Sennheiser’s booth at CES 2016 attracted a continuous flow of visitors to its AMBEO 3D Audio Listening Experience. Inside, Sennheiser was showcasing the potential of 3D immersive audio technology, which the company intends to develop as a strategic focus, including a proprietary 9.1 upmix algorithm, a game audio rendering engine, a VR microphone and Venue Modeling software.
At CES 2016, audio specialist Sennheiser unveiled a strategic focus on 3D immersive audio, a groundbreaking technology that promises the ultimate in audio capture and reproduction. “3D audio is the new frontier of excellence, set to transform the listening experience for users across a broad range of applications, from virtual reality gaming to audio recording and broadcasting,” announced co-CEOs Daniel Sennheiser and Dr. Andreas Sennheiser.
“We have been active in this area for some time with 9.1 mixing and recording and the audio design for high-profile exhibitions. We are now increasing our efforts considerably to introduce this amazing sound quality into new products and applications, enabling users to experience and shape the future of audio.” Sennheiser’s 3D immersive audio products and activities will bear the new AMBEO trademark.
3D immersive audio is increasingly becoming a format of choice in professional recording, mixing and listening. The composer, producer, and musician Simon Franglen, well known for his work on the films Titanic, Avatar, and most recently Spectre, commented: “Every time I do an immersive mix, I notice how much more clearly I can hear what’s going on within a track. The extra playback area allows individual voices and instruments room to breathe in a way that the flat plane of a stereo mix can never hope to accomplish. 3D audio gives a completely new experience to the listener. Not only are they inside the music, but they get the opportunity to really hear the detail and the arrangement that the musicians, arrangers and producers put into the recordings. Even as a professional, I have listened to tracks that I have thought I knew intimately to discover so much more than the stereo or mono mix was able to give me. Once you hear this, music changes forever.”
Show visitors at CES 2016 were able to experience AMBEO 3D Audio firsthand in the booth’s dedicated 9.1 listening room. Here, Sennheiser’s expert tonmeister Gregor Zielinsky presented original 9.1 recordings and remixes of legacy music for the 9.1 format. To bring this experience to every day music listening, visitors were invited to bring their own stereo sound material, which was upmixed via Sennheiser’s proprietary upmix algorithm and replayed in stunning 9.1 sound quality.
Sennheiser’s expertise in 3D audio technology is also being featured by gaming specialist, Soulpix, which has drawn on the audio specialist’s long experience in the field for its virtual-reality game, EDEN. Through a proprietary Sennheiser algorithm, the sounds in the game are easily localizable and transport the listener to an imaginary yet utterly realistic soundscape. CES visitors could experience this in the demo area. “The Sennheiser 3D sound rendering engine used in EDEN allows a smooth transition between real-life sounds and virtual audio sources,” explained Andreas Sennheiser. “Such an engine will be the future of 3D sound in augmented reality applications.”
Another part of the 3D audio experience zone is dedicated to a virtual reality microphone. Designed with VR content producers, the unobtrusive mic captures high quality audio in four quadrants. The VR microphone will be a staple tool in any live action VR production and will launch in the third quarter of 2016, followed in 2017 by a bundle with the same mic and a software plug-in for post-production of VR content.
A further highlight in 3D audio is the Venue Modeling software. The demo version features the room characteristics of several clubs, such as Mighty in San Francisco, and the Rex Club in Paris, and enables DJs to experience their sets as if they were in the middle of their audience.
According to Sennheiser, the Venue Modeling technology will be a milestone in virtual room acoustics replication. Unlike other reverb tools and plug-ins, this VST plug-in lets ambitious DJs, PA artists and EM producers experience their audio tracks in the location they want to perform in. The plug-in helps to tailor the audio to any desired room atmosphere, and a growing venue database connected to the plug-in will offer DJs an ideal source to prepare for their show. The VST plug-in will become available in mid-2016.