A. Status quo
The audio world is about to make the transition from stereo and surround to 3-dimensional recording and playback.
In the cinema world, processes such as Dolby Atmos and dts:X have established themselves to a certain extent - however, 3D spatiality in the corresponding films usually only takes place during individual passages and in a strongly effect related manner.
3D spatial music reproduction, however, plays only a marginal role in the audio market. Methods such as Auro 3D and Dolby Atmos, as well as similar methods using the MPEG-H audio standard in the version propagated by Fraunhofer IIS, are apparently not very robust even at the recording stage: successful recordings can only be found in certain music styles and when certain spatial environments are used.
The reproduction in the home audio situation is particularly problematic: it requires an elaborate and precise loudspeaker installation in rooms with suitable geometry, for which the possibilities and acceptance are lacking in a broader circle of music lovers.
The problem of 3D spatial headphone reproduction remains unsolved:
a. So-called binaural recordings address this reproduction situation, but so far they have almost always been dummy head recordings, which only have a very weak spatial effect,
b. Attempts to simulate loudspeaker reproduction of multi-channel processes via headphones prove to be aesthetically unsatisfactory to a large extent.
In summary: channel-based 3D audio processes (Dolby Atmos, dts:X, Auro 3D, soon also Sony 360 Reality Audio) are likely to be on their way to a dead end, and there is no satisfying solution for 3D spatial headphone listening either.
The "soundfield" procedure Ambisonics could offer a way out. In its original version (today called 1st order Ambisonics) it was developed in the 1970s in Great Britain, but failed in the 1980s and 1990s due to its low spatial resolution, which was unsuitable for professional purposes.
Since about the year 2000, Ambisonics has been further developed, initially in academic circles, towards higher spatial resolution: HOA (Higher Order Ambisonics). Meanwhile there are a number of professional tools for audio processing in 3rd order, and already in 2020 recordings and mixes in 5th order could be possible outside experimental setups.
However, HOA seems to be unsuitable for music recordings so far, because the listener may not get a satisfying feeling of spatiality. At least the effects work well, similar to the above mentioned channel-based methods in cinema.
In this confusing and somewhat muddled situation Saalakustik.de has invented and developed unexpected solutions (algorithms and several methods), on the basis of which an outstanding sound as well as commercially extremely promising further development of 3D audio is possible. In particular, they put music recording and playback with Higher Order Ambisonics on a completely new base and are presented on the following pages.
Some of these methods, as well as the algorithms, are already available as developed prototypes, while others are still in an earlier stage of development.
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