Genelec and IDA Audio release 3D audio modelling app for headphones

Genelec and IDA Audio, a company specialising in head-related transfer function (HRTF) modelling technology, are joining forces to create the ‘world’s first’ truly accurate immersive audio experience for professional headphone users.

Accessible via a software application for smartphone, the jointly-developed technology scans the user’s ears, upper body and head to create a cloud-based customised personal audio profile, which can then be loaded into the user’s DAW via a choice of third-party plug-ins.

With the new app, professionals will be able to use their favourite pair of headphones to experience the same accurate 3D audio reproduction of Genelec’s studio monitors.

“Everyone is unique when it comes to hearing – the ways in which our brains perceive the world around us is shaped by our physical features, determining how we hear,” explained Siamäk Naghian, CEO of Genelec. “No two people share the same HRTF, because the size and shape of each person’s head, ears, and upper torso all affect how that individual experiences the sounds around them. This makes it extremely difficult to monitor 3D audio over headphones, since using headphones means you remove the effects of those physical features – and this adversely affects the sound.

“The answer of course is to 3D scan each individual listener and then map their own unique HRTFs. This enables reproduction of those physical effects when headphones are used. Just as an expertly tailored suit fits you perfectly, so does your own personal HRTF. This means that you can precisely hear in three dimensions through any high-quality headphones that you choose to use,” added Naghian.

Achieving true-to-life spatial reproduction over headphones will enable a much broader audience to enjoy natural and immersive audio experiences

– Antti Vanne, IDA Audio CEO

Using their smartphone’s camera, users will be able to scan themselves, gathering sufficient data to accurately 3D model and then create the unique HRTF filter set for personal rendering of 3D audio. Users will also be able to choose to undertake the scan with a designated third party if preferred. Recently, Genelec introduced The Ones – ‘Ultimate Point Source’ monitors with controlled directivity both in the horizontal and vertical planes, making them ideal for spatial audio reference monitoring.

“For us, cooperating with the world leader in studio monitoring is a fantastic opportunity,” remarked Antti Vanne, CEO of IDA Audio. “We believe that in-room listening allowing head movements will remain the fundamental method of reference monitoring, but achieving true-to-life spatial reproduction over headphones will enable a much broader audience to enjoy natural and immersive audio experiences. With Genelec, we are breaking new ground and reaching towards untouched horizons in the world of audio.”

The jointly-developed software application will be available to professional users in early 2018 as a download directly from the Genelec website, while visitors to the AES Show in New York this week will be able to get a personal demonstration on the IDA Audio (OwnSurround) Booth #961. Genelec themselves are located on Booth #322.