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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

aXCompressor - Tenth 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

aXCompressor - Tenth 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.

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Free Ambisonics Plugin: o1Panner

I am working on some spatial audio plugins to provide some more tools for VR/AR audio and I am kicking things off with a freebie: the o1Panner. It is free to download from the Shop.

What is it?

The o1Panner a simple first-order Ambisonics encoder with a width control.

How to use it

There are two display types: top-down and rectangular. The azimuth, elevation and width are controlled in different ways in each of these views. The views are selected by right clicking on the display.

For the top-down view, azimuth is controlled by clicking and dragging on the main display, the elevation is controlled by holding shift and dragging up/down and width is controlled by holding ctrl and dragging up/down.

For the rectangular view, azimuth and elevation correspond to the x- and y-coordinates respectively and width is controlled by holding ctrl and dragging up/down.

What does it output?

The output is AmbiX (SN3D/ACN) Ambisonics. This is the format used by Google for YouTube 360 and is quickly being adopted as the standard for Ambisonics and HOA.

What’s coming up?

I am working on several Ambisonics and HOA plugins that will be available in 2018. Some of them will do things that other plugins do, but most of them should do something new. Some of them will do something more creative and experimental. If you want to see a certain effect for spatial audio, just get in touch and let me know what you want. If you’re the first person to suggest a plugin that gets developed then you will get a free copy to say thanks!

What about HOA?

The industry is rapidly moving on from first-order Ambisonics and embracing HOA. For example, ProTools recently added support up to third-order Ambisonics. Higher order tools are in the pipeline, so check back soon.

Stay Up To Date

If you want to keep current with upcoming plugin news and about updates to the o1Panner, subscribe to the mailing list:

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JUCE for Spatial Audio

Several years ago I wrote some VST plugins for Ambisonics (available here) using the Steinberg VSTSDK and it definitely wasn’t particularly easy. Since then I’ve discovered JUCE – a framework that lets you get plugins up and running in no time. It handles all of the back-end stuff, meaning you just need to focus on the DSP and GUI.

I’ve already prototyped a few new plugins, just for fun, and I’m amazed at how fast it makes development. Not only does it handle the plugin “bookkeeping”, it includes all sorts of modules with common tools, making coding so much easier. And on top of all that, it allows for easy cross-platform compilation! I just need to get myself a Mac to actually take advantage of that…

I wish I had used JUCE the first time around!