Make Ambisonic audio a first-class citizen

Hi, I use Cubase with Quad channels and third party VST panning plugins and HRTF encoders to work with 1st-order Ambisonic audio (since 1st order is only 4 channels). However, it is not for the faint of heart and it could definitely be a simple but a good addition to Cubase and Nuendo (for higher order Ambisonic audio = since 3rd order requires 9 channels).

The proposed additions would be:

  1. 1st-order Ambisonic audio channel/group/fx/bus types (probably best using SN3D or AmbiX track ordering of omni, y, z, x)
  2. Basic panner for mono/stereo tracks or Rotate effect for Ambisonic channels
  3. Ability to export the 4-channel interlaced audio (even better would be ability to export the synced video with the 4-channel interlaced audio with proper mp4 metadata, but that would be icing on the cake)

Another feature to go above and beyond would be to have the HRTF encoder (allowing one to load custom impulse responses) to downmix for stereo monitoring, but that exercise could be left up to third party developers.

I think Cubase/Nuendo has a great opportunity to be the best DAW for the 360/VR immersive sound experiences, with Cubase being the starter solution with fewer channels.

I’ll love this, but Steinberg do not so much move to ambisonics, simply ignores the format, this is a very bizarre in a platform that claims that is for post production (Maybe “postproduction” excepts VR)

I too would like to see ambisonic support. In particular, the new dearVR plugin apparently works in Cubase, but dearVR pro (which can export 2nd and 3rd order ambisonics) is crippled. Given the importance of gaming (which I seem to recall is a bigger business than movies), I don’t think Steinberg would want to be left out. We know Cubase is popular for movie soundtracks, so why not games?

The problem of panning ambisonic sources is addressed by the dearVR plugin, as is the reverb algorithm. (see the dearVR product page at plugin alliance.) The only remaining constraint is on the output bus width. (According to the dearVR Pro manual.) Cubase is one of 4 DAWs listed that have this limitation.

While the game design market will lead the way, ambisonics must carry the day in video, and ultimately be important in music. The existing surround formats are expensive, difficult, and inadequate – as explained in this 4-page paper. The superiority and logic of ambisonics means it has a future, much more so than other surround formats. For example, an ambisonic decoder can adjust to a much larger universe of speaker placement layouts, and thus produce qualitatively superior sound in homes and commercial venues. (Or so they say.) It’s also more data-efficient. It’s already deployed on youtube and facebook. We (and Steinberg) cannot afford to miss this boat for much longer.

Steinberg is partnered with IOSONO, who have been taken over by Barco Audio Technologies. One look at the Barco offerings for surround mixing will tell you what I mean by expensive. The technicalities of monitoring that kind of mix seem extraordinarily daunting to me. (While I have no interest in doing 11.1 imax movies, I do rather like what they’ve done for concert halls.)