My Other ADC 2019 Talk : Immerse Yourself and Be Saved!

While I work out how to respond to the wonderful feedback I received about the ‘narcissistic boss’ piece, here’s my talk on immersive audio from ADC 2019. In this, I tried to pour a one-hour talk into a half-hour slot. Which is a little hard on the speaker and audience, but much better than a too-superficial treatment.

I’m not selling anything in the talk, although I’ll soon make a foray into this market. (Did you know I’m making a head tracker? I’m making a head tracker!)

Feeling particularly pleased about the Generation-X-era joke at 22:05, and the gentle dig at Dolby’s foray into consumer goods at 29 minutes. (Less proud of saying ‘fourth-order’ when I meant ‘fifth-order’ at 11:43. But nobody will notice if I don’t point it out.)

6 thoughts on “My Other ADC 2019 Talk : Immerse Yourself and Be Saved!”

  1. Hello Ben,

    I work with the 3D ortf from schoeps, 8 tracks encoded in seventh order ambisonics for listening through headphones. Your 3dof head tracker is what I’m looking for using iem’s scene rotator plugin. Will you be marketing your invention in the near future? Can I pre-order one?

    Yours truly,

    Romain

    1. Hello Romain, and thanks for getting in touch.

      Yes! After two years of development, the head tracker is currently in a limited alpha programme, and engineering samples are being made. I expect to have shipped it before the end of the year.

      The IEM rotator plugin is one that I suspect a lot of people will be using. At some point I’ll be building a bridge to use third-party plug-ins.

      If you don’t mind, I’ll email you to let you know when it’s available. Don’t worry about pre-ordering: there will be stock.

  2. Thanks for your response Ben.

    Send me an email when your head tracker is available. I find the design very convincing.

    Looking forward to working with.

  3. Nice. Since 2019 Apple Music went Immersive with AirPods. It feels that if Apple’s bet on immersive music flops, that will be it. Very interesting to see if immersive music will finally happen.

    Still, unless you buy AirPods Max, how should an enthusiastic consumer listen to the immersive audio content at home?

    I imagine that I would get some immersive audio content onto a PC. I can buy your head-tracker. I have Beyer headphones. I can 3D scan my head with my iPhone and make a custom SOFA file using Mesh2HRTF. I am ready for some more pain to avoid paying for and living in an ambitious home cinema.

    But my Foobar2000 does not work with headtracking or latest immersive formats. So in the end – it is Apple or nothing. Still sad 🙁

    1. I see why you think this, but as somebody who was first inspired to do better by listening to Dolby Headphone in 1999, I remember a lot of false starts. Apple’s might and deep pockets means that if they fail, we may not try such a big entry into the consumer space for a decade. That still leaves the professional space, gaming, and a whole load of niche markets. I’d also say that:

      1. Immersive audio is here to stay on a smallish scale because certain entertainment niches need a sense of spectacle. That means we’ll always have a trickle of research and skilled people tinkering;
      2. Binaural is too interesting and compelling not to engage with;
      3. Apple Spatial Audio reputedly doesn’t live up to the hype and may well not crack the market, but neither did Dolby Headphone, the Beyerdynamic HeadZone, Waves nx, or the Ossic X headphones.
      4. The biggest problems are missteps in research and poor latency in wireless systems. I’ll keep banging on about the former (costs me nothing: nobody listens yet). The latter will certainly improve.

      So I suspect we’ll keep trying until somebody gets it right!

      1. You are certainly right about “here to stay” in niche applications.

        The big deal about Apple is that unlike all the previous attempts – Apple brings head tracking to mass market headphones (https://twitter.com/seanolive/status/1394518317172330499) together with direct access to Content with Apple Music. This is in another dimension compared to efforts by Sennheiser, others or even Dolby. Everyone knows how iTunes store made iPod into a giant. Now multichannel audio gets the same chance.

        Meanwhile I really would like to use something like your headtracker for some system-wide 7.1 surround sound over headphones with custom HRTF. I have 5.1 music in my collection, I play action games – I want good surround over headphones.
        I tried Waves NX, but their HRTF is not good enough and impossible to change. Everything else also has shady HRTFs, no head tracking or no system-wide software. This is a reason why your headtracker is an improtant piece of a puzzle, but without at-least 7.1 software like used by Audeze Mobius or JBL Quantum ONE, we are stuck in the “work-only” VST plugins. It is just not worth it for me due to lack of software to listen to even 5.1 content. In contrast Impulcifier is limited, but actually more useful.

        Things do change for the better. So someone will figure it out eventually 🙂 Thank you for your contributions!

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