What I Think About When I Think About Immersive Audio
The advent of object based audio has opened up completely new formats for consumer consumption of music. All of a sudden you don’t need to know what the configuration of the consumer’s playback system is; that will all be taken care of on their end so for the first time immersive music has become a mainstream consumable. This is a sea change in not only the audio formats themselves, but the process of creating and mixing commercial music releases. I will cover not only the current state of object based audio production, but also the triumphs and tribulations of trying to integrate an entirely new workflow into the more than hundred year old tradition of channel based playback for music. To be thrown into the deep end with no best practices, swiftly changing technologies and standards, and limited tools and budgets, this impacts not only the mechanical process of creating consumer content, but also the creative creation of music in the first place.
Composing Spatial Music Beyond Technology
Over the past decades the tools available for creative artists working with 3D sound have advanced from being low resolution and difficult to use, to offering possibilities of higher resolution results, a choice of hardware, and workflows that can be built from easy to use software embedded in both open-source and commercial products. Yet if we are to freely explore our musical ideas and avoid being restrained by what is becoming a generic template, we need to consider the composition of sound in space beyond technology. Only then can we understand how to construct and modify our technical toolbox for artistic aims. In this keynote I will first summarise my experience as a composer working with ambisonics since 1999 and how my creative production has been articulated by landmark developments in spatial audio technology. I will then go on to present examples from a recent artistic research project exploring how 3D audio technologies can be used to evoke and provoke a new awareness of urban landscapes, how this work has generally influenced my 3D concert composition, and how the most recent technologies are allowing musical visions to become reality.
Spatial Audio for Immersive Environments: Current Technological Challenges and Applications
The demand for high-quality immersive audio experiences is growing rapidly, in parallel with the development of technologies for creating extended realities.
In this talk, I will provide an overview of the current and future direction of spatial audio for extended realities. The presentation will begin by providing an overview of the existing technologies developed in both industry and academia, including spatial audio techniques and interactive sound design. I will describe how these technologies are currently being used to create immersive audio experiences in virtual environments, as well as the various applications that we have developed in our lab in fields such as gaming, education, and therapy. The talk will also highlight the challenges that still need to be addressed in order to create a sense of togetherness while being apart, such as achieving natural-sounding communication and accommodating diverse user preferences.
Natasha Barrett is a composer exploring new technologies and experimental approaches to sound in a broad range of contemporary music, including concert works, public space sound-art installations and multimedia interactive music. She is internationally renowned for her electroacoustic and acousmatic music, and use of 3D sound technology in composition. Her work is commissioned and performed throughout the world and has received over 20 international awards including the Nordic Council Music Prize, the Giga-Hertz Award (Germany), five prizes and the Euphonie D’Or in the Bourges International Electroacoustic Music Awards (France), two first prizes in the International Rostrum for electroacoustic music and most recently the honorary Thomas Seelig Fixed Media Award for 2023. She regularly collaborates with performers, visual artists, architects and scientists, is active as a performer of live-electronics and spatial audio, and as a researcher has a track record in both artistic and academic publications.