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Thursday, October 26 • 2:00pm - 3:30pm
Factors influencing consumer acceptance of immersive audio

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Immersive audio playback is now possible at home, on the go, and on the road. We now have a historical chance to make a success of immersive audio! Yet consumer acceptance will determine the success of the current iterations of spatial/immersive audio formats.
There are many factors to achieving consumer acceptance. One of the key factors is creating a compelling listening experience, and this takes effort at both ends of the chain. Creative decisions made during mixing, along with how the reproduction system has been configured, will directly affect the end-user experience and therefore consumer acceptance.
Due to the nature of the delivery medium (a single immersive mix that needs to be compatible with all reproduction formats), there will inevitably need to be compromises made at either end of the chain:
During music mixing, will the center channel be utilised? (Indeed, is it “allowed” to be used? Some record labels stipulate that there is to be no isolated vocal in the center channel!) Will care be taken about off-center listening? Or will the mix simply ignore the majority of people in larger spaces, or all of the occupants of a car? Which tuning curve is being used in the mixing room? Are immersive mixes created on loudspeaker systems being checked using headphone playback? What about headphone-based mixes?
When setting-up the immersive sound reproduction environment, will care be taken in speaker arrays to cater for off-center listening? Does one second-guess the mixing engineer’s decisions (or the record label’s rules) and try to accommodate multiple types of mix paradigm (e.g. phantom/hard center). Which tuning curve is being used in the reproduction environment? What factors in the headphone rendering or head-tracking algorithms have an effect on sound quality?
One further discussion point is that there appears to be a quality versus quantity debate for immersive music mixes. If the market is saturated with non-compelling immersive music mixes, then consumer acceptance of the format is likely to be damaged irrevocably. In cases where budgets are extremely limited the use of automatic upmixers from stereo-to-immersive appear to be being utilized. Often only stereo stems will be available for the immersive mix. What are the benefits of mixing in immersive from the start, or having access to the multichannel stems for remixing. What are the cost implications? Are there any recommendations and best practices when remixing stereo-to-immersive?
These and other topics will be considered by the panel.

avatar for Rafael Kassier

Rafael Kassier

Senior Principal Engineer, Harman
Rafael is responsible for Harman’s scientific sound quality evaluation (Benchmarking) for European automotive sound systems and is based in Germany. Previously he worked in the audio industry and as a research fellow. His research areas are subjective evaluation, listener training... Read More →

avatar for Jacqueline Bošnjak

Jacqueline Bošnjak

CEO & Co-Founder, Mach1
avatar for Buddy Judge

Buddy Judge

Advanced Media Design, Apple
Buddy Judge likes music. He has been on both sides of the microphone during his career — as a recording artist and as a producer/engineer. He currently works at Apple Inc. where he developed the Apple Digital Masters program and recently launched Lossless and Spatial audio on Apple... Read More →

Nathaniel Kunkel

Studio Without Walls
avatar for Agnieszka Roginska

Agnieszka Roginska

Professor of Music Technology, Past President
Agnieszka Roginska is a Professor of Music Technology at New York University. She conducts research in the simulation and applications of immersive and 3D audio including the capture, analysis and synthesis of auditory environments, auditory displays and applications in augmented... Read More →
avatar for Andrew Scheps

Andrew Scheps

Owner, Tonequake
Andrew is a record producer/mixer, label owner, and software developer who has been in the industry for over 30 years.  He hasn't cut his hair or beard for at least 15 of those years.

Mark Ziemba


Thursday October 26, 2023 2:00pm - 3:30pm EDT