Ambisonics surround sound effects Asbjoern Andersen


Ambisonics is a method of recording and reproducing audio in full 360 degree surround – and while it’s not exactly a new invention, recent developments in software encoding have made it a lot more interesting.

And with demand for surround source material skyrocketing with the advent of 3D audio for film and immersive platforms such as virtual reality, Ambisonics is an increasingly useful option.

But how does Ambisonics work in the real world, how do you get started – and how do you make the most it? Experienced Ambisonics recordist and sound designer John Leonard gives you the details in this special hands-on A Sound Effect primer:

The current state of surround sound recording

Before we dive into the world of Ambisonics, let’s look at the current state of the art in recording in surround. It’s pretty easy, but not inexpensive, to make high-quality surround recordings these days, not only with the various discrete array mounts available from a number of microphone manufacturers, but also with all-in-one 5.1 and 7.1 microphones being offered, such as the DPA5100 surround microphone, affectionately known as The Bicycle Seat, and the various offerings from Holophone Microphone Systems.

Both these systems use discrete miniature electret microphone capsules in a special enclosure, with each microphone feeding a separate channel of a multi-track recorder although the smaller Holophone systems can also generate Dolby-encoded surround from a two-channel output, making them useful for DSLR on-camera use.

Aside from its discrete arrays, Schoeps offers a different approach, with a microphone/software system that they call Double Mid/Side, (DMS) where a rear-facing cardioid is added to a standard mid-side pair and the resulting three channels are trans-coded in software to provide a 5.0 surround output. Details here.

Sennheiser has its Esfera system, which uses a two-channel microphone array and separate hardware to generate 5.1 outputs by means of some very clever processing, but at a fairly hefty price tag of around US$12,000 for the complete system. All of these have their advantages, but they all produce horizontal only recordings and, in the case of the DPA 5100 and the Holophone H2-Pro 7.1, require six and eight tracks respectively to record the microphone outputs.

Latest Ambisonic SFX libraries:

The selection of ambisonic sound effects libraries is constantly growing – here are the latest arrivals:

  • City Life Urban Europe – 3DS Surround Play Track 130 sounds included, 637 mins total From: $109

    European City & Town Ambiences in Immersive 3D


    Strengthen your productions with characteristic, intimate and authentic European city ambiences including:

    Daytimes & Seasons • Historical Places • Cultural Sites • Transportation & Traffic • People • Industrial • Abstract • Commercial • Natural Environments • Location Perspectives


    URBAN EUROPE – 3D SURROUND AMBIENCES

    We recorded cities and towns in over 10 European countries to capture their unique character.
    This collection is an essential addition to our URBAN USA 3D Surround library.

    Enjoy Europe with its rich variety of sound palettes throughout all different countries from city to city.

    The sounds come without much action in the foreground to provide a very clear and detailed acoustic image of each environment, giving you the perfect background noise layer to break the silence in your post production project.

    The recorded locations vary from streets and restaurants over squares, harbors, markets, commercial areas, parks, and busy shopping areas to industrial zones and construction sites. This library can easily be used in stereo productions as well. Either choose the listening angle yourself or use the stereo version (included in 3D SURROUND).

    What’s inside

    Included sounds – keywords:


    Activity, Airplane, Bell, Birds, Bridge, Busy, Calm, Car Park, Cars, Close, Commercial, Corner, Day, Distant, District, Downtown, Entrance, Fountain, Freeway, Hall, Horses, Hospital, Hum, Industrial, Large, Market, Moderate, Morning, Night, Park, Pedestrians, People, Residential, Restaurant, Siren, Small, Square, Street, Suburban, Traffic, Train, Tunnel, Ventilation, Voices
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  • Ambisonics Ambisonics – Village Play Track 69 sounds included, 249 mins total $70 $40

    Compiling over 4 hours of ambisonic recordings, Village is focused on providing plenty of options for sound designers and editors alike on building rich, neutral soundscapes for quiet urban environments, where long takes allow you to loop said sounds wherever you please, build a scene in VR or other multimedia projects with leeway and versatility.

    Inside this library you’ll find quiet streets, moderate traffic recorded in multiple locations, uncrowded beach soundscapes, natural parks and fountains; alongside typical vehicle transportation from Sintra’s village, like 40mins of tram interiors, a 25min tuktuk ride and regular trains recorded from several positions.

    All sounds were recorded with RØDE’s NT-SF1 ambisonic microphone and given the nature of this particular format, you can easily convert these B Format audio files onto any desired format (like regular stereo, 5.1 or 7.1 surround) with the correct plug-in, like RØDE’s own SoundField, which happens to be free to download. These are raw recordings where little to no hum or hiss removal techniques were applied.

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  • Featuring 38 pristine nature recordings from remote locations across the U.S., Biophony delivers a diverse collection of ambient environmental sounds. Delivered in 24-bit/96kHz FuMa Ambisonics format as well as stereo, this library contains amphibians, sea animals, insects and other wildlife interacting within distinct biomes. Use these sounds to enliven your nature scenes with a rich, authentic ecological backdrop.

    To capture these sounds, recordist Jason Strawley and videographer Andrew Garraway traveled to four states from Florida to California with the goal of capturing a variety of ecosystems including swamps, ponds, and forests. The result is a dense collection of vibrant wildlife recordings brimming with life. According to Strawley, one of the most difficult aspects of the process was finding locations unaffected by human intervention, be it noise pollution or the overarching effects of climate change. In his own words:

    “Human-made noise pollution foiled many a recording, forcing us to travel to more and more remote locations. We should all be advocating to preserve more wild lands, but it’s not just about the land – we need to preserve the soundscape and darkscape as well. Some national parks are doing a great job with this and I hope we can contribute to awareness in some tiny way.”

    Each sound file is embedded with rich, descriptive metadata to help you find the exact ecosystem and animal recording you need.

    Key Features:

    • 38 sound effects (14.5GB)
      • Delivered in both FuMa Ambisonics and Stereo
    • 24-bit/96kHz broadcast .wav files
    • Descriptive embedded metadata
    • 100% Royalty-Free

    Credits:

    • Blackguard Stock Media Group
    • Jason Strawley – Recordist / Editor / Producer
    • Andrew Garraway – Producer / Photographer / Videographer
    Add to cart
  • Ambisonics Wind Farm Ambiences Play Track 8 sounds included, 48 mins total From: $30

    Mix of ambience recordings, both with and close-ups of wind turbines in a wind farm.

    With every purchase there are some free extra files, linked to some ambience ones,  recorded with shotgun microphones, to get an even closer close-up, ideal also for SFX and sound design.

→ view more

The Ambisonics difference

Without getting bogged down in too much detail, Ambisonics, developed in the early 1970s by Peter Fellget and Michael Gerzon is a way of recording and reproducing surround sound in both horizontal and vertical surround from a single point source. Yes, that’s right: eat your hearts out, DTS:X™, Dolby Atmos™ and Auro 3D™, Ambisonics has been capable of full surround including height and depth for around forty years, and it’s non-proprietary. You can find the relevant Wikipedia entry here for an explanation of the basic science behind the technique.

At its simplest, what’s known as a first-order B-Format surround signal can be generated either by software manipulation of mono sources or by a special type of microphone, using a tetrahedral array of four near-coincident capsules.

The Soundfield Microphone Tetrahedral Array

The Soundfield Microphone Tetrahedral Array

Those from TSL/Soundfield output a B-Format signal, which supplies a matrixed four-channel signal, where the four channels are designated W, X, Y and Z, where W represents on omni-directional reference, X represents front and back, Y represents left and right and Z equals up and down. (This is a gross simplification, but it’ll suffice for this article.) These microphones will have hardware control units that give the user options in terms of gain and directional orientation and filtering and are at the top-end of the market.

The Soundfield SPS200 and the Core Sound TetraMic both output simple capsule feeds and need software (SurroundZone2 for the Soundfield and VVTetraVST for the Core Sound) to correctly matrix the capsule feeds into a B-Format signal.

The resulting four-channel signal can then be trans-coded for output in many ways, from a single source in mono to multi-speaker surround arrays, with the major advantage being that once you have a the initial capture, you can use post processing to vary pan, tilt, zoom and rotate: something that’s not exactly simple to achieve with other systems.

 

Lots of opportunities with Ambisonics:

Ambisonics allows you to transcode your B-format source material into a myriad of formats, by using the free SoundField SurroundZone 2 plugin – including stereo, 5.0, 5.1, 6.0, 6.1, 7.0 or 7.1 surround.

The early days of Ambisonics

The development of Ambisonics was sponsored by a UK government organization called the National Research and Development Corporation, the aim of which was to exploit commercially technology created in the public sector. With Ambisonics, it failed dismally and the technique became the preserve of a few dedicated enthusiasts, but Soundfield Microphone sales continued to those who saw the various uses to which the system could be but, not the least as a pretty impressive stereo microphone for use in recording studios.

The main problem with using Ambisonics in large listening areas such as movie-theaters has always been the size of the sweet-spot, which was pretty small. The effect was still obvious and fairly impressive outside the sweet spot, but didn’t have the wow-factor of artificially pan-potted effects that became the staple of 5.1 and 7.1 movie theater systems. It did, however, give a far more realistic sense of being in the scene than its rather more sensational rival.

Ambisonics evolved

Initially, the decoding hardware was complex and expensive and the lack of truly portable multi-track recording equipment meant that you were pretty much tied to a mains supply and a rack full of gear, but the arrival of sophisticated portable computer interfaces – in my case, the Metric Halo 2882 which could be powered via the FireWire port of a Macintosh PowerBook – meant that it’s been possible to record using Soundfield microphones free from mains power for around fifteen years. Much of the material in my effects libraries has been recorded using this system, although for more portability, I also use Sound Devices 744 and 788 recorders, which have basic B-Format monitoring built-in.

ambisonics recording

Early location surround recording set-up: Mac PowerBook, Metric Halo 2882 interface and Soundfield ST250 control unit & microphone, Rycote windshield.

Further development in software processing has also meant that expensive hardware is no longer needed for transcoding and, thanks to research carried out at various academic institutions, much of the software to accomplish this is free. The small sweet-spot problem remained, though, and much of the effects material recorded in B-Format by me and others like me, was simply decoded, initially, to stereo and lately, to 5.1 surround, with the height aspect being discarded.

It’s now entirely possible using software, to enlarge the sweet spot, decode for binaural and even to deal with irregular speaker arrays in large venues.

Recently, however, there have been major developments in the use of Ambisonics, particularly with the arrival of immersive virtual reality systems such as the Oculus Rift and it’s now entirely possible using software, to enlarge the sweet spot, decode for binaural and even to deal with irregular speaker arrays in large venues.

One of the developers in the forefront of this technology is a company called Blue Ripple Sound and the good news is that the core software to experiment with this is free, with the caveat that it only works with certain DAWs at the moment, although one of these is the ridiculously cheap, but amazingly versatile Reaper.
 

Introducing a brand-new Ambisonics SFX category:

 
A whole new sound effects category is opening up here on A Sound Effect, dedicated to Ambisonics SFX libraries – and a bunch of libraries have just been added. Check out a small selection below:
 

  • Ambisonic City Life is a small collection of ambisonic recordings performed at various locations of different cities. The recordings took place at both internal and external locations.

    This collection is great for post production, VR/AR experiences, game developers and any real-time 3D audio engine.
    All files are tagged and categorized for your convenience – supporting tag filtering browsing applications.

    To create this product a Sennheizer Ambeo microphone paired with Zoom H8 was used.

    This package includes 24 Samples – Total 67 minutes of content.
    Supported formats: First Order AmbiX B-Format and Stereo (Total of 48 files).

    Download a B-Format Ambix demo here: Demo

    The library is also available in a stereo only version here.

     

    Add to cart
  • Synthetic Sphere is a collection of spatialised synthetic pads, mixed in an ambisonic format for a complete 360 interactive soundtrack. Multiple layers of pads, tones and amorphic FX are spreaded across the sphere, resulting in a truly immersive experience. These pads include gentle movement across 3D space, creating rich ambiances but without catching to much of the listener attention.

    This collection is great for post production, VR/AR experiences, game developers and any real-time 3D audio engine.

    All files are tagged and categorized for your convenience – supporting tag filtering browsing applications.

     

    This package includes 10 Samples – Total 51 minutes of content.

    Supported formats: First Order AmbiX and Stereo (Total of 20 files).

    Download a B-Format Ambix demo here: Demo

    The library is also available in a stereo only version here.

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  • Vehicles Ambisonic – Transportation Play Track 68 sounds included, 314 mins total $136 $70

    Ambisonic – Transportation is a great collection of ambisonic ambient recordings performed at various transportation locations.
    It is aimed to provide you with great spherical content to wrap your dialogue or main-focus content, allowing you to create a convincing and immersing soundtrack.
    You will find recordings such as a Train car interior, Jet airliner interior, multiple cars interior under different driving conditions, Bus interior, public transportation stations and much more.

    This collection is great for post-production, VR/AR experiences sound-design, game developers and any real-time 3D audio engine.
    All files are tagged and categorized for your convenience – supporting multiple tag filtering browsing applications.

    A Sennheiser Ambeo microphone paired with Zoom H8n was used to create this product.

    This package includes 68 Recordings – 136 Files.
    A total 2h 37m of content.
    First Order AmbiX B-Format and Stereo @ 96Khz / 24bit.

    Download a Demo here:
    Want to hear an example of the included recordings? Download the B-format Demo Here

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  • Western Wall | HaKotel is a small collection of recordings performed at the western wall located at the heart of Jerusalem. The recordings mainly includes Judaism prayers, but also presents Islam prayers, such as the Moasin.
    The recordings took place at both internal and external locations.

    This collection is great for post production, VR/AR experiences, game developers and any real-time 3D audio engines.

    To create this product a Sennheizer Ambeo microphone paired with Zoom H8 was used.

    This package includes 10 Samples – Total 24:00 minutes of content.
    Supported formats: B-Format AmbiX and Stereo (Total of 20 files).

    Want to hear an example of the included recordings? Download a B-format Demo here

  • Ambisonics Ambisonic Airplane Cessna 172 Play Track 17 sounds included, 144 mins total $19.99 $11.99

    The Ambisonic Airplanes Cessna 172 library, is a small library procured from a single short flight.  The recordings were made from the rear passenger seat positioned as close as possible to the middle of the aircraft.  The front of the Ambisonic microphone faced the cockpit.  The flight was recorded in it’s entirety and edited down for easier use.

    Types of recordings include idling, flying, flying with windows open, taxiing, taxiing with windows open, engine turning on, engine turning off, plane during takeoff, plane during landing, plane engine test (1700 RPM test) and more.

    The library was recorded using a Sennheiser Ambeo VR Microphone onto a Sound Devices MixPre 6.  The library has a fairly large size because we have conveniently provided 4 versions of the same files to make it easier and more flexible to use.  Included you will find B-Format wav files (FuMa and AmbiX) A-Format raw wav files and a Binaural stereo mix down.  The library includes a total of 17 unique files and 68 total files.

     

    Information on the Cessna 172 from Wikipedia:The Cessna 172 Skyhawk is an American four-seat, single-engine, high wing, fixed-wing aircraft made by the Cessna Aircraft Company.  First flown in 1955, more 172s have been built than any other aircraft.

    Measured by its longevity and popularity, the Cessna 172 is the most successful aircraft in history. Cessna delivered the first production model in 1956 and as of 2015, the company and its partners had built more than 44,000.  The aircraft remains in production today.

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  • Human Ambisonic Audiences Play Track 133+ sounds included $50 $32.50

    Applause and Laughter recorded in various spaces in full B-Format Ambisonic surround. Over 90 tracks of audience laughter an another 40 of so of applause and audience reactions and chatter. 96 kHz / 24 bit recordings with full Soundminer-embedded metadata.

    Transcode with the free SoundField SurroundZone 2 plug-in in your DAW of choice, or use Svein Berge’s brilliant Harpex-B for stunning results.

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  • Binaural and Ambisonic ambiences from Bishopstone Beach on England’s south coast. No people, stony beach, lovely crisp ambiences. Variety of distances will make this very useful for anyone working with VR work.

    All recorded with the Sennheiser AMBEO VR and a Zoom F8.

    Very rough seas but no wind noise.

    B-Format Ambisonics and Binaural Stereo Files.

    Add to cart
  • City Life Ambisonic City Play Track 30 sounds included, 231 mins total From: $69

    Ambisonic City features 30 24bit / 96 kHz surround sound effects with a large selection of city center traffic and ambience. Mastered in 3 configurations: Ambisonic B format (FuMa 1st Order WXYZ), 5.1 Surround Sound (L-C-R-Ls-Rr-Lf ) and Stereo (L-R).

    Recorded with a Brahma Ambisonic Microphone and a Zoom F8 recorder in various locations around Los Angeles. Recording locations are all from center perspective, and recorded between traffic lanes on medians, bridges, walkways and tunnels to capture the movement of a city. Most tracks are 2-3 minutes with embedded metadata. Want a taste of what's included? Download the B Format Surround Demo file here and try it out on your own system!

    Available in three versions:
    • 5.1 (LCRLsRsLf) + Stereo. 60 tracks, 8.9 GB
    • B Format Only (wxyz). 30 tracks, 4.39 GB
    • Full Package: B format (wxyz) + 5.1 (LCRLsRsLf) + Stereo. 90 tracks, 13.31 GB

    – pick your preferred version below:

View all Ambisonics libraries here

Getting started with Ambisonics

If you do want to test the waters and you have Reaper, ProTools, Cubase, Nuendo or Logic, there are a couple of ways you can achieve this at no cost, other than some time to read and understand how to set your system up. There are a number of software plug-ins that will decode audio material recorded as B-Format surround, but probably the first stop should be the plug-in specifically designed to deal with the output of Soundfield Microphones: the company is now part of TSL Products and their SurroundZone2 plug-in is available for VST, AU and AAX systems, with VST & AAX available for both MacOS and Windows computers. You can download it for free here.

If you want a more advanced version, the truly excellent Harpex-B plug-in is available here. It isn’t free, in fact it’s quite expensive, but there’s a thirty day free trial available, which is worth experimenting with.

Harpex-B Ambisonic Decoding

Two instances of Harpex-B Ambisonic Decoding software in use in a complex surround mix, along with two mid/side decoders.

If you’re a Windows user and prepared to dig a little deeper into the system set-up, then you can try Dave McGriffy’s VVMicVST plug-in, which as the name suggests is a VST-only plug-in, although Dave has recently expanded his suite of tools and these can be found on his VVAudio site.

 

Popular on A Sound Effect right now - article continues below:

 

Latest releases:  
  • Sci-Fi Beams Play Track 1139 sounds included $149 $99

    BEAMS is a comprehensive toolkit for beam sound design. Sounds are separated into activation oneshot, activation/deactivation mechanism, and active loop categories. Each category contains subcategories for small, medium, and large beams. You can design anything from the smallest spy-watch laser cutter to a planet destroying column of chaos. As a bonus, you’ll also get a diverse collection of burning ignition sounds as source for beam environmental destruction.

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  • Metal Smash – What do you get when you go to the junkyard with the best Schoeps Microphones money can buy.

    Every effect is also recorded with a sub sonic microphone to add depth to the smashes. Great complicated crashes with extra metallic details.

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  • The sounds presented in this pack were recorded during the shooting of a short film taking place by the ocean. We shot in different places, in the marina, on a boat, in an industrial harbor area, in a wharehouse of boat maintenance.

    Even if some sounds of the pack are not fully in the theme, I voluntarily left them because they were recorded at the same time and in order to serve the film.

    The most represented sounds in this pack are those recorded in the marina, the wind blowing in the masts of the boats, at the seaside, as well as a detailed recording of the zodiac boat.

    Sounds were recorded using Sound Devices 633, in 24bits 96Khz, Schoeps CCM 21 mic in ORTF, with an extra CCM 41 for the center (LCR), and using an extra contact mic to record the motor of the zodiac boat.

    All the sounds are raw (No EQ, No Compression, No Fx).

    This pack contains 40 sounds, 80 files, for the ambiences.

    It also contains 15 sounds, 39 files for the zodiac boat.

    All embedded with detailed metadata on Soundminer.

    Add to cart
  • Welcome to “MOTION MODE”, an intense collection of sounds to induce movement and evoke excitement in your production.

    You will find whooshes, transitions, noises, granular textures, movements, stutters and hits with a powerful Sci-fi feel.

    Special attention was put in the dynamics of the sounds to ensure the creation of an energetic pack aimed to enhance atmospheres, add movement and enrich musical compositions.

    If you liked some of my previous libraries like “Dodge this” and “The Transition” you are gonna love this one.

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  • Huge deep and textural organic whoosh by’s. These are un-altered but a total blast. Want more fun, just (again) compress and pitch to fit, and hell, maybe add a little distortion.

    A great collection of organic sliding whooshes. They sound great, have lots of movement and are almost always complicated movements not just simple whoosh by’s.

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Need specific sound effects? Try a search below:
 

Want to dig deeper still? Daniel Courville has a whole suite of software, including a Double M/S version and one for making your Zoom H2 surround recordings sound pretty good.

How to record surround in B-Format

Want to buy a mic of your own? Aside from the Soundfield and TetraMic products mentioned earlier, a new, Kickstarter-funded company in India produces the Brahma microphones, which are also causing interest, especially as they’ve managed to build one into a Zoom H2N body, making it the smallest complete surround recording package available anywhere. Check it out here and read about one user’s experiences here

In closing, let’s sum up the key takeways from this primer:

• Ambisonics is a method of recording and reproducing audio in full 360 degree surround.

• Post-processing can transcode the recordings into various conventional surround formats.

• Specialist hardware and software is required for recording and processing the audio.

• Much of the processing software is free and works with many DAWs.

• Microphone prices start at under $1,000.00

 

A big thanks to John Leonard for this overview of what Ambisonic recording is all about! Check out his sound effect libraries here, and explore the new Ambisonics SFX category here.

 
 

Please share this:


 

 
About John Leonard:

John Leonard is an experienced sound designer and recordist from the UK, where he’s done pioneering work in theatre sound since the 1970s. His work includes exhibition projects in the UK, North America and China, and shows in London’s West-End, The National Theatre Of Great Britain, The Royal Shakespeare Company, The Royal Court, The Almeida, The Lincoln Center Festival and more. He’s also the creator of the popular Immersive FX sound effect series. Learn more about his work here.


 
 
THE WORLD’S EASIEST WAY TO GET INDEPENDENT SOUND EFFECTS:
 
A Sound Effect gives you easy access to an absolutely huge sound effects catalog from a myriad of independent sound creators, all covered by one license agreement - a few highlights:
 
 
  • Sci-Fi Beams Play Track 1139 sounds included $149 $99

    BEAMS is a comprehensive toolkit for beam sound design. Sounds are separated into activation oneshot, activation/deactivation mechanism, and active loop categories. Each category contains subcategories for small, medium, and large beams. You can design anything from the smallest spy-watch laser cutter to a planet destroying column of chaos. As a bonus, you’ll also get a diverse collection of burning ignition sounds as source for beam environmental destruction.

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  • Sci-Fi Polarity Play Track 975 sounds included $90 $67

    Polarity delivers more than 950 sounds of electricity, science and technology – captured in several locations around the world, from electricity museums to science labs. About 50% of the library is all about electricity, with various types of Jacob’s Ladders, Tesla Coils, Ruhmkorff lamp and all sorts of impactful bursts of energy.

    Then we go through welders, plasma spheres, 3D printers, starting to cover a more broad technology theme – like old phones, telegraphs, dynamo wheels, rotary dials, whirling watchers, alarm, lab centrifuges, something scientists call a roller and a rocker, servo sounds, neon lights, a wimshurst machine and sparklers.

    Many sounds in this section were captured from vintage equipment, from a 1928’s tram to old telephone switchboards, high voltage levers and control surfaces.

    All content was recorded at 192KHz with a Sanken CO100K, a couple of Sennheiser 8040 and a Neumann 81i, translating into final assets that have plenty of ultrasonic content, ready for the most extreme manipulation.

    Bonus: Two extra libraries included for free:
    This library also includes two additional releases from Mattia Cellotto - for free: Crunch Mode delivers 230 crunchy sounds made with a variety of vegetables, fresh bread, pizza crust and a selection of frozen goods. The Borax Experiment gets you 158 squishy, gory, slimy and gooey sounds.
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  • The Audio Hero Western collection features 200 professionally recorded sound effects, ready for use in your productions.  Included in this library are guns and pistols, horses, stagecoaches, steam trains, jail cell doors and much more!  These sounds are all hand-picked from the Hollywood Edge Burtis Bills' Sounds of the American West sound effects collection.

    Add to cart
 
Explore the full, unique collection here

Latest sound effects libraries:
 
  • Sci-Fi Beams Play Track 1139 sounds included $149 $99

    BEAMS is a comprehensive toolkit for beam sound design. Sounds are separated into activation oneshot, activation/deactivation mechanism, and active loop categories. Each category contains subcategories for small, medium, and large beams. You can design anything from the smallest spy-watch laser cutter to a planet destroying column of chaos. As a bonus, you’ll also get a diverse collection of burning ignition sounds as source for beam environmental destruction.

    34 %
    OFF
    Ends 1597442399
  • Metal Smash – What do you get when you go to the junkyard with the best Schoeps Microphones money can buy.

    Every effect is also recorded with a sub sonic microphone to add depth to the smashes. Great complicated crashes with extra metallic details.

    20 %
    OFF
    Ends 1597355999
  • The sounds presented in this pack were recorded during the shooting of a short film taking place by the ocean. We shot in different places, in the marina, on a boat, in an industrial harbor area, in a wharehouse of boat maintenance.

    Even if some sounds of the pack are not fully in the theme, I voluntarily left them because they were recorded at the same time and in order to serve the film.

    The most represented sounds in this pack are those recorded in the marina, the wind blowing in the masts of the boats, at the seaside, as well as a detailed recording of the zodiac boat.

    Sounds were recorded using Sound Devices 633, in 24bits 96Khz, Schoeps CCM 21 mic in ORTF, with an extra CCM 41 for the center (LCR), and using an extra contact mic to record the motor of the zodiac boat.

    All the sounds are raw (No EQ, No Compression, No Fx).

    This pack contains 40 sounds, 80 files, for the ambiences.

    It also contains 15 sounds, 39 files for the zodiac boat.

    All embedded with detailed metadata on Soundminer.

  • Welcome to “MOTION MODE”, an intense collection of sounds to induce movement and evoke excitement in your production.

    You will find whooshes, transitions, noises, granular textures, movements, stutters and hits with a powerful Sci-fi feel.

    Special attention was put in the dynamics of the sounds to ensure the creation of an energetic pack aimed to enhance atmospheres, add movement and enrich musical compositions.

    If you liked some of my previous libraries like “Dodge this” and “The Transition” you are gonna love this one.

    29 %
    OFF
    Ends 1597183199
  • Huge deep and textural organic whoosh by’s. These are un-altered but a total blast. Want more fun, just (again) compress and pitch to fit, and hell, maybe add a little distortion.

    A great collection of organic sliding whooshes. They sound great, have lots of movement and are almost always complicated movements not just simple whoosh by’s.

    20 %
    OFF
    Ends 1597183199
 
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7 thoughts on “Welcome to the wonderful world of Ambisonics – a primer by John Leonard

  1. Great article, but I don’t quite understand this ‘getting started’ paragraph:

    ‘If you do want to test the waters…there are a couple of ways you can achieve this at no cost, …software plug-ins that will decode audio material recorded as B-Format…probably the first stop should be the plug-in specifically designed to deal with the output of Soundfield Microphones.’

    If you need to buy a Soundfield microphone, how is this at ‘no cost’. If you can use your own microphones, how do we ENCODE our recorded sound into B-Format?

    • Hi Christopher, thanks for the comment! Now, I’m not John :) – but I think what he means by that paragraph is in terms of working with existing B-format recordings, ie working with B-format content in your DAW.

  2. Hi,

    Thanks for this great article. I’m just starting to learn the process of capturing and mixing 360 sound. I’m confused though, is the “only” benefit of buying an ambisonic mic just have to do with the ease of workflow? Sort of how it’s best to use a matched stereo pair for stereo recordings if you want the best result with the least hassle? Or is it literally impossible to set up regular mics in a tetrahedron array and eventually get an ambisonic file from that capture, even if it happens in post through a plugin like ambipan or something similar? That seems like it would make sense intuitively since you should be able to use prerecorded mono SFX samples and create an ambisonic environment using a plugin like that…right? Sorry for the novice question. Hope it made sense.

  3. Hello Christopher & Jared,

    Christopher, I did indeed mean that you can experiment with existing B-Format material: there’s plenty of free stuff around – try http://www.ambisonia.com for non-commercial material that you can play around with. Then buy libraries from Asbjoern and keep us poor recordists from starving!

    Jared, Soundfield-type microphones that use a tetrahedral array are designed to keep the capsules as close together as possible, effectively to create a point-source, which will give the best results. My ST450 and my TetraMic are both compact, portable set-ups that can be fitted into shockmounts and windshields and used in the same way as a conventional microphone for effects gathering. It’s possible and quite easy to build an array from conventional microphones for horizontal surround only, and there are various illustrations of rigs that achieve this, using an omni and two figure-of-eight microphones. Do a search for ‘Native B-Format Array’ or go straight here – http://www.radio.uqam.ca/ambisonic/native_b.html for a pretty comprehensive example. You’ll notice that it’s not exactly a compact set-up, though.

    Please feel free to ask anything else and I’ll see if I can help.

  4. Hi,

    I’m doing an audio project for work (completely new to ambisonics/encoding/speaker systems in general, though do have some basic understanding).

    Just to check i’ve got this right, in extreme laymans terms, would I be able to record a piece of ambisonics audio (using for example, a Sennheiser Ambeo 3D VR mic), mix the B format using various different software available, then somehow output it to either a channel based or object based speaker system? (For example, Dolby Atmos or Auro-3D).

    I can’t seem to figure out if Dolby Atmos or Auro-3D are compatible with ambisonics recordings.

    Sorry if these are really basic questions, I’m completely new to file formats and encoding!

    Thanks,
    Lewis

  5. Lewis,

    I’m not sure what you mean by “mix the B-Format” The B-Format signal is what you’ll get after doing the processing from the A-Format (basically capsule outputs) from the Ambeo, the TetraMic or the Soundfield SPS-200. All these microphones have their own processing software to let you achieve this, with varying degrees of precision, and once done, you’ll need further processing to do anything useful with the B-Format. Probably the best bet for transcoding at the moment is Svein Berge’s Harpex-X, which will let you output a multi-channel file that will work with Dolby Atmos or Auro-3D, although it’s not a low-cost option, or a simple one, as you’ll need to use two instances of the plug-in to get the requisite number of output channels.

    There are other options available, but I don’t have time at the moment to go into them at the moment, due to work/life complications. I’ll do my best to expand on them a little later.

    You’re not entering a simple world here, and it’s not a cheap one, either: be prepared to spend lots of time and money. You can download the Harpex manual here: https://harpex.net/manual.pdf

    All the best,

    John

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