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AES Announces 3D Audio Standard

The new AES69-2015 provides standards for the development of 3D, binaural audio to help drive the adoption of this increasingly popular form of audio.


AES Announces 3D Audio Standard
The AES69-2015 standard from the Audio Engineering Society Standards Committee provides guidelines for the development of binaural audio for 3D listening applications.
Robert Archer · March 13, 2015

The Audio Engineering Society (AES) has published its new AES69-2015 standard, which provides a framework for the growing binaural and 3D personal audio industries. The standard, which describes the format and exchange of spatial acoustics files, is the product of the AES Standards Committee.

The AES69-2015 standard is viewed by the committee as a boost to the evolving 3D audio field. Binaural listening is growing due to increased usage of smartphones, tablets and other individual entertainment systems that offer audio using headphones, according to the industry group. AES states that an understanding of the way that the listener experiences binaural sound, expressed as head-related transfer functions (HRTF) facilitates the way to 3D personal audio.

In the past, AES points out, the lack of a standard for the exchange of HRTF data made it difficult for developers to exchange binaural capture and rendering algorithms effectively. While 3D audio continues to gain popularity among end users, binaural listening could be the very first 3D audio vector with sufficient fidelity of HRTF. 

“AES69 represents a fundamental piece of architecture for taking personal audio to a new level of performance. Using this, product developers will be able to take advantage of transfer-function databases from all over the world to produce a truly immersive 3D audio experience,” explains Bruce Olson, committee chair, Audio Engineering Society. 

The new AES69-2015 standard defines a file format to exchange space-related acoustic data in various forms. These include HRTF, as well as directional room impulse responses (DRIR). The format is designed to be scalable to match the available rendering process and is designed to be sufficiently flexible to include source materials from different databases. 

This project was developed in AES Standards Working Group SC-02-08, with the writing group being led by Matthieu Parmentier and principal authors Piotr Majdak and Markus Noisternig. The standard builds upon an earlier project to define a spatially-oriented format for acoustics (SOFA), which aimed at storing HRTF data in a general way, capable of supporting any transfer-function data measured with microphone arrays and loudspeaker arrays.

AES adds the use of convolution-based reverberation processors in 3D virtual audio environments has also grown with the increase of available computing power. Convolution-based reverberators help guarantee an authentic and natural listening experience, but also depend on the acoustic quality of the applied directional room impulse response (DRIR). Many of these issues have been of growing concern in the industry states AES, and were discussed at the recent AES 57th International Conference in Hollywood, Calif., this past fall.



  About the Author

Bob is an audio enthusiast who has written about consumer electronics for various publications within Massachusetts before joining the staff of CE Pro in 2000. Bob is THX Level I certified, and he's also taken classes from the Imaging Science Foundation (ISF) and Home Acoustics Alliance (HAA). Bob also serves as the technology editor for CE Pro's sister publication Commercial Integrator. In addition, he's studied guitar and music theory at Sarrin Music Studios in Wakefield, Mass., and he also studies Kyokushin karate at 5 Dragons in Haverhill, Mass. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Robert at rarcher@ehpub.com

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