The internet giant has made another move to assert its smartphone virtual reality dominance with a brand new plugin that delivers spatial audio to virtual, augmented and mixed reality experiences, called Resonance Audio.
Although games and apps have made use of stereo and surround sound audio for a long number of years, the advent of virtual reality offers a slightly different problem. It’s all well and good having left and right audio separation, but what if the user turns around? Suddenly the sound is hitting the wrong ears and the illusion is broken.
Spatial audio is the key. Just as the headset does with visuals, spatial audio anchors the sound in a specific place within the virtual world, requiring the channel separation to “move” around the user’s ear-balls. as they explore the VR environment. Or AR, of course. And there’s more, because it also needs to create the perception of depth, since characters, objects and sounds are at different (also changing) distances from the user. It’s a tricky task that, don’t well, will actually go completely unnoticed by the player because everything will seem to natural.
The Resonance Audio tools are compatible with a wide range of VR platforms, and not just Google’s own Daydream and Cardboard:
- Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)
The suite of spatialization tools provide access to functions such as directivity, near-field effects, volumetric sources, reverberation, occlusions and implementing your own ambisonic audio recordings.
Documentation and tutorials are pretty extensive over on the official Resonance Audio page, and covers the SDK’s usage across a number of its compatible platforms including Unity, Unreal, FMOD and Android, so go check it out and let us know your opinions on this interesting new VR tool.