ARIA-3D.COM — A Primer on Spatial — 3D — Immersive — Virtual — Surround i.a. Sound — Audio — Acoustics

Various Spatial Audio techniques are well known for many years now, mostly to the acoustics and audio engineering experts. New techniques are emerging. The majority of end-users though, is unfamiliar with the topic. Each time i tell someone, that i work on Three — Dimensional Audio, the next question is always the same: “What the heck is that?”. On top of that, there is a specific jargon that we (the experts) commonly use, with terms such as Auralization, Binaural, Transaural, HRTF, Crosstalk Cancellation etc., which makes the adoption for the non-experts highly cumbersome.

If you have never heard about or in 3D and if the previous terms sound Greek to you, then you’re in the right place! If you have heard in or know about 3D Audio, this article may still be useful to you. In any case, you don’t have to learn Greek, in order to enjoy the 3D Sound. The impatient listener can jump directly to the Free ARIA-3D Media Player, for an immediate 3D Experience. Yet, a “bit Greek” would be beneficial for a better understanding, so it is strongly recommended to keep up reading.

In order to fully understand the main principle of any Spatial Audio System -whatever is called- there is actually one Greek word that you will need, being:

Αυθεντικότητα

or else Authenticity.

No matter how you name it, the ultimate goal of any Spatial Audio System is Authenticity. In our context, Authenticity can be defined as: “The Perfect Illusion” or “Fool the Brain” or “Sounds like you are There” or “The Be There Effect”. In short, Authenticity is related to a listener’s Immersion and is accomplished by reproducing the original or desired sound pressures at the ears. This is the bottom line of every Spatial Audio System and is called Authenticity.

There are many ways to reach immersion. Spatial Audio Systems can, in general, be classified according to the way sound is delivered to our ears. Depending on the technology and the industry, different terms are used. Some terminology examples for Spatial Audio Delivery are given below:

  • Headphones for Music or Experiments: Binaural, Auralization etc.
  • Headphones in Virtual Reality: Immersive Audio, Spatial Audio etc.
  • Two Speakers: Crosstalk Cancellation, R.A.C.E., Transaural etc.
  • Multiple Speakers: Ambiophonics, 5.1 Surround, Optimal Source Distribution etc.

There are even more terms. At ARIA-3D we cover the underlying scientific / technical terminology, under two crystal clear terms:

  • Headphones — 3D
  • Speakers — 3D

Of course, the more you know about the specific technology used under the hoods, the better you will enjoy the 3D Effect, as you will be able to better adjust its settings according to your own taste. For example, the technology behind Speakers-3D is described later in the text. But for now, we can start with the basics.

Explaining the Basic Terms and Some Extra Information

Here, we’ll give some simple and clear explanations about the basic terms used in Spatial Audio, through a series of questions & answers.

What is 3D Sound?

3D Sound refers to the way we hear.

It’s simple as that. More precisely, 3D Sound refers to the Positional Sounds we perceive in the 3D Space surrounding us.

What is 3D Audio?

3D Audio refers to simulation of 3D Sound.

3D Audio is the (re)production of 3D Sound at our ears, via a chain of electronic devices.

How can one listen in 3D?

With a 3D Audio Engine and via Headphones or over Speakers.

A 3D Audio engine is necessary (software or hardware), plus a set of sound producing devices, as Headphones or Speakers. ARIA-3D Media Player is such a 3D Audio engine, which is free and works in the browser with no extra software installation.

Should the Headphones be Special?

No.

The quality of the perception depends on many parameters and one of them is the quality of the headphones. There is no specific requirement, but the better the headphones, the better the experience.

How many Speakers?

A pair of speakers is enough.

Depending on the technology, two up to several speakers can be employed. In general, immersion is higher with multi-speaker installations, like in cinemas. At ARIA-3D we are currently focused on two speakers, which is the most challenging way to handle technically, but in parallel it is also the most common setup. Full circle surround will follow soon.

Should the Speakers be Special?

No.

But again, the quality of the perception depends on the quality of the speakers. The better the speakers, the better the experience, although there is no specific requirement. Even laptop speakers will do, but you will enjoy more the 3D Sound with bigger and decent ones.

About ARIA-3D Media Player

ARIA-3D Media Player is the outcome of a novel approach to 3D Audio. It is a FREE online web application, rendering 3D Audio for Headphones & Speakers, with an overwhelming Simplicity, for Audiovisual Media supported by the browser.

WARNING: The application is still in ALPHA Release, meaning it’s in an early stage and functionality might change or break. It currently works properly only in Google Chrome on a Modern Desktop / Laptop. However, rest browsers and mobile devices will be supported soon. Make sure to follow the instructions at the Player’s TIPS Page, in order to enjoy the 3D Effect at its maximum. Many improvements are coming soon!

About ARIA Speakers-3D

The principal algorithm used in ARIA Speakers-3D is called R.A.C.E. and is designed by Ralph Glasgal, founder of Ambiophonics Institute. For an in depth analysis you can read the related article here at Ambiophonics website.

About The Scientific Background

If you wish to learn more about the scientific background of the player, you can use the following links:

PS: This article will be updated frequently according to the advances in ARIA-3D Media Player, so you should bookmark it!