Audio for Virtual and Augmented Reality

Virtual and augmented reality is a rapidly growing market with applications not only in gaming and cinematic presentations, but also in music production, broadcast, social media, healthcare and education to name but a few. Spatial audio is an essential underlying technology for VR and AR, being used not only to give a strong sense of reality, but also to add ‘hyper-reality’ to make immersive experiences visceral and plausible.

Consequently it is an exciting time for audio researchers and sound-designers as VR and AR represent the ‘killer applications’ for binaural surround sound, object-based audio and Ambisonics. Immersive head-tracked binaural sound over headphones can now be delivered to potentially billions of users through mobile technologies offering incredible creative potential for sonic artists and audio content creators. Production tools for audio for VR are starting to mature with digital audio workstations now adopting Ambisonic bus structures with a proliferation of new plugins to support VR/AR workflows.

The excitement in the field was felt strongly at the first AES International Conference on Audio for Virtual and Augmented Reality held in 2016. Here for the first time industry and academic researchers came together to tackle some of the major challenges in audio for new realities. The resources below have been selected to give you a flavor of some of these challenges as well as the exciting opportunities attributed to audio in virtual and augmented reality.

Upcoming event on

Audio for Virtual and Augmented Reality


Gavin Kearney is the vice-chair of the AES Technical Committee on Audio for Games and leads the Audio for New Realities sub-group. He graduated from Dublin Institute of Technology in 2002 with an honors degree in Electronic Engineering and has since obtained both MSc and PhD degrees in audio signal processing from Trinity College Dublin. He is currently Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in Audio and Music Technology at the Department of Electronic Engineering at the University of York and continues to work in the audio industry as sound engineer and producer.
Audio for Virtual and Augmented Reality
Technical Committee


Michael Kelly


Steve Martz

Vice Chair: 

Gavin Kearney
This Committee is the portal through which the AES becomes more widely informed of and responsive to the needs of Audio for Games. We will be proactive in defining recommended game audio practices, capabilities, services and standards. Our mission is to cooperatively influence hardware and software design, to leverage the combined skills of the diverse audio community and to improve the performance of audio across all gaming platforms and applications.
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