Headphone Monitoring of the new Immersive Audio formats
Personalised binaural rendering of virtual loudspeakers over normal stereo headphones is steadily becoming accepted by audio professionals. The key markets, not surprisingly, are in the film industry, where 5.1ch and 7.1ch soundtracks are now the standard for all major films. These soundtracks need monitored at many stages in the lifecycle of a film, from the preparation of individual sound elements during pre-production, right through to the re-rendering of an MPEG media file of the finished film for online streaming. Outside of a studio, multi-channel surround tracks are always problematic to monitor using loudspeakers, and binaural rendering is now being used to both improve the accuracy and frequency of monitoring these tracks. Looking forward, the new Immersive Audio‘ soundtracks, such as Dolby Atmos, Auro-3D, DTS-MDA and MPEG-H Audio, with up to 64+ sound sources, may necessitate the more extensive use of binaural headphone rendering due to simple economics.