New ‘groundbreaking’ 3D audio technology from Sennheiser

Sennheiser has announced a new strategic focus on 3D immersive audio at CES 2016, where it is introducing AMBEO, a ‘groundbreaking technology that promises the ultimate in audio capture and reproduction.’

According to the manufacturer’s co-CEOs Daniel Sennheiser and Dr. Andreas Sennheiser, the firm has been active in the field of 3D audio for some time with 9.1 mixing and recording, as well as the audio design for various high-profile exhibitions, and is now increasing its efforts considerably to introduce "this amazing sound quality" into new applications.

The company’s 3D immersive audio products and activities will bear the new AMBEO trademark.

Show visitors are getting the chance to experience AMBEO 3D Audio firsthand in the booth’s dedicated 9.1 listening room. Here, Sennheiser’s expert tonmeister Gregor Zielinsky is presenting original 9.1 recordings and remixes of legacy music for the 9.1 format. To bring this experience to every day music listening, visitors are invited to bring their own stereo sound material, have it upmixed via Sennheiser’s proprietary upmix algorithm and replayed in ‘stunning’ 9.1 sound quality.

Meanwhile, Sennheiser’s expertise in 3D audio technology is also being featured by gaming specialist Soulpix, which has drawn on the audio specialist’s experience in the field for its virtual-reality game, EDEN. Through a proprietary Sennheiser algorithm, the sounds in the game are easily localisable and aim to transport the listener to an imaginary yet utterly realistic soundscape. CES visitors can experience this in the demo area. “The Sennheiser 3D sound rendering engine used in EDEN allows a smooth transition between real-life sounds and virtual audio sources,” explained Andreas Sennheiser. “Such an engine will be the future of 3D sound in augmented reality applications.”

Another part of the 3D audio experience zone is dedicated to a new virtual reality microphone. Designed with VR content producers, the unobtrusive mic is designed to capture high-quality audio in four quadrants. The VR microphone will be a staple tool in any live action VR production and will launch in the third quarter of 2016, followed in 2017 by a bundle with the same mic and a software plug-in for post-production of VR content.

A further highlight is the new Venue Modeling software. The demo version features the room characteristics of several clubs, such as Mighty in San Francisco, and the Rex Club in Paris, and enables DJs to experience their sets ‘as if they were in the middle of their audience’.

The Venue Modeling technology will be a milestone in virtual room acoustics replication, Sennheiser says. Unlike other reverb tools and plug-ins, the VST plug-in lets DJs, artists and producers ‘experience their audio tracks in the location they want to perform in.’ The plug-in helps to tailor the audio to any desired room atmosphere, and a growing venue database connected to the plug-in will offer DJs ‘an ideal source to prepare for their show.’ The VST plug-in will become available in mid-2016.