Steinberg and Embody Introduce AI-Driven Personalized Spatial Audio Solution for Ambisonics Mixing

August 21 2020, 00:25
Steinberg has joined forces with Embody, a company working in personalized spatial audio, to develop Steinberg Immerse with VST AmbiDecoder, a new personalized spatial audio solution for Cubase and Nuendo. Immerse with VST AmbiDecoder uses HRTF profiles, allowing audio engineers to correctly monitor Ambisonics mixes using headphones. Embody creates the personal HRTF profiles using images of the user's ear, captured with a smartphone.

Ambisonics is a powerful format for developing immersive audio content. However, monitoring ambisonics on headphones has been limited in sound quality by not taking into account the unique ear shape of individuals. Using artificial intelligence, Immerse with VST AmbiDecoder generates the user’s personalized Head Related Transfer Function (HRTF) in less than a minute. Embody uses a machine learning algorithm to generate unique HRTF profiles from a single image of his right ear, captured on a smartphone and sent to the cloud. The one-time process can be used to personalize the immersive sound processing plugin and convert ambisonics to binaural audio. With its own personalized HRTF, engineers will hear the clear spatial separation of each sound element and improved audio quality.

“We’re excited to partner with Embody to bring personalized spatial audio to artists who use Cubase and Nuendo. Customers are already telling us that having easy, affordable access to their personalized HRTF to create Ambisonics soundscapes will significantly improve the immersive content they’re able to develop. With Immerse with VST AmbiDecoder, users can make their decisions with confidence because they are listening to their immersive mix using their ears — not a generic set of ears," says Luis Dongo, Marketing Manager at Steinberg.

How the brain interprets the direction of a sound source is mainly determined by the shape and folds of an individual’s outer ear. Like fingerprints, these shapes and folds are unique to every person. Up to now, the VST AmbiDecoder plug-in has given artists the ability to monitor Ambisonic content, using a set of generic HRTFs. Now, Immerse brings premium spatial monitoring customized to the users ears with Personalized HRTFs. The collective benefits of one’s personalized HRTF — directional sound accuracy, high sound quality, and externalization  — combined with head-tracking and the decoding engine of VST AmbiDecoder helps the user make believable soundscapes.

"Over the past few years, it’s become easier to create immersive content thanks to tools like VST AmbiDecoder,” says Kapil Jain, co-founder and CEO of Embody. “Adding Immerse to the VST AmbiDecoder tool kit means you can create immersive content with a higher degree of confidence because using your personalized HRTF unlocks the true power of spatial audio. By mixing Ambisonics with your ears, you know your mix is right.”

Immerse with VST AmbiDecoder is exclusively available through the Steinberg Online Shop in the U.S. for $189.99, and Europe for 189 euros. Included in the subscription are free software updates that will include feature upgrades.
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