(this started as a quick comment on my Facebook page, but I’m moving it here so that people outside of FaceBook can join in)
With apologies to the McKenzie brothers. There appears to be an odd cross between two of my passions in the works. As I get more into the daily use of wideband telephony I wonder if there’s a potential to leverage some surround sound techniques to take conferencing to a new level?
It couldn’t be the puritanical kind of approach used in music recording. It would be more a matter of using surround panning to position participants in an synthetic soundfield. I wonder if this has been done to any degree elsewhere?
Dean Collins Comments:
Yep already thought about it, I suggested using stereo channels with ‘N’ deviations
I would be really interested in listening to how this actually works in real life so if someone takes this idea and implements it please contact me so i can listen in on a call.
Stereo is extremely limited in scope. Most of a synthetic stereo image is manipulated using simplistic level based panning, not unlike an old school balance control. It’s coarse and two dimensional at best.
I’m thinking that UHJ format ambisonic encoding might prove more useful. It allows for accurate, controllable three dimensional positioning while only using the equivalent of a stereo stream.
Also, in recent year ambisonic functionality has been implemented in common digital audio workstation software, usually as a plug-in module. That suggests that such functions could be hosted on a dedicated hardware conference bridge where DSPs could accelerate the process.