Ambisonics is a recording technique that includes a production and playback technique for immersive audio experiences. Ambisonics uses a multi-capsule microphone system, the system records not only direct sound but also detailed spatial information, including direction, distance and elevation of sound. This comprehensive approach provides a holistic representation of sound sources within a complete spherical space, offering greater immersion and flexibility for audio experiences. During playback, specialized decoding reconstructs a realistic, immersive audio field that adjusts to the listener’s position, delivering an immersive and realistic listening experience.
Developed in the 1970s, this method has regained prominence with the emergence of virtual reality (VR) and 360-degree video, which require immersive audio solutions. Ambisonics captures the full directivity of sound waves arriving at the microphone, incorporating height information and a full 360-degree sound panorama. This “speaker independent” format allows decoding on various sets of speakers, from stereo to complex multi-channel 3D surround sound setups or binaural head-tracking systems, without being limited by specific playback limitations.
Fundamentally patent-free, the core technology behind Ambisonics offers a complete set of production and playback tools as free software on major operating systems. Despite its strong technical foundation and numerous benefits, Ambisonics had until recently been limited to niche applications and enthusiast circles, with its broader commercial success materializing primarily due to its adaptability to the requirements of modern immersive media.