We're delighted to announce the release of ZYLIA Studio PRO v2.2.0! This latest version contains some exciting updates and additions, and we can't wait for you to experience them. Here's what's new:
We remain committed to the continual enhancement of Zylia’s software, and we highly value your feedback. If you encounter any issues or have any suggestions for further improvements, please reach out to our support team.
Thank you for your continued support, and we look forward to hearing about your experiences with these new features.
Zylia Studio’s advanced ambisonics mixing plugin for 3D audio - a new release v2.1.0
We are excited to announce the release of ZYLIA Studio PRO plugin v2.1.0 - the latest version of our advanced VST/AU/AAX plugin designed for spatial filtering and signals separation in a DAW. With this powerful plugin, you can easily manipulate your audio recordings to achieve superior sound quality and create immersive 3D audio experiences that will captivate your audience.
This release includes a highly anticipated feature – automatic source tracking. This innovative technology enables you to precisely track the location of audio sources in real-time, even if they move around the microphone during recording. This means that the plugin can automatically adjust the output to reflect the new location of the source, resulting in more accurate and realistic audio recordings. Additionally, this feature allows you to record the sources' trajectories via VST parameters, giving you unprecedented control over your audio recordings.
But that's not all! ZYLIA Studio PRO now also supports OSC, which allows you to use external software to control all the plugin's parameters and functions. This integration gives you even greater flexibility and control over your audio recordings, making it easier than ever to achieve the perfect sound.
Experience the power of ZYLIA Studio PRO v2.1.0 and take your audio recordings to the next level. With our advanced plugin, you'll be able to create immersive and realistic audio experiences that will captivate your listeners and elevate your music production to new heights.
The example project, which shows how to utilize this feature, is available >here<
Volumetric audio recording is a technique that captures sound in a way that mimics how our ears perceive sound in the real world. It captures not only the level of sound (loudness), but also the location and movement of sound sources in a room or environment. This allows for a more immersive listening experience, as the listener can perceive the sounds as if they were actually in the room where the recording was made.
There are a few different methods used to achieve volumetric audio recording. One of them is to use a grid of multiple Ambisonics microphone arrays to capture sound from different angles and positions. Additionally, the 6 degrees of freedom (6DoF) higher-order Ambisonics (HOA) rendering approach to volumetric audio recording allows the listener to move freely around the recorded space, experiencing the sound as if they were actually present in the environment.
The six degrees of freedom refer to the three linear (x, y, z) and three angular (pitch, yaw, roll) movements that can be made in a 3D space. In the context of volumetric audio recording, these movements correspond to the listener's position and orientation in the space and the position and movement of sound sources.
The resulting audio can be played back through surround sound systems or virtual reality technology to create a sense of immersion and realism.
Volumetric audio recording and 6dof rendering approach is used in a variety of applications, such as virtual reality, gaming, film, television and interactive audio installations, where the listener's movement and orientation play an important role in the experience. It also allows for a more immersive and realistic listening experience, as the listener can move around the space and hear the sound change accordingly, just as they would in the real world.
Exploring the Magic of Surround Sound with Zylia Microphone in "Hunting for Witches" Podcast
Podcasts are usually associated with two people sitting in a soundproofed room, talking into a microphone. But what if we want to add an extra layer of sound that can tell its own captivating story? That's when a regular podcast becomes a mesmerizing radio play that ignites the imagination and emotions of its listeners.
One such podcast is "Hunting for Witches" (Polish title "Polowanie na Wiedźmy") by Michał Matus, available on Audioteka. It's a documentary audio series that takes us on a journey to explore the magic of our time.
We had the privilege of speaking with the chief reporter, Michał Matus, and Katia Sochaczewska, the audio producer, about the creation of "Hunting for Witches" and the role that surround sound recording played in the production. The ZYLIA ZM-1 microphone was a key tool in capturing the unique sounds that make this podcast truly special.
For the past year, Michal has been traveling throughout Europe, visiting places where magic is practiced, meeting people who have dedicated their lives to studying various forms of magic, and documenting the secret rituals that are performed to change the course of things. The ZYLIA microphone was with him every step of the way, capturing the essence of these magical places.
“You can hear the sounds of nature during a meeting with the Danish witch Vølve, in her garden, or the summer solstice celebration at the stone circle of Stonehenge, where thousands of pagan followers, druids, and party-goers were drumming, dancing, and singing.”
"I also used Zylia when I knew a scene was going to be spectacular in terms of sound, with many different sound sources around." Michał recalls. “So, through Zylia, I recorded the summer solstice celebration at the stone circle of Stonehenge, where thousands of followers of pagan beliefs, druids and ordinary party people had fun drumming, dancing and singing. It was similar when visiting Roma witches who allowed their ritual to be recorded. All these places and events have a spatial sound that was worth preserving so that we could later recall them in the sound story.”
Want to learn more about 3D audio podcasts?
This version of the driver is prepared for macOS 13 and macOS 12. The package for this driver contains only the driver for macOS 12 and 13, for the older one please still use version 2.10.0. As it is still a kernel extension, on Apple silicon machines, you need to enable kernel extensions from Recovery Mode. The whole instruction is available on the Apple webpage and also here.
This software is a key element of the ZYLIA 6DoF Navigable Audio system and is agnostic with respect to media sources. It allows you to reproduce immersive sound fields in any position by interpolating between adjacent higher-order Ambisonics signals. These higher-order Ambisonic signals can be recorded or synthetic immersive media assets. ZYLIA 6DoF Ambisonic interpolation offers immersive audio experiences with minimal demands on CPU processing. A Wwise plugin is a tool ready for your VR and game projects.
- Developers can use the ZYLIA 6DoF HOA Wwise authoring tool on Windows.
- Users can experience the ZYLIA 6DoF HOA Renderer through the Wwise SDK available on Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android.
- ZYLIA 6DoF HOA Renderer processes multiple synchronized ambisonic files in real-time.
- Set and control the listener’s position and orientation and interpolate between multiple Ambisonics spheres within the Wwise workflow.
- All parameters in the plugin (listener position, orientation, microphone position and orientation as well as interpolation parameters) are controllable via RTPC.
- Process up to 30 Ambisonics sources in real-time on Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android to create navigable 6DoF experiences for large scenes in games or VR.
Dolby Atmos and Atmos Music are one of the hottest topics in immersive audio these days. Through this new format, consumers can enjoy immersive audio over various playback solutions like multichannel home theatre setups, sound bars, or as binaural renderings through headphones, some of which even offer integrated head tracking. The other audio format playing an important role in creating immersive experiences in VR, AR, and XR is Higher-order Ambisonics (HOA). With the ZYLIA ZM-1 from Zylia, there is a convenient, practical and affordable solution to record sound in HOA with high spatial resolution. The question now is, how can HOA be combined with Dolby Atmos?
Content of the article
Higher-order Ambisonics (HOA) overview
It is important to know that the raw output of an Ambisonics microphone array, the A-format, needs to be converted into what is known as the B-format before using it in an Ambisonics production workflow. This is sometimes a bit of an obstacle for the novice. Unlike in a channel-based approach, the audio channels of the B-format are not associated in a direct way with spatial directions or positions, like the positions of speakers in the playback system, for instance. However, the more abstract representation of the sound scene in the B-format makes sound field operations like rotations fairly straightforward.
Although multichannel audio is at its base, the B-format is only an intermediary step and requires decoding before you can listen to a meaningful output. This decoding process can either yield speaker feeds ranging from classic stereo to multichannel surround sound setups for a conventional channel-based output, or it can result in a binaural experience over headphones. This is just one of the reasons why one would like to deliver immersive audio recorded through Ambisonics over playback solutions that support Dolby Atmos. For delivering a mobile and immersive listener experience with comparably small hardware requirements, the capabilities of headphones with integrated head-tracking are particularly attractive.
For FOA recordings, the A- and the B-format have both 4 channels. The spatial resolution is limited, and sound sources usually appear as if they are all at the same remote distance. For full-sphere HOA solutions the A-format has typically more channels than the B-format. As an example, the ZYLIA ZM-1 has 19 channels as raw A-format output and 16 channels after converting it to 3rd order Ambisonics. It is important to remember these channel counts when planning your workflow with respect to the capacities of the DAW in question.
Dolby Atmos overview
In order to represent rich 360° audio content, Dolby Atmos can handle internally up to 128 channels of audio. The Audio Definition Model (ADM) ensures a proper representation of all the metadata related to these channels. Dolby Atmos files are distributed through the Broadcast Wave Format (BWF) . From a mixing point of view, and also for combining it with Ambisonics, it is important to be aware of two main concepts in Dolby Atmos: beds and audio objects.
You can think of beds in two ways:
- Beds are a channel-based-inspired representation of audio content following surround sound speaker layouts plus additional up to 4 height channels.
- In terms of audio content that you would send to beds, this can be for instance music that you mix for a specific surround setting. You can also think of it in general terms as soundscapes that provide a background or atmosphere for other audio elements. This background sound is spatially resolved.
If you think for instance of a nature soundscape, this could be trees with rustling leaves and a creek with running water, all sound sources with more or less distinct positions. Take an urban soundscape as another example and think of traffic with various moving cars, these are sound sources that change their positions, but you would want to use the scene as is and not touch the sources individually in your mix. These are all examples of immersive audio content that you would send to beds.
Dolby Atmos also allows for sounds to be interpreted as objects with positions in three dimensions. In a mix, these are objects that allow for control of their position in x, y, and z independently of the position of designated speaker channels. See below , for reading up more on beds and objects.
HOA recordings in Dolby Atmos
While beds are channel-based in their conception, they may be rendered differently, depending on the speaker count and layout of your system. Think of beds as your main mix bus and let’s think of input for beds as surround configurations (2.0, 3.0, 5.0, 5.1, 7.0, 7.1, 7.0.2, or 7.1.2). In order to take advantage of the high resolution of 3rd order recordings made with the ZYLIA ZM-1, we will pick the 7.0.2 configuration with 7 horizontal and two elevated frontal speakers and we will decode the Ambisonic B-format to a virtual 7.0.2 speaker configuration. This results in a proper input for a Dolby Atmos bed.
Starting with a raw recording made with the ZYLIA ZM-1 we will then have the following signal chain:
Step one is the raw output of the microphone array, the A-format. For the ZYLIA ZM-1 this is an audio file with 19 channels. From a post-production and mixing perspective, all that matters here is where you placed your microphone with respect to the sound sources. If you want your work environment to include this step of the signal chain, the tracks of your DAW need to be able to accommodate 19 channels. But this is not absolutely necessary, you can start with step 2.
The 3rd order Ambisonic B-format contains 16 channels. For the conversion from step one to step two, you can use the Ambisonic Converter plugin from Zylia . If your DAW cannot accommodate the necessary 19 channels for step one you can also convert offline with the ZYLIA Ambisonics Converter application, which also offers you batch conversion for multiple assets . In many situations, it is advisable to start the signal chain with step 2, in order to save the CPU resources used by the A to B conversion for other effects. From a mixing perspective, operations that you apply here are mostly rotations, and global filtering, limiting or compression of the immersive sound scene that you want to send to Atmos beds. You will apply these operations based on how the immersive bed interacts with the objects that you may want to add to your scene later. There are various recognized free tools available to manipulate HOA B-format, for instance, the IEM  or SPARTA  plugin suites.
Then, The Ambisonic B-Format needs to be decoded to a virtual surround speaker configuration. For this conversion from the B-format, you can use various decoders that are again available from multiple plugin suites like IEM and SPARTA. ZYLIA Studio Pro  allows you to decode to a virtual surround layout directly from step one, the raw A-format recordings, which means that you can bypass step 2. For some background audio content, this maybe a perfectly suitable choice. Part of the roadmap for ZYLIA Studio Pro is to also offer A-format input, making it a versatile high-quality decoder. From a mixing perspective and depending on the content of your bed input, you may want to choose different virtual surround configurations to decode to. Some content might be good on a smaller, more frontal bed e.g. 3.1, and other content will need to be more enveloping. If your DAW has a channel count per track that is limited to surround sound setups, you will need to premix these beds as stems.
This bed then needs to be routed to Dolby Atmos. The details are beyond the scope of this article, and there are many excellent tutorials available that describe this process in detail. Here I want to mention that some DAWs have Dolby Atmos renderers built in, and you can study everything you practically need to know within these DAWs. With other DAWs, you will need to use the external Dolby Bridge . This has a steeper learning curve to it but there are also many excellent tutorials out there that cover these topics . There are also hardware solutions for Dolby Atmos renderings which interface with your speaker setup, but we will not cover them here. In Dolby Atmos, you will likely also integrate additional sources as objects, and you will control their 3D pan position with the Dolby Atmos Music Panner plug-in in your DAW. From a mixing perspective: the sonic interaction between the bed and the objects will probably make you revisit steps 2 and step 3 in order to rebalance, compress or limit your bed to optimise your mix.
You will need to monitor your mix to make sure that the end user experience is perfect. Only very few of us will have access to a Dolby Atmos studio for their work. For bedroom studio owners, you can listen to your mix always over headphones as a binaural rendering, on some recent OSX platforms over the inbuilt Atmos speakers, and with AirPods even over headphones with built-in headtracking. These solutions might be options depending on what you are producing for. Regarding this highly debated question, on whether you can mix and master over headphones, I found the following article very insightful , elaborating on all pros and cons and also pointing out that the overwhelming majority of end users will listen to music over headphones. With regards to an Ambisonic mix, using headphones means that the listener will be always in the sweet spot of the spatial reproduction.
The workflow in selected DAWs
Reaper is amongst the first choices when it comes to higher-order Ambisonics, due to its 64-channel count per track. Hence for the HOA aspect of the workflow sketched above, there are no limitations. However, you will need to familiarize yourself with the Dolby Bridge and the Dolby Atmos Music Panner plug-in.
In regular Pro Tools, you will also use the Dolby Atmos Music Panner plug-in and the Dolby Bridge. Since Pro Tools has a limitation of 16 channels per track, you will need to convert all your Ambisonic assets to B-format before you can start mixing. Upgrading to Pro Tools Studio or Flex  adds Dolby Atmos ADM BWF import/export, native immersive panning, I/O set-up integration with the Dolby Atmos Renderer, and a number of other Dolby Atmos workflow features as well as Ambisonics tracks.
In the most recent versions of Logic, Dolby Atmos is completely integrated, so no need to use the Dolby Bridge. For the monitoring of your mix, Logic will play nicely with all Atmos-ready features from Apple hardware. However, the channel count per track is limited to beds with 7.1.4. In theory, this means that you would have to premix all the beds as multichannel stems. While you can import ADM BWF files, as the Dolby Atmos project is ready for mixing, it is less obvious how to import a bed input as discussed above. In any case, once you have a premixed bed, the only modifications available to you in the mixing process are multi-mono plugins (e.g., filters), so you cannot rotate the Ambisonic sound field anymore at this point. To summarize for Logic, while Dolby Atmos is very well integrated, the HOA part of the signal chain is more difficult to realize.
Nuendo also has Dolby Atmos integrated and it also features dedicated Ambisonic tracks up to 3rd order which can be decoded to surround tracks. This means you have a complete environment for the steps of the workflow described above.
While being mostly known as a video editing environment, DaVinci Resolve features a native Dolby Atmos renderer that can import and export master files. This allows for a self-contained Dolby Atmos workflow in Resolve without the need for the Dolby Atmos Production or Mastering Suite. DaVinci Resolve also has the Dolby Atmos renderer integrated and the tracks can host multichannel audio assets and effects.
If you like this article, then please let us know in the comments what we should describe in more detail in future articles?
- M. Gerzon, "Periphony: With Height Sound Reproduction," J. Audio Eng. Soc., vol. 21, no. 1, pp. 2-10, (1973 February.)
- J. Daniel, J. Rault, and J. Polack, "Ambisonics Encoding of Other Audio Formats for Multiple Listening Conditions," Paper 4795, (1998 September).
- R. Nicol, and M. Emerit, "3D-Sound Reproduction Over an Extensive Listening Area: A Hybrid Method Derived from Holophony and Ambisonic," Paper 16-039, (1999 March).
- An article by Jérôme Daniel about the HOA from the Ambisonics symposium 2009: LINK
- F. Zotter, M. Frank, "Ambisonics: A practical 3D audio theory for recording, studio production, sound reinforcement, and virtual reality", Springer Nature; 2019: LINK
- Here, you find more information about the broadcast Wave format BWF: LINK
 The Zylia Ambisonics Converter plugin: LINK
 The Zylia Ambisonics Converter: LINK
 The IEM plugin suite: LINK
 The SPARTA plugin suite: LINK
 Zylia Studio Pro plugin: LINK
 A video tutorial for using the Dolby Bridge with Pro Tools: LINK
 A video tutorial for using the Dolby Bridge with Reaper: LINK
 An blog post about the limits and possibilities of mixing Dolby Atmos via headphones by Edgar Rothermich: LINK
 Information about Dolby support for various DAWs: LINK
 Here you can compare Protools versions and their Dolby and HOA support: LINK
#zylia #dolbyatmos #ambisonics
Since then, various organizations and private companies have been mobilizing their R&D teams to find technologies that could connect virtual reality, social media, and teleconference systems. Metaverse Standard Forum indicates the vast potential of what we can develop together.
Zylia started to work on tools for making volumetric audio many years before people even heard about Metaverse. We wanted to be ready once they are most needed – this time has come!
Follow the activities of Metaverse Standard Forum to stay on top of the technologies that will drive Metaverse in the next few years.
#metaverse #virtualreality #gamedevelopment #opportunities #zylia #Volumetric #6dofAudio #3Daudio #immersive
The biggest change introduced in all the applications is support for Ubuntu 22.04 (kernel version 5.15). Also, there were introduced some minor bug fixes and usability improvements.
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