Old 04-01-2021, 12:56 PM   #1
Cotally
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Default Apple Spatial Audio questions

Hello,

I am hoping for some insight into Apple Spatial Audio's implementation as I see it as a venue for a immersive sound experiences with a potentially wide audience. As of April 2021 I have the following observations:

Apple Spatial Audio is available on certain Apple devices paired with Airpods Pro or Airpods Max
(Requirements: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT211775)

The head/earphones accelerometer and gyroscope provide necessary data for headtracking and the head position affects the audio output.

The paired handheld device's position is also considered so that the soundscape doesn't rotate at unwanted times, for example when your bus turns (as opposed to your head)

The file formats mentioned in the reveal video is 5.1, 7.1 and Dolby Atmos
(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H0gZ...ature=emb_logo)

The list of supported apps includes a few that will play back local content, e.g. Plex (old player), FE File explorer and Air Video HD.
(Full list of supported apps: https://www.macrumors.com/guide/apps...audio-feature/)

No mention of HRTF support.

No mention of Ambisonics Support.

The spatial audio is likely to see more interest and adoption when paired with immersive XR content.

Looking forward to corrections/additions to this information. Ultimately I would like to find a path for easy user consumption of 3D Audio content produced in Reaper. So far Dolby Atmos seems to be the only road.
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Old 04-01-2021, 05:27 PM   #2
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Thanks for starting this thread. I don't really keep abreast of what Apple is doing so it's nice to have someone put the relevant info right in one place.

From reviewing the links it seems the feature is squarely focused on cinema experience for mobile devices. This is cool but not really ground breaking. I'm not even certain the head tracking would work in a full 360 rotation as the demo suggested they are most interested in compensating for incidental or locative head motions while watching a screen focused audio production (5.1, 7.1, atmos et al). It's nice to see another company considering the audio experience. At the same time it does not seem surprising to me that they didn't mention ambisonics or specifically immersive content. Perhaps that will come out with their AR/VR update?
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Old 04-05-2021, 06:25 AM   #3
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Interesting but I don't have any Apple devices to experiment with this.
Cotally, your last statement about finding a way to easily deliver 3D audio to listeners is something I'm particularly interested in too. So far, Binaural seems to be the least complex as far as playback equipment is concerned but I've yet to find ANY Binaural encoder that works for my ears. None of them give me a convincing image front/back and up/down.
Finding a reliable and cost effective method of arriving at individual HRTFs would go a long way towards achieving this.
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Old 04-05-2021, 09:42 AM   #4
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I think a delivery service that allowed for a spatial audio container, whether that be ambisonic or mpeg-h (BBC-EAR, Atmos etc.) that would play back the stereo headlocked render (hrtf or straight up stereo) normally. When possible the user could decode to an array of speakers or turn on the ability to move their device or track their head position and counter-rotate the mix accordingly. To me that last option is the one everyone except YouTube and Facebook (and HOAST) are dancing around. The format is spatial audio, not forward facing speaker array simulation. Build that and we can get on with making art and content for it. Until then we are just making theatre mixes for a device that fits in your hand!?
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Old 04-12-2021, 11:50 AM   #5
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Default DeoVR possibility

On the topic of delivering headtracked spatial audio to end users I am wondering if something like DeoVR might some day fit the bill. It is a web-based VR player that has teased spatial audio support in an upcoming update.
https://forum.deovr.com/d/220-full-scale-deovr-upgrade
This is designed for VR headsets which I expect is the only way to deliver such content in the immediate future.
I admit little hope that headtracking via Airpods Pro or Max would be supported any time soon. I have only seen one method of extracting such data for use and it is an unsupported hack out of Japan.
I agree, plush2 that the focus seems to be theatrical recreation. Also, Danii, I am hopeful for individualized HRTFs becoming more available in the coming months and years.
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