How to stream 3D audio in binaural format with ZYLIA ZM-1 and ZYLIA Ambisonics Converter Plugin
by Tomasz Ciotucha
You are probably sitting at home and taking advantage of excess time and learning new things. If someone is interested in getting new skills in binaural streaming then this blog post is for you.
The binaural audio takes advantage of psychoacoustic principles to mimic the human hearing system. It forms an immersive projection that appears to be around your head - not between your ears and headphones.
Here you have a popular example of binaural audio (listen on headphones):
Using ZYLIA ZM-1 you can capture high-resolution binaural audio. This can occur in real-time, so you can stream it online to other people. To achieve this, you will need ZYLIA Ambisonics Converter Plugin, Soundflower, IEM Binaural Decoder, and, of course - a ZYLIA ZM-1 microphone array. In this post, you will find out how to set everything up on your Mac system.
We have also prepared a Reaper template project for you, but you can do it in any DAW which supports 19-channel tracks. The template project is available for download just below this paragraph. In this post you will find out how to set everything up.
1. IEM Binaural Decoder
You will have to install the whole IEM suite. Visit the page: https://plugins.iem.at/
Download the suite and install the software. Now you can proceed to the next steps.
To download the software use the link below:
Scroll down to the bottom of the site and click on “Soundflower-2.0b2.dmg” in the “Assets” area to start downloading.
After the successful installation in “Audio MIDI Setup” there should show up “Soundflower (2ch)” and “Soundflower (64ch)” devices. This step is just to check if the Soundflower is installed correctly.
If you want to use the Reaper template project provided by us, you can jump to point 3.b after completing the steps described in this paragraph. You can download the project from this site. If you want to set up the Reaper session on your own, proceed through point 3.a.
Make sure that your ZYLIA ZM-1 microphone array is connected to your computer. If you are using the template, open it, and if not, create a new project. First you have to go to Reaper’s preferences and select Zylia as an Input Device and Soundflower (2ch) as an Output Device. You have to tick the box marked in the image below to allow use of different input and output devices
3.a Setting up a new Reaper project
In the new project create an audio track by hitting ⌘ + T. Then you have to configure the track’s routing, by hitting the “Route” button which is next to the track’s fader in the mixer session (marked “1” in the image). A new window should appear. There, you have to specify the amount of track channels to 20 (marked “2” in the image). Make sure that “Master send” is ticked.
Then you have to arm the track by clicking the red circle in the track panel (marked “1” in the image). Before the next step, you may have to make the track a bit wider by dragging its bottom line down (marked with an arrow in the image) so the “IN FX” shows up (orange rectangle in the image).
Now, select input channels to “Input 1..Input 20 [20 chan]” by clicking on the area highlighted in the image.
Two new windows should show up. Search for ZYLIA Ambisonics Converter Plugin and add click OK. Then add another plugin, IEM Binaural Decoder. If you haven’t downloaded the IEM plugin yet, go back to the first step of this tutorial. If you managed to set everything as described here, now you can proceed to next steps described in point 3.b.
3.b Using template project
4. Setting up streaming software (in this case OBS)
In OBS, go to preferences and specify the number of input channels to Stereo and select the Soundflower (2ch) as an input device (Mic/Auxillary Audio). Disable the Desktop Audio.
Click OK to save the settings. You might have to restart the OBS.
Now everything should be set up and you should get input signal from your ZYLIA ZM-1, as marked here in the image below.
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Thank you for this tutorial! Special thanks for the project in Reaper. It' s obvious that you have done a lot of work here.
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