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WHAT IS IMMERSIVE AUDIO?

The world of audio technology is fast-moving and, along with developments in virtual realities and gaming, the creation and consumption of music is rapidly evolving and changing. The music and audio industry has taken a huge step forwards in recent years with developments within a burgeoning immersive audio industry. And, now, the audio format is becoming ubiquitous.

Industry frontrunners, Dolby Atmos and Sony 360 Reality Audio, alongside German tech company Fraunhofer, have developed technology that has made accessible audio mixing, playback and listening in immersive formats. These technologies have enabled listeners to experience an audio asset now as if it were coming from all around them - as we hear in real life.

 

The potential to play this type of audio is growing exponentially with speakers, soundbars, headphones, TVs and cars as well as larger monitor and loudspeaker set-ups being made with immersive audio in mind. This technology is now available for playback on major DSPs: TIDAL, Amazon Music, Deezer, Napster, Nugs.net and Apple Music - under the name Spatial Audio. 

OBJECT-ORIENTED MIXING

At the crux of the technology is the idea of object-oriented mixing. This approach to mixing sound treats each sound-source as its own discreet whole which can be moved freely in a 360-degree sphere. Whereas mono and stereo mixing requires mix engineers to allocate the placement of tracks on a 2D left-to-right plane, immersive audio’s effect isn’t limited to this flat axis. You can take the sound-source as a whole and move it anywhere in space. 

The playback of immersive audio is possible on any speaker or headphone setup because, instead of each sound-source being allocated a speaker output (as is the case with stereo mixing), each sound-source is merely allocated a space within a 360-degree realm: the sound-source's placement is then replicated between whatever speakers or headphones you have at your disposal. In other words, immersive audio is speaker agnostic.

We at ARK360º are frontrunners in the production and proliferation of audio assets in immersive formats. Check out what we do by visiting our About, Services and Case Studies page. Or, for more information, contact us.