The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 Search This Thread  Search This Forum  Search Reviews  Search Gear Database  Search Gear for sale  Search Gearslutz Go Advanced
Newbie - QQ
Old 9th April 2019
  #1
Gear Head
 

Newbie - QQ

Hello!

I'm a regular 'ol stereo audio guy who's wondering if Ambisonic's would be cool for music albums in the future. I want to ask GS for some good introductory examples/reading/whatev to wet my pallet. Thanks!
Old 10th April 2019
  #2
Lives for gear
 
PatrickFaith's Avatar
 

One thing I have been comparing is a dts headphones mix vs a normal stereo mix in a album called spheres. On itunes the album is in both versions so you can compare. It's done by Dixon and stein, who do a lot of post music ... It's real high quality. In a subway/train environment I can't hear much of a difference, but in a quite room that's dark I can feel the spheres in the dts binaural audio mix while in the stereo mix I can only image things planar. I am also finding quad mixes can give me a much better image then stereo. Here's the link if your on iTunes:

Spheres (Original Score) by Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein on Apple Music

Spheres: Dts Headphone X Binaural Audio (Original Score) by Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein on Apple Music
Old 10th April 2019
  #3
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by PatrickFaith View Post
One thing I have been comparing is a dts headphones mix vs a normal stereo mix in a album called spheres. On itunes the album is in both versions so you can compare. It's done by Dixon and stein, who do a lot of post music ... It's real high quality. In a subway/train environment I can't hear much of a difference, but in a quite room that's dark I can feel the spheres in the dts binaural audio mix while in the stereo mix I can only image things planar. I am also finding quad mixes can give me a much better image then stereo. Here's the link if your on iTunes:

Spheres (Original Score) by Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein on Apple Music

Spheres: Dts Headphone X Binaural Audio (Original Score) by Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein on Apple Music
Wow, what a difference! Thanks for sharing!

Yes, the binaural version is really so much more lifelike in it's movements; it sounds very 3D. In the stereo version, things are moving left to right - akin to every stereo song I've heard. I'm thinking about old Zeppelin records - Whole Lotta Love for example - when stereo movement was the new cool trick. It's just left to right or vice-versa.

This, on the other hand, sounds like it's swirling behind and in front of me. Very cool. Makes me wonder what Whole Lotta Love would sound like if it were recorded using Ambisonics :-).
Old 10th April 2019
  #4
Gear Head
 

So, to get started mixing with Ambisonics, what kind of tools are required? Waves offers the 360° Ambisonics Tools Bundle. Are there any other competing products to consider?
Old 11th April 2019
  #5
Lives for gear
 
PatrickFaith's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by camacozie View Post
So, to get started mixing with Ambisonics, what kind of tools are required? Waves offers the 360° Ambisonics Tools Bundle. Are there any other competing products to consider?
From doing this on the "app" side theres a bunch of options. On the PC & gaming side I would reference Brian Schmidt's tool sets he goes over in this thread: Game Audio Guru Brian Schmidt Mini Q+A 2018

On the phone app side, unity3d is great. (some of the real compelling content I've listened to is in unity3d)

In about all cases you can always do the music in quad, then pick the various daws to remap the quad to hrtf/binaural options. I'm a protools hd person, it gives me a lot of options but that's a kind of expensive way to go. If I was starting out from scratch I'd probably go nuendo/wwise (nuendo has a bunch of new stuff coming out and has good wwise integration).

If I could pick another extreme it's the Suzanne Cianni/Hans Zimmer/JunkieXL/Deadmau5 crowd (which the sphere's album kind of follows). They all have both a serious business background and all were profesional performance artist - all do a lot with modular but normally go to stems that can go to any distribution format. All of them also have a lot of youtubes and such, but normally don't get super techie on exact methods.
Old 15th April 2019
  #6
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by camacozie View Post
Are there any other competing products to consider?
There are a bunch of free ambisonic plug-ins that will enable you to do almost anything you'd ever desire without spending a penny. One of the great things about ambisonics is that the scientific foundations can't be copyrighted, there are no patents on the tetrahedral mic design, and interest in academia has picked up again the past few years. With 360 video (my current day job), ambisonics is more "mainstream" than ever.

If you just want to mix in ambisonics without doing any video work, I'd start with the following, free packages : Blue Ripple Sound Core, IEM, aalto SPARTA, and Matthias Kronlachner's ambiX Suite. You may also want to get the Facebook 360 Spatial Workstation and use that as the foundation of your plug-in suite. It will allow you to easily preview your mix on headphones, in binaural, with a "magic window" to pan around as if you're moving your head.

Whatever you do, I would suggest working in at least 3rd Order, which requires 16 channels of audio per track. Mix in 3rd Order or higher, and then you'll have a somewhat future-proofed master that can be decoded into binaural for headphones, 5.1, 7.1, etc., and any speaker array you'd ever encounter.
Old 15th April 2019
  #7
Gear Addict
 

To answer your question, there are some people who think there's a bright future for "immersive / 3D / spatial" audio in the consumer realm, and equally as many doubters. A few years ago I was researching new interfaces when I came across Morton Lindberg and 2L from Norway (He uses Merging). 2L releases true "audiophile" surround recordings on Blu-Ray, some recorded "in the round", with musicians surrounding an array of microphones in a beautiful space. I had just seen someone talk about 360 video for the first time, so this took me down a rabbit hole to where I am today, doing full audio and video production for 360 video, from pre-pro and stitching to 3D VFX work & ambisonic audio as well. I've been fully immersed in the space for a few years now, and I could talk all day about it, but let me know if you have any specific questions.

Here's a few things you can check out though: SuperSphere VR does live broadcasts of concerts in 360 video, and "The Zero System" is an immersive music label a friend of mine started in LA a while back. Consumers can download music for playback on regular headphones, headphones w/ head-tracking so the image rotates with your head movements, 360 headsets like the Oculus Go, 5.1 systems, or massive hemispherical speaker arrays like those at CCRMA @ Stanford. I've heard some arrays at CCRMA that blew my mind and destroy anything like Atmos - not even close...
Old 4 weeks ago
  #8
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by over-man View Post
I've been fully immersed in the space for a few years now, and I could talk all day about it, but let me know if you have any specific questions.
Thank you for taking the time.

I am finding ambisonics to be more than a mild curiosity. I don't know if it's the way of the future, or merely a trend, but I honestly don't care. I like it and want to dive into it just for the fun :-)

In terms of a standard home recording studio (not used to make money and only for making personal music for one's self that no one cares about :-P ) currently configured for stereo (as in ONLY two outs to two speakers), what would you recommend:

1) How many outputs to start?
2) Tracking headphones, surround monitors, or both?
3) What kind of software or plugins are required to get a PC based DAW like Cubase, Reaper, etc ready for mixing in ambisoncis?
4) What else am I missing?
5) As we all know, the sky is the limit when it comes to cost of gear, but what would be a good amount to budget - just to get started?

Thanks again!
Old 3 weeks ago
  #9
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by camacozie View Post
I don't know if it's the way of the future, or merely a trend
My guess is somewhere in between

Since you only have 2 outputs and likely don't want to invest the money in an 8+ channel DA and an equal number of speakers (at least 8 to start), you'll be working with headphones and binaural rendering of your ambisonic master. For starters, you'll want to use Reaper and the Facebook 360 Spatial Workstation as the foundation of your ambisonic mixing and monitoring. Download their free software and watch a bunch of tutorial videos, and join the 360 Spatial Workstation group on Facebook if you can. There are people working on integrating head-tracking headphones, or a device you can add to any headphones for head-tracking, but without spending any money the easiest way to simulate head-tracking is with the 360 "magic window" that you pan around with your mouse.


You can also download the free packages from Blue Ripple Sound (o3a Core), Aalto Sparta, and IEM. That will give you all the tools you need for now.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #10
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by camacozie View Post
5) As we all know, the sky is the limit when it comes to cost of gear, but what would be a good amount to budget - just to get started?
$0. That's the great part about ambisonics right now, for two main reasons that I can see. First, many universities are the leading the charge on ambisonics now, both from a research perspective and in coding software packages (i.e. Aalto Sparta and IEM). Also, the Facebook 360 Spatial Workstation software used to cost around $5k a year for unlimited use, but then Facebook bought the software (Two Big Ears - which I believe also sprang from University research) and made it free. Combine that with Reaper, while not technically free, and you have a $0 solution.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #11
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by over-man View Post
My guess is somewhere in between

Since you only have 2 outputs and likely don't want to invest the money in an 8+ channel DA and an equal number of speakers (at least 8 to start), you'll be working with headphones and binaural rendering of your ambisonic master. For starters, you'll want to use Reaper and the Facebook 360 Spatial Workstation as the foundation of your ambisonic mixing and monitoring. Download their free software and watch a bunch of tutorial videos, and join the 360 Spatial Workstation group on Facebook if you can. There are people working on integrating head-tracking headphones, or a device you can add to any headphones for head-tracking, but without spending any money the easiest way to simulate head-tracking is with the 360 "magic window" that you pan around with your mouse.


You can also download the free packages from Blue Ripple Sound (o3a Core), Aalto Sparta, and IEM. That will give you all the tools you need for now.
Cool, thanks Over-Man. I look forward to getting started.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #12
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by camacozie View Post
Cool, thanks Over-Man. I look forward to getting started.
I have been planning to incorporate a summing amp for regular stereo mixing. I'd like to take the two track sum and send that to a hardware DSD recorder like the Tascam DA-3000 (or something like it).

But, now I'm curious: is there a hardware ambisonics encoder that could be use in a similar fashion as the DA-3000? A rack mounted device that has a bunch of inputs (like 16) that can record all the inputs into a single ambisonics file? Perhaps a digital output for an amp that can both decode the file and also supports the various speaker array options?

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.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #13
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
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.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #14
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by over-man View Post
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.
My wife will be relieved that I can cancel my ebay bids for the 16 Fairchild's haha! Sounds good Over-Man. Thanks for the advice!
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Similar Threads
Thread
Thread Starter / Forum
Replies
BAKINTOO / Newbie Audio Engineering + Production Question Zone
9
nativiciouss / Newbie Audio Engineering + Production Question Zone
7
VocalBoothToGo / Introductions
3
TonyBelmont / Rap + Hip Hop Engineering and Production
26
inlinenl / Mastering Forum
0

Forum Jump
Forum Jump