For starters, conventional VOIP audio is like using walkie-talkies. Only one person can talk at a time, and it sounds like everything is coming from a single source because it's mono.
Spatial audio recreates the way we hear sound in real life. Spatial audio delivers sounds so each source comes from a defined location in space. This makes each sound clearer and easier for the listener to understand.
Many companies like Apple, Netflix, and Amazon are building richer audio experiences within their own tech stacks. It is increasingly clear that soon, spatial audio will be the expected norm for what real time audio sounds like.
ENTERTAINMENT | apple.com
Apple released spatial audio for Apple Music back in June 2021. "Spatial audio gives artists the opportunity to create immersive audio experiences for their fans with true multidimensional sound and clarity."
In iOS 15, they've updated FaceTime with it, too. "With spatial audio, voices in a Group FaceTime call sound like they’re coming from the direction in which the person is positioned on the screen."
And as of October 2021, the new AirPods feature spatial audio as well.
ENTERTAINMENT | netflix.com
Netflix rolled out support for Apple’s spatial audio feature this past August 2021, accessible only with AirPods Pro and AirPods Max on an iPhone or iPad. "It’s designed to make you feel more immersed in what you’re listening to, with an impressive surround sound effect."
Happen to use other streaming services? You can also try out Apple’s spatial audio support on the above devices on other services like Apple TV Plus, Disney Plus, or HBO Max. Here’s a full list of supported apps.
MUSIC | music.amazon.com
As of October 2021, Amazon Music Unlimited subscribers will be able to listen to spatial audio music tracks with their favorite headphones with the Amazon Music app for Android and iOS.
“We’ve always believed that the highest-quality audio possible should be the norm for streaming music, and that’s why today, we’re making spatial audio available to our customers without any special equipment needed, and no upgrade required,” said Steve Boom, the vice president of Amazon Music.
SOCIAL AUDIO | clubhouse.com
Clubhouse is a social audio app: A new type of social network based on voice — where people around the world come together to talk, listen, and learn from each other in real-time.
To make conversations feel more natural and immersive, Clubhouse integrated High Fidelity's Local Spatializer. More than 10 million weekly active users feel like they're in rooms together.
Justin Uberti, Head of Streaming, explains that users will also enjoy a less obvious benefit: While listening to audio that is spatialized, you use less cognitive effort, and are able to understand people easier, too.
HANGOUTS & SOCIAL | skittish.com
Skittish is a virtual browser-based event platform with playful spaces to meet others, socialize online as one of their cute animal avatars, stream videos, listen to podcasts together, and much more. "What you'd get if you crossed Clubhouse with Animal Crossing."
They integrated High Fidelity's spatial audio for "better audio quality, more accurate 3D sound, lower latency, more cross-browser compatibility, many more simultaneous audio streams per room, and a much better experience for everyone."
REMOTE COLLABORATION & NETWORKING | breakroom.net
Breakroom is an immersive 3D virtual world platform for remote collaboration, networking, and events. It combines videoconferencing and collaboration tools with real-time networking and events to deliver an enhanced digital experience.
"The real benefit of having spatial audio in a virtual world like this is that you can have many conversations simultaneously. You've got directionality as well as immersion — it's easier to understand people," Adam Frisby said. "Spatial audio is the only way to reproduce the real world experience in an online environment. You can have a 150-person conference and end up with 10 groups of people speaking at the same time. That has helped us with engagement. It brings back many of the networking benefits."
VIRTUAL CONCERTS | soundstage.fm
SoundStage is a unique virtual performance platform that fosters authentic connections between music artists and their fans.
After integrating High Fidelity's spatial audio, Ara Kevonian, CEO, said that "Users were blown away by the audio experience. We’re excited to provide a means for fans to feel like they are really there with artists that have influenced them the most."
All audio is mixed on the server and sent to each user in one personalized 3D audio stream. Current available libraries include WebJS, NodeJS, Swift, and Unity.
A C++ codebase that works with audio streaming services. Each audio stream is automatically spatialized and designed to be independent of your app's user interface.