Sennheiser has unveiled its first consumer Ambeo 3D audio product at the IFA Global Press Conference 2017. The Ambeo Smart Headset is a compact, binaural recording headset that allows users to record 3D audio alongside video on smartphones, retaining the spatial characteristics of the original location.
Until now, Ambeo 3D audio processing has been used for live events and exhibitions. The Ambeo Smart Headset features two omni-directional microphones integrated in the ear pieces that work alongside an Apogee A/D Converter built into the remote control. The two microphones record subtle differences in timing, volume and timbre that occur as sounds from different directions reach each ear. When played back, this binaural recording recreates the original location’s sense of space.
The Apogee analogue to digital converter uses SoftLimit to automatically optimises recording levels. The headset also offers a built-in microphone for telephone calls and voice control.
The model unveiled at IFA GPC is for iOS devices features a lighting connector and requires the device to run iOS 10. Once recorded, the video with 3D sound track can be played back through any pair of stereo headphones.
“Immersive sound has nothing to do with a certain standards or bitrates,” says Dr Andreas Sennheiser, co-CEO Sennheiser (pictured above). “The objective is to fool the human brain so that it can’t differentiate between recordings and reality. Ambeo is a program that combines everything we’re doing with immersive 3D audio.” Sennheiser sees Ambeo as a solution for live streaming and virtual reality. Sennheiser introduced it first VR microphone late 2016. “So far our Ambeo products have been Pro products, but the headset allows users to record binaural 3D sound for YouTube video and social media applications.”
Binaural recording isn’t new of course. Sennheiser and Georg Neumann have been working with binaural recording technology since 1974, with the development of the MKE 2002 Kopf Stereo Mikrofon. In 1992 they released the KU 100 Dummy Head. What is new is the Ambeo processing algorithms.
A version for Android devices is planned for release later this year.
While the Ambeo headset unveiled at IFA GPC 2017 looks production ready, no price has yet been announced. It’ll go on sale this summer.