Why Use Tenth Order Ambisonics?
Tenth-order Ambisonics (XOA) requires 121 channels for every each audio track you are encoding. This can become a drain on your computer’s resources, especially if you are working on a large project with lots of tracks. So why should you bother with XOA instead of the much lighter third-order?
Two reasons: quality and the future.
Only the Best For You
First, let’s start with quality. Every time you increase the order of your Ambisonics sound scene you are improving the final quality of the experience. You are simultaneously increasing the realism of your audio scene and the ease and accuracy with which users can localise sounds. Each increase improves the final experience for the listener, allowing them to remain immersed in the environment you create for them.
Currently only Reaper 7 supports tracks with more than 64 channels, meaning XOA is the maximum order currently available. Unfortunately, it limits your choice of Digital Audio Workstation (DAW).
Most other DAWs are limited to 64 channels, meaning 7OA is the maximum currently available. You should check the maximum order your DAW supports. If you want >7OA you will have to move to Reaper.
Plan for the Future
You wouldn’t work hard recording a song and then archive it as an mp3. No. You save the result of your hard work as the highest quality possible and then you convert it to lower quality to fit the distribution requirements. If you want higher quality, the original is still there.
It’s the same thing with Ambisonics. You work ideally with the highest order possible and then you convert to a lower order to fit your distribution method.
Since XOA contains all the channels you need for a lower, say third, order mix so you can start working with XOA today and still easily deliver for today’s requirements (usually first or third order). But by working with XOA you will have access to the highest quality possible when decoding possibilities improve.
In fact, the mp3 analogy doesn’t even cover it all. With the mp3, you could always go back to the original multi-track project and re-export as a high resolution file. But if you want to increase the order in your Ambisonics projects you’ll have to go though it and swap every lower-order plugin for a higher-order one. That takes time. Why not save yourself the trouble and work with the highest quality available right now?