In this article I would like to explain more why I have attempted to build an a panoramic audio player in html5 and how I am hoping such ideas can be used. The panoramic audio technique used in my player has been around since the early 1970’s. I believe html5 along with advances in mobile and home listening systems provide the perfect showcase for the usefulness of this panoramic audio aka. Ambisonics.
Here is a video describing some investigation the BBC undertook regarding the practical usage of Ambisonics in broadcast.
Notice the relative optimism of the first presenter, David Wood. That 1st order, 4 channel method of Ambisonics is elegant as he describes and it is what my player uses. 4 channels are certainly not a stretch to achieve above the current 2 channel stereo signals most commonly used for music and video.
In second contrast, the second presenter, Andrew Mason does a good job of explaining exactly why Ambisonics has languished in relative obscurity. He is absolutely right however I’m trying to demonstrate how a simple shift in paradigm might change that.
- The ability to decode an ambisonic stream is on the cusp of being available in nearly all major web browsers thanks to HTML5 and the included Web Audio API.
- The possibility to dynamically navigate a 1st order Ambisonic soundfield offers an immensely enjoyable and unique experience which defies comparison to traditional surround. Resolution is not a large issue when the playback system is not the only means of locating sound events in the soundfield. In short, being able to turn your head in a soundfield makes a huge difference.
- panoramic dramatic audio broadcasts…imagine the radio dramas of the past but with the ability to turn around to follow the sound of the action
- panoramic cinematic production with fully navigable, synced audio and video elements.
- sound installations synced to geographic locations, accessible via a website on a mobile device
- voip style teleconferencing with the ability to virtually spatial locate within the conference room
- live concert recording and reproduction
- virtual tours