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New Plugin: aXMeter Ambisonic Meter

aXMeter Ambsionic meter with a third order input signal

It’s time for a new plugin – and it’s free!

The aXMeter is an Ambisonic meter plugin (VST, AAX, AU) that shows the RMS and peak levels for each of the Ambisonic channels up to seventh-order. It’s GUI size varies dynamically depending on the order of the signal it receives. For first- to third-order it shows all of the channels up to third-order. If the input is a higher order it expands to show the new channels.

Just like previous updates, this plugin exists because it was requested by users who thought it would improve their workflow. So, if there is some feature you’d like to see added or a plugin you think would be worth having, get in touch! The more requests a particular feature gets, the faster it gets made.

And the Summer Sale is continuing. There are discounts of 20% to 50% on all of the plugins in the shop. If you purchase something then you’ll be helping to support independent development of spatial audio tools.

If you want to download the free aXMeter head over here.

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aX Ambisonics AAX Release + Sale

There is plenty to get through in this post. There is some big news, so let’s get right to it!

AAX Release – aX Plugins in ProTools

A lot of people have asked for the aX Ambisonics Plugins to be available in AAX format so I’m very happy to release them. At this point they are as a public beta (you can download the demo versions to test on your system) but they have been stable for private beta testers.

Please note that the plugins run on the Ambisonic buses available in Pro Tools Ultimate (formerly HD). Unfortunately, you cannot use them with the standard version of Pro Tools at this point.

Also note that the seventh order a7 Plugins will run in Pro Tools but are limited to third order processing by Pro Tools bus structure. If you work exclusively with Pro Tools, and don’t need VST versions, then you can save money by picking up the a3 Plugins – you won’t benefit from the a7 versions.

Bundle Discounts

You can now buy the full set of 7 plugins in one click as a bundle for a discounted price of 30% less when compared to buying them all individually. You can get them from the online shop here.

Sale Pricing

Until 31st July 2018 there will be at least a 20% discount on all plugin prices. The aXPanner and aXMonitor will continue with the 50% discount. Check out the shop for more details.

Academic Discount

If you plan on using the plugins for academic or educational purposes then the you can get in touch for a discount code for substantial extra discounts.

New Activation System

In order to provide offline activation, and perhaps a subscription payment option, the plugin activation system has been changed. If you are an existing customer you will need to enter the new activation number to the plugins after installing the new updates. This should be available in your account. I will also email out all of the updated serial numbers to ensure everyone gets them. If they are not listed in your account or you need the update before I have a chance to email you, please get in touch

Bug fixes

All formats of the aX Plugins have had a number of improvements to stability and performance under the hood. This won’t change how you use them but should improve the overall experience.

Aside from these performance enhancements, a bug was fixed in the macOS version of the aXMonitor that stopped custom HRTFs loading after they had been processed.

Coming Soon…

I am working on a few new plugins that will be out in the next few months. Some will be simple (and free), while another is shaping up to be something really interesting. Check back here to keep up to date!

In the meantime, if you want to support further development you can purchase the existing plugins at the web shop. Thank you for your support.

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aXMonitor Update: Personalised Binaural with SOFA Support

The aXMonitor plugins are today updated to version 1.3.2. If you have already bought one of the aXMonitor plugins, you can download the update from your account.  You should remove any old versions of the plugin from your system to avoid any conflicts.

Today’s update is all about getting more flexibility and personalisation for binaural rendering of Ambisoinics. This is probably the most requested feature update for any of my plugins, so I am very happy to be able to announce the new feature:

  • Load an HRTF stored in a .SOFA file for custom binaural rendering.

This allows you to produce binaural rendering for up to seventh order Ambisonics with whatever HRTF you want, providing you with the flexibility you need to produce the highest quality spatial audio content possible.

If you aren’t sure why so many people want personal HRTF support, keep reading.

Advantages of Personalised Binaural

Binaural 3D audio can be vastly improved by listening with a personalised HRTF (head related transfer function). It’s the auditory equivalent of wearing someone else’s glasses vs wearing your own. Sure, you can see most of what is going on with someone else’s glass, but you lose detail and precision. Wear your own and everything comes into focus!

With that in mind, the aXMonitor plugins have been updated to allow you to load a custom HRTF that is stored in a .SOFA file. Now you can use your own individual HRTF (if you have it) or one that you know works well for you. Once an HRTF has been loaded it will be available across to all instances of the plugin in other projects.

What is a .SOFA file?

A .SOFA file contains a lot of information about a measured HRTF (though it can be used for other things as well). You can read more about them here.

Where to get custom HRTFs

You can find a curated list of .SOFA databases here. The best thing to do is to try a few of them until you find one that gives you an accurate perception of the sound source directions. Pay particular attention to the elevation and front-back confusions, since these are what personalised HRTFs help most with.

If you want an HRTF that fits your head/ears exactly then your options are bit more limited. Either you can find somewhere, usually an academic research institute, that has an anechoic chamber and the appropriate equipment. Then you put some microphones in your ears and sit still for 20-120 minutes (depending on their system). Once it’s done, you have your HRTF!

But if you don’t fancy going to all of that trouble, there are some options for getting a personalised HRTF more easily. A method by 3D Sound Labs requires only a small number of photographs and they claim good results. Finnish company IDA also offers a similar service.

Get the aXMonitor

So if you like the sound of customised binaural rendering then you can purchase the aXMonitor from my online shop. Doing so will help support independent development of tools for spatial audio.


a1Monitor


a3Monitor


a7Monitor

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50% Discount on aXPanner and aXMonitor

Today I’m having April sale and putting a 50% discount on my Ambisonic panning and decoding plugins for Windows (VST) and MacOS (VST/AU): aXPanner and aXMonitor. This offer runs until the 30th April 2018.

The aXPanner converts mono and stereo signals to YouTube360 compatible AmbiX-format Ambisonics. The aXMonitor decodes these Ambisonic signals to two-channel stereo and binaural (3D audio over headphones) formats to allow easy monitoring. Together they form the essential signal chain for spatial audio and are a great way to get started with Ambisonics.

You can check out my short tutorial on getting started with a basic Ambisonics chain here.

The aXPanner and aXMonitor available for three levels of spatial resolution: first, third and seventh order Ambisonics. Higher orders increases the spatial fidelity of the sound scene.

This 50% discount can be combined with additional 20% bundle discounts for additional savings.

You can read more details about them in my web store :

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o1Panner Updates to a1Panner

The o1Panner is dead. Long live a1Panner!

My first plugin release was a free first order encoder called the o1Panner. Today it gets an update to version 1.0.1 and a new name. Here is a list of the updates:

  • name change from o1Panner to a1Panner to match the naming convention of the rest of the aX Ambisonic Plugins.
  • Unifies the colour scheme with the rest of the a1 Ambisonic Plugins.
  • Removes the JUCE splash screen on first open of the plugin during a session.
  • Now available as an AudioUnit on Mac.
  • 32 bit Windows version available.
  • Mac VST and AU are now Universal Binary.

So, no changes to the features, just added flexibility to where you can use it.

To get the update, go to your Account page and download from the download link available there.

And no changes to the price – it’s still free!


Download a1Panner

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aXMonitor Update: Google Resonance Audio HRTFs

Today the aXMonitor plugins get their first major update to version 1.2.2. There are two major updates and one minor updates. Let’s start with the major updates:

  • The HRTFs used for binaural 3D sound have been regenerated using Google’s own Resonance Audio toolkit for VR audio. These are the same HRTFs used by Google in YouTube 360. The code released by Google is only up to 5th order, but was actually quite simple to extend to 7th order.
  • A gain control has been added to boost or cut the overall level for convenience.

The minor update is a fix to make sure the plugin reports the correct latency to the host when using the Binaural or UHJ Super Stereo (FIR) methods.

Google have just open sourced their Resonance Audio SDK, including all sorts of tools for spatial audio rendering. This update to ensures that you can aXMonitor ensures that you can mix your content on HRTFs that will be widely used across the industry.

The aXMonitor is available in 3 versions, providing up to first, third and seventh order Ambisonics-to-binaural decoding.

So if you’d like to start mixing your VR/AR/MR audio content just head over to my store. With your support, I can continue to update the aX Ambisonics Plugins to bring you the tools you want and need.


a1Monitor


a3Monitor


a7Monitor

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aXRotate Update to v1.2.0: Now With Head Tracking!


The aXRotate plugin receives an update today to version 1.2.0 and it’s a big one!  What’s more, it now comes as a (Universal Binary) AudioUnit format for Mac!

If you have already bought it, you can download the update from the download section of your Account page. If you haven’t, you can pick it up at my online shop!


a1Rotate


a3Rotate


a7Rotate

Version 1.0.0 was a plain vanilla Ambisonics rotation with yaw, pitch and roll control. Version 1.2.0 adds two new features that massively increase its usefulness:

  • Get head tracking by connect an EDTracker module.
  • Increase the spaciousness of your static binaural mixes by adding micro oscillations to the sound scene.

Let’s go into both of these new features in a bit more detail.
Continue reading aXRotate Update to v1.2.0: Now With Head Tracking!

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Product Spotlight: aXCompressor

a7Compressor- Seventh order Ambisonics compressor plugin

The aXCompressor is a compressor VST plugin (Windows and Mac) made specifically for Ambisonics signals. It comes in three variations: first order (a1), third order (a3) and seventh order (a7), allowing you to process . They accept any Ambisonics format that has the W channel as the first channel. This means it works for the more modern AmbiX and legacy FuMa format.

There are plenty of Ambisonics encoders and decoders but not so many things to process between these two points on the signal chain. I wanted to help bring some of the tools we take for granted when working in stereo to VR/AR and immersive audio, hence the aX Plugins. If you’re interested in trying out any of the plugins, including the aXCompressor, you can download the demo versions. You can support future development by making a purchase at from my web shop.
Continue reading Product Spotlight: aXCompressor

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Introducing the aX Ambisonics Plugins

a7Compressor- Seventh order Ambisonics compressor plugin

Today I am very happy to be releasing my latest work: the aX Ambisonics plugins. They are the result of a lot of work and it is great to be able to finally release them into the world.

The aX Plugins are a set of VST plugins intended to make your work with spatial and immersive audio that little bit easier. They come in three variations each with equivalent plugins – a1, a3 and a7.

Which one you choose will depend on the level of spatial resolution you need for your project (how accurately the spatial properties are reproduced to the final listener). The different levels are known in the Ambisonics world as the order and can theoretically go to infinity. In practice we can (thankfully!) stop somewhere quite a bit before infinity! The aX Plugins give you a choice between basic, advanced and future-proof version.

What are the plugins and what can they do?

There are currently seven plugins in each suite with a different purpose. Here is a quick summary:

  1. aXPanner – a stereo to Ambisonics encoder to bring your sounds into the spatial domain.
  2. aXRotate – this plugin will let you rotate a single track or a full sound scene to make sure you have everything exactly where you want it.
  3. aXMonitor – Ambisonics needs a decoder to be listened to. This plugin decodes to binaural 3D audio (over headphones) or to standard stereo. This means you can always share your creativity via traditional channels.
  4. aXCompressor – Ambisonics requires careful handling of the audio to avoid changing the spatial balance. aXCompressor lets you compress the signal without alteration.
  5. aXGate – simiarly, this plugin acts as a noise gate and downwards expander while preserving the spatial fidelity.
  6. aXEqualizer – safely sculpt the tone of your signals.
  7. aXDelay – get creative with five independent delay modules that can be rotated independently of the original signal.

I will be doing a series of posts going into more detail about each plugin. You can also get more information on the product pages. In the meantime, if you are curious, you can download demo versions of these plugins (for evaluation purposes only) here and if you like them you can support future development by buying them from the shop. Thanks!

a1Monitor - First order Ambisonics stereo and binaural decoding plugin
a3Equalizer - Third order Ambisonics EQ plugin
a7Compressor- Seventh order Ambisonics compressor plugin
a7Delay - Seventh order Ambisonics delay plugin
a3Gate - Third order Ambisonics gate and downwards expander plugin
a3Monitor - Third order Ambisonics stereo and binaural rendering plugin
a3Panner - Third order Ambisonics encoder/panner plugin
a1Delay - First order Ambisonics delay plugin
a1Equalizer- First order Ambisonics equalizer plugin
a1Gate - First order Ambisonics gate and downwards expander plugin
a1Rotate - First order Ambisonics rotator plugin
a1Compressor - First order Ambisonics compressor plugin
a3Compressor- Third order Ambisonics compressor plugin
a3Rotate - Third order Ambisonics rotate plugin
a3Delay - Third order Ambisonics delay plugin
a7Panner - Seventh order Ambisonics encoder/panner plugin
a7Monitor - Seventh order Ambisonics stereo and binaural rendering plugin
a7Gate - Seventh order Ambisonics gate and downwards expander plugin
a7Equalizer - Seventh order Ambisonics EQ plugin
a7Rotate - Seventh order Ambisonics rotate plugin
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What’s Missing From Your 3D Sound Toolbox?

Audio for VR/AR is getting a lot of attention these days, now that people are realising how essential good spatial audio is for an immersive experience. But we still don’t have as many tools as are available for stereo. Not even close!

This is because Ambisonics has to handled carefully when processing in order to keep the correct spatial effect – even a small phase change between channels significantly alter the spatial effect – so there are very few plugins that can be used after the sound has been encoded.

To avoid this problem we can apply effects and processing before spatial encoding, but then we are restricted in what we can do and how we can place it. It is also not an option if you are using an Ambisonics microphone (such as the SoundField, Tetra Mic or AMBEO VR), because it is already encoded! We need to be able to process Ambisonics channels directly without destroying the spatial effect.

So, what is missing from your 3D sound toolbox? Is there a plugin that you would reach for in stereo that doesn’t exist for spatial audio? Maybe you want to take advantage of the additional spatial dimensions but don’t have a tool to help you do that. Whatever you need, I am interested in hearing about it. I have a number of plugins that will be available soon that will fulfil some technical and creative requirements, but there can always be more! In fact, I’ve already released the first one for free. I am particularly interested in creative tools that would be applied after encoding but before decoding.

With that in mind, I am asking what you would like to see that doesn’t exist. If you are the first person to suggest an idea (either via the form or in the comments) and I am able to make it into a plugin then you’ll get a free copy! There is plenty of work to do to get spatial audio tools to the level of stereo but, with your help, I want to make a start.