3D or spatial audio has brought about a paradigm shift, and this was enabled due to the advancements in audio editing software and recording devices. It is useful for creating immersive experiences that are used in 360 videos, VR, AR, and other immersive media formats like 3D cinema. This presents newer and innovative opportunities for sound designers, musicians, and audio engineers. Besides, it is incorporated in almost all leading Digital Audio Workstations (DAW) like the Reaper and are used for 360-degree media production. Read on to know more about 3D audio and its production.
What Is 3D Or Spatial Audio?
What differentiates 3D audio from surround sound is that you can localize a sound and it is very much used in virtual reality (VR) media and 3D cinemas. For example, you can determine the direction and distance of a sound by closing your eyes. This is because sound designers can create depth of field due to the advancements in audio editing software. In traditional 5.1 channel surround sound, this is done by channel amplitude panning.
We perceive sound from our surroundings binaurally, i.e. with two ears. It helps us to perceive localization information of the source like direction and distance. In 3D or spatial audio, this binaural source is the headphones. Also, anyone can experience immersive audio because almost everyone has a pair of headphones.
How 3D Or Spatial Audio Is Created?
You are provided with 360 video recording along with audio recording recorded using lavalier microphones and ambisonic microphone. Ambisonics is a multichannel special audio format that adds the height axis to the audio, and it is independent of the speaker. An ambisonic recording helps you to capture the spherical nature of the environment where the audio was captured. It is very much like an ambient mic, and the recording blends in with the direct recordings.
By combining the direct recording from the lavalier mic with 3D ambisonic recording, you can create content with a rich spectrum of frequencies. When the source of sound moves closer to the ambisonic mic’s null point, the sound becomes less clear. This affects how we perceive the location details spatially, and it can be corrected with reinforcements from direct signal microphones.
What Are The Tools Used For Creating 3D Or Spatial Audio?
The most important tool used for creating 3D audio is Digital Audio Workstations (DAW), which is a software for editing audio. The 3D audio created is mixed with a 3D video with a video editor. Often you are required to download and install a spatial audio plugin for the video editor.
We hope that the details shared above gave you a better understanding of how 3D audio is created.