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FB360 3.x versus 2.2
Old 3rd August 2019
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Led's Avatar
FB360 3.x versus 2.2

Hi, I've been playing around with FB360 2.2, as I'm on an earlier version of PT12.
So far it's not that impressive regarding the localisation of sound from the rear vs front. They both sound pretty much the same. I've been using the example session it comes with. I am just monitoring the binaural in headphones. I've got a little zoom that does B format, and converts to binaural on the headphone out of the unit, and even those sound a lot better out of the unit headphone than they do when imported into fb360. In FB360 there is no frequency rolloff with sounds placed behind as I'd expect. Am I doing something incorrectly?

Is there much improvement from 2.2 to v3? I don't really want to download the trial of Ultimate on my main system as everything is rock solid stable and I don't want to mess with it. I might DL onto my macbook to try it out, but was wondering about others experiences with the later FB360, or if there's any setting I should be looking into on V2.2
Old 22nd August 2019
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Calagan's Avatar

Actually, you opened an interesting thread where we could share some feelings about FB 360 workstation (because there's not a lot of infos/forums about it on the net).

I'm using FB 360 v3, and I think I found somewhere that they improved the rear/front localization compared to the v2, but actually I feel the same like you (I need to say I can't compare to the v2 because I never used it).
It's not absolutely the same between front and rear in my case, but it's still not there in my opinion.

Regarding stability, I'm using FB 360 WS V3 on Reaper, on a mac (Sierra) and everything is ok.

Another issue for me is the use of stereo sounds in the spatializer : sometime I can hear some strange phasing artifacts using stereo sounds (it may be something else than phasing, I don't know what it is, but it just sounds bad), and until now I didn't figure out how to improve that because on some sounds it's ok.
Is it the spacing of the sound (far or near of each other) ?
Is it the tonal quality of the sounds used (lot of highs ? lot of lows ?) ?
I don't have any clue, and I would be pleased to have some insight about that from someone who understand what exactly FB workstation is doing to audio for its ambisonic effect.

Last issue, the room modelisation is quite bad in my opinion. It sounds very digital, very harsh, and doesn't give much clues about the room where the action takes place (because you need to set it very low if you want to avoid the digital harshness). It sounds like a bad digital reverb (with only first reflections, so the eventual smoothing of late reflections is even not there).
Using some third party reverb (Breeze, Valhalla, Reflektor - so only good quality stuff) before the spatializer can be tricky too : sometimes it sounds very bad, and I guess it's related to the phasing artifact I'm speaking about when I used stereo sounds.

here are my 2 cents...
I hope someone else can contribute.
Old 24th August 2019
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Led's Avatar
Thanks for the reply, I tried out the latest version and found the localisation between front and rear to be only marginally better if at all.
I guess it will continue to develop and improve...if the market for it dictates.
Old 24th August 2019
Lives for gear
I've looked into this quite a bit, and I think at least some of the lack in spatial resolution and inability to distinguish between front / back and height results from a mis-match in the HRTF used to convert the ambisonic stream to binaural. You can download and test different HRTF decoders from Blue Ripple, Google, Facebook, IEM, Sparta, etc., and you'll notice they all sound different - sometimes drastically different, again depending on how closely each aligns with the shape of your head, ears, and torso - i.e. your custom HRTF. The only way around this right now is to either use a speaker rig that doesn't use HRTFs, or to get a custom HRTF scan, then load the resulting SOFA file into an ambisonic to binaural decoder that allows you to use your custom HRTF. I have not gotten a custom HRTF yet, but to my ears, the Blue Ripple "headphone" decoder in one of their paid packages sounds the best to me, both in terms of spatial resolution and overall sound quality. I don't think the lack in quality has anything to do with the Facebook 360 Spatial Workstation per se, but rather in the nature of ambisonic to binaural decoding. Also, you'll get a bit better spatial resolution if you up-sample first order recordings with either Harpex or Blue Ripple's harpex Upsampler, but it's not magic. You'd also have better overall quality using a 2nd order mic like the Core Sound Octomic, which benefits from the higher native order recording plus a custom filter for each mic that results in a better a to b-format conversion than a stock filter for an entire line of microphones, like the zoom / ambeo uses.
Old 25th September 2019
Originally Posted by over-man View Post
...or to get a custom HRTF scan, then load the resulting SOFA file into an ambisonic to binaural decoder that allows you to use your custom HRTF...
I've had a custom HRTF from a university, but it was far from ideal (test stages).
It's true that the HRTF used influences the binaural experience.
However to come to the OP's question about front/back; in my experience (and most people agree on this) front and height localisation are the most difficult to represent in a headphone (binaural) listening setup. With a front mixed signal in a binaural mix (from FB360 or other solutions) I always experience the signal as "inside" my head and not in front of me. Back is more convincing with a moving signal as there is filtering going on (your outer ear has a big influence in daily life). Up and down are also very difficult.
It helps to have a visual source, so audio with video gives you more clues of where a sound is coming from and then your brain links things together.

As to a difference between FB360 v3 and v2, I can't say as I never really dug in deep with v2.
I was always intrigued by Ambisonics and VR + 360 gave it a second life.
We have worked on several 360 projects and it's a lot of fun. You have to change your mindset a little bit, compared to feature film mixing, but the ideas are similar.
I have a Youtube channel where I post "hobby :-)" experiments with 360 video and spatial audio recordings (ambisonics), if you would like to have a look/listen:

Put on headphones and if you're on Mac, be sure to use Chrome or Firefox browsers (Safari doesn't support spatial audio, so the audio remains static when you scroll the picture).


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