Object oriented audio for music?

ABOUT 3DAA - Recent advances in the application of 3D visual technology to cinemas and consumer displays are raising expectations for a commensurate 3D audio experience. The 3D Audio Alliance (3DAA) is a new, member-funded industry group dedicated to advancing the state of the art of 3D audio throughout the entire electronic entertainment ecosystem.
The audio-nerd in me just got very excited about “3D audio”!

I’m a huge fan of the sound of real instruments in real places as opposed to the overproduced recorded crap you can hear everywhere these days. So, naturally I love the idea of object oriented audio! 

What’s that? 

I’m by no means an expert but this is what I’ve heard so far: metadata about an object’s location is saved in the audio stream and your home speaker system uses that location data to playback that certain sound in its original location. This leads to much more useful information than your average stereo or surround mix. It’s not a fixed number of channels anymore but any number of objects in a certain position. The listener can perceive actual depth, speed, direction and location.

While this is mainly useful for movies or gaming, this could turn the whole idea of recorded music on its head and remove the artistic side of a recording/mixing engineer which essentially takes a performance and squeezes it into 2 channels (L/R) or any type of surround setup.

To apply this idea to music sounds like a niche product but I find it very exciting: hear your favourite bands as if you were there with them in a rehearsal room. Not a refined mix but their real sound in that space… Something you can probably achieve with binaural recording today but 3D audio would free you from having to wear headphones.

Surely, the recording engineer could then take any performance and manipulate that audio and meta data and still overproduce it all but I guess he’d have to do that in order to still have a job.

check out http://www.3daa.org for more information

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