good music arrangement is the most important thing to make sure the stereo sound files are converted correctly. My gut feel, is if all the frequencies are on top of each other, these new fanangled interactive speaker/mic arrays don't have much to work with.
This is because they try and decode everything through Ambisonics which is totally unessesary and at lower orders doesnt handle high frequencies well. Also personalised HRTFs arent used and there isnt really a decent reason to try and decode binaural onto speakers as it doesnt work (apart from recordings in binaural which again cant easily be tranlated to speakers)

Google and faceboo are barking up the wrong tree - they think everything has to use ambisonics. Ambisonics is a useful tool but limited in some respects. Amplitud epanning often gives better results. Look at VBAP.
Old 12th February 2020
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Christian_C View Post
Curious, what's your take on the future of custom HRTF tech? My interest and focus has been on delivering for that medium, as I feel that's where consumers will go first (when the tech comes of age).
Personalised HRTFs are the future. A way of measuring them very quickly - though some studies debate the utility of personalised HRTFs. I was actually filing a patent on a way of getting personalised HRTFs quickly without having to stick a mic in your ear or shake your head around or take anthropomorphic measurements - but patenting is not so easy or in fact useful.
BTW the idea o using HRTF over any kind of speaker system is currently nonsense - it just doesnt work . Mainly because headphones isolate each ear - with speakers you have to deal with crosstalk, room reflections etc etc its snakeoil
Old 12th February 2020
  #13
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Originally Posted by PatrickFaith View Post
I break HRTF tech into 3 different segments: Channel (i.e. dolby stuff), Object (i.e. games and vr), Granular (ie active microphone/speaker as in wearables and xr).

To me the big numbers are in granular, basically the world is getting noiser, people's hearing is getting crappier, and everyone needs realtime translation(also reverse hrtf so the earbud can act as the micrphone for calls). Right now things are deploying in the noise reduction with voice improvement wearables segment. For the more advanced use cases, the background noise is removed, the audio is replaced & translated then re-inserted to the correct location via hrtf. Use case is older travelers where the earbuds auto translate to the users language. Also from a volume/distribution viewpoint, I could see a large percentage of all cell phone users cutting over to this tech within 2 years (new cpu's for this btw are just coming out the next couple of months).
hrtfs are just the way your ears locate sound using ILDs (interaural level differences) ITDs (Interaural time differences) and the direction-dependent filtering caused by the angle of incidence of sounds hitting your ears to give you height. There is only one use for HRTFs currently and that's for audio over headphones. Attempts to recreate HRTFs over speakers (transaural) so far simply don't work (I haven't heard IRCAMS yet but I doubt it will work) . If you think about it you'd be layering the HRTFd filters over the person's actual HRTFs as they move their head around the room. The idea of getting 3D audio over a phone speaker is a joke.
Old 15th February 2020
  #14
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telecode's Avatar
The graph looks like a Gartner hype cycle graph. Interesting discussion.
Old 20th February 2020
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PatrickFaith View Post
I break HRTF tech into 3 different segments: Channel (i.e. dolby stuff), Object (i.e. games and vr), Granular (ie active microphone/speaker as in wearables and xr).

To me the big numbers are in granular, basically the world is getting noiser, people's hearing is getting crappier, and everyone needs realtime translation(also reverse hrtf so the earbud can act as the micrphone for calls). Right now things are deploying in the noise reduction with voice improvement wearables segment. For the more advanced use cases, the background noise is removed, the audio is replaced & translated then re-inserted to the correct location via hrtf. Use case is older travelers where the earbuds auto translate to the users language. Also from a volume/distribution viewpoint, I could see a large percentage of all cell phone users cutting over to this tech within 2 years (new cpu's for this btw are just coming out the next couple of months).
really intersting thoughts!
Could you say something more about what you mean with GRANULAR tech?
Old 21st February 2020
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacob85 View Post
really intersting thoughts!
Could you say something more about what you mean with GRANULAR tech?
Well I'm a bit old school, so I go with the concept of sample/grains merged with envolopes applied to them. I do think Apple is a good example of taking this tech to entire new level. I have been playing around with my apple watch connected to my phone and listening to it with the new airpod pros. I'm not sure on the order, but the "noise" sample from AirPods mic's which are then added/subtracted to airpod speakers is pretty insane. I also have my watch modifing envolope timings (using holonist) which is read as control voltages into mirack granular engines (vcvrack stuff, most the mutable stuff is there, also a bunch of other modules). The output of vcvrack (actual granular music), is then sent to the airpods from my cell phone (which then applies the noise cancelling stuff).

Apple is also I think really impressive on how they do this for people that don't care about the tech but just want clear sound. I am not sure how they are doing it, but I am guess they are taking something like a mono stream, breaking it up into parts (vocals, piano, rock, orchestra, etc) ... then sampling based on the microphone matrixes which then allows that "mono" stream to output to multiple speakers to create depth on the fly. The homepods work really well, but I have also noticed the new hardware "profiles" work well on most of the new hardware (catilina just updated to a new hardware profile approach). I guess technically they have dolby atmos on using standard channels and objects, but my guess is really a solid mono signal with all this wierd granular stuff integrated with the hardware profiles is giving the biggest bang for the buck given my experiments with things running in my little tests (like the cellphone/watch/airpod loop I like).

Btw, when I run my airpod/cell/watch loop to things like walking direction and heart rate it's super immersive to the almost spooky level (since the music/sound is changing based on the accelerators and gauges in the watch). Is pretty easy to do also (with mirack/holonist combo). I also like the fact that Apple is allowing me to play around with this tech in nerd mode, yet also completly hides all this tech from people that just want to listen to music/watch a stream/recieve a call/ in the middle of a rush hour train.
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