VR, it’s everywhere these days. Virtual reality, augmented reality, 360-degree cams… While economists suggest the whole world is not “flattening,” from a pro AV perspective it’s all going “round.”
At least in video. What about audio?
At IBC 2016’s Future Zone, we spotted the Sennheiser AMBEO VR Mic – a compact microphone for creating VR/AR content
Up until now, VR productions had to record immersive audio with quite complicated microphone set-ups. The AMBEO VR Mic puts everything into a compact and easy-to-use handheld unit– making it an ideal tool for any professional VR production. The microphone will become commercially available in November 2016.
“The demand for compact microphones that capture spatial audio to match visual 3D experiences has increased enormously in the recent past. For the user to gain a truly immersive experience, however, it is imperative that the sound within VR is also 3D,” says Kai Lange, product manager, Broadcast and Media. “The AMBEO VR microphone has been designed specifically for VR/AR purposes and enables VR content producers to capture the natural, immersive environment, providing a realistic and immersive experience for the user.”
The AMBEO VR Mic is an Ambisonics microphone that uses four carefully selected, matched capsules in a tetrahedral arrangement. It is fully balanced and powered by 4x 48 volts phantom powering.
The handheld microphone comes complete with a split cable with four colour-coded and labelled XLR connectors according to the capsule position, a Rycote suspension mount and a foam windshield.
Also included is the necessary encoding software that translates the A format file generated from the recording of the four microphone channels into a B format file W, X, Y and Z. This format is recognised in the Ambisonics world, the W component being the omni and the X, Y, Z components being figure-of-eight capsules along three spatial axes. The A to B format encoder will be available in VST, AAX and AU plug-ins for the customer’s preferred digital audio workstation, and as a stand-alone version for Mac or Windows.
“To ensure that the AMBEO VR Mic is ‘right on target’ with what the AR/VR community needs, the entire development process was accompanied by intensive field testing with VR content producers,” explains Kai Lange. “In fact, we have just concluded an extensive creators’ program with participants from across the international VR audio/video industry, who put the microphone through its paces.”
The AMBEO VR Mic targets VR production agencies, VR content creators, the Ambisonics community as well as studio engineers and owners.