Ambisonic microphones are specialized recording devices designed to capture sound in full spherical detail. Unlike traditional microphones that capture audio in a single direction, ambisonic mics record sound from all directions, capturing the full 360-degree audio field. They utilize multiple capsules arranged in a specific pattern to capture not only the intensity but also the directionality and spatial information of sound. This enables the creation of immersive audio experiences that can be reproduced and manipulated for various applications, including virtual reality, 360-degree video, and other spatial audio projects.
The order refers to the complexity or precision of its capture:
First Order Ambisonics (FOA): Captures sound in three dimensions (X, Y, Z) and is the most common format. It uses four channels (W, X, Y, Z) to record sound, allowing for basic spatial representation.
Second-Order Ambisonics (SOA): More complex than FOA, SOA employs nine channels (W, X, Y, Z, V, T, U, R, S) to capture additional depth and detail. Provides a more nuanced and accurate representation of sound.
Third Order Ambisonics (TOA): The most complex TOA uses 16 channels (W, X, Y, Z, V, T, U, R, S, Q, O, P, M, N, K, L) to capture Extremely detailed and realistic spatial audio. It offers the highest level of precision but also requires more processing power and storage.
Each higher order provides greater spatial resolution, offering more accurate representations of sound directionality and depth in immersive audio environments.
Zoom H3-VR by ZOOM is a 360-degree audio recorder designed to capture and process spatial audio for virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and mixed reality content. It features a built-in Ambisonic microphone, recorder and decoder, making it a complete solution for 360 audio capture. The device is equipped with a 6-axis motion sensor and automatic microphone level and position detection, which Allows easy placement and calibration in any orientation.
Additionally, the H3-VR comes with companion ZOOM Ambisonics Player software for post-production work, enabling tasks such as audio file playback, trimming, re-orientation, and export in various formats, including binaural and 5.1-channel surround.
The Rode SoundField NT-SF1 by RODE is an ambisonic microphone designed to capture 360-degree sound for virtual reality, film and music production. It features four RØDE TF-45C ½-inch true condenser cardioid microphones arranged in a tetrahedral array, providing clear and accurate sound reproduction in A-Format™ on four separate tracks. The microphone has ultra-low noise, high sensitivity and flat frequency response, making it suitable for recording music or sound effects.
The free SoundField by RODE plug-in processor can be used to manipulate sound, adjust microphone position, directivity and rotation, and create a full 7.1.4 surround sound mix or 360-degree head.
The Sennheiser AMBEO VR microphone is an ambisonic microphone designed to capture 360-degree sound for virtual reality (VR) and other applications involving 3D audio. It features four KE 14 capsules combined in a tetrahedral array, providing fully spherical 360-degree sound that blends perfectly with virtual reality video content. The microphone offers a 4-channel raw output called format A, which can be converted to another 4-channel format using the included A-B encoder software plug-in.
The microphone comes with a complete product package that includes many useful features, including plug-in A-B encoder software, fully spatial audio in Ambisonics format, and free access to the A-B format converter for use in post-production.
Core Sound TetraMic™ is a premium ambisonic microphone designed to capture high-quality surround sound. It features four paired cardioid capsules arranged in a tetrahedral array, allowing it to capture sound from all directions. The microphone records four channels of audio, which can be transformed into various spatial audio formats, including stereo, 5.1 channel, and 7.1 channel. The TetraMic is individually calibrated and is considered one of the best performing microphones of its type in the world. It’s a portable and affordable option for those looking to capture 360-degree surround sound for VR, film and music production. The microphone is compatible with most multitrack recorders and audio interfaces, making it a versatile tool for capturing spatial audio.
Core Sound OctoMic™ is a second-order ambisonic microphone designed to capture high-quality surround sound. It features eight combined cardioid capsules arranged in a cubic array, allowing it to capture sound from all directions. The microphone records eight channels of audio, which can be transformed into various spatial audio formats, including stereo, 5.1 channel, and 7.1 channel. The microphone is compatible with most multitrack recorders and audio interfaces, making it a versatile tool for capturing spatial audio.
The Nevaton VR by Nevaton is an ambisonic microphone designed for high-quality 360° spatial recordings. It features four capsules in a tetrahedral arrangement, offering Ambisonics A format, a four-channel output, which can be easily converted to Ambisonic B format with most major DAWs, plug-ins or decoders. The Nevaton VR supports a dedicated filter set for format conversion (Ambisonics A to B format), developed by Professor Angelo Farina, acoustic researcher at the University of Parma.
The ambiMIK-1 by minidsp is an affordable premium Ambisonic (FOA) microphone designed for professional recording and also suitable for enthusiasts. It features four low-noise 14mm cardioid microphone capsules with preamps and A/D converters, providing sample rates from 44.1 to 192 kHz. This USB microphone serves as an entry point to the world of Ambisonic recording and offers an all-in-one solution with integrated preamplifier, analogue to digital converters (ADC) and a USB processor. The ambiMIK-1 eliminates the need for external preamplifiers, making it a convenient and cost-effective option for those looking to capture high-quality spatial audio.
The Spatial Mic from Voyage Audio is a second-order Ambisonic microphone designed to capture immersive audio for various applications such as VR, ATMOS, spatial music, concert recording and live streaming. It features 8 analog capsules for high spatial resolution, professional-grade analog-to-digital conversion, and an integrated 32-bit XMOS processor. Each microphone is individually calibrated before shipping and offers a DSP mode for binaural playback and a control app for remote manipulation of hardware parameters. The Spatial Mic’s innovative design helps optimize the recording workflow associated with multi-channel microphone arrays, employing integrated USB and ADAT connectivity.
The ZYLIA PRO ZM-1S from ZYLIA set is a comprehensive solution for capturing high-quality 3D audio. Includes:
ZYLIA ZM-1S: A third-order Ambisonics microphone array with 19 calibrated capsules (MEMS sensors) and high-end 24-bit recording resolution. ZYLIA Studio Software: Allows you to control the microphone and synchronize multiple ZM-1S microphones or other devices connected to the recording system, such as video cameras.
The Eigenmike® em64 spherical microphone by mhacoustics from mh acoustics is a high-quality 360-degree audio capture solution that includes 64 professional-grade omnidirectional electret microphones mounted on a rigid spherical baffle. This innovative design allows the microphone array to decompose the sound field into spherical harmonics (HOA signals) of up to sixth order, providing a unique and versatile solution for capturing immersive audio experiences.
Brahma Microphones is a company that specializes in creating versatile ambisonic recording systems. They offer a range of microphones, including the Brahma Zoom Studio, a premium ambisonic studio microphone with 4 x 25mm capsule integrated with a portable recorder. Brahma Microphones also offers a DIY tutorial on how to build a Brahma Ambisonic microphone by modifying a Zoom H2n microphone.
The tutorial provides a step-by-step guide on how to modify the Zoom H2n by introducing larger (14mm) capsules that capture less noise in a tetrahedral array, making it suitable for ambisonic recording.
The Twirling 720 Lite by Twirling is a VR audio microphone designed for mobile phones that offers the ability to capture 360-degree ambisonic audio. It uses multiple built-in microphones to focus on the intended direction of recording, minimizing sound from other directions, making it suitable for capturing single sound sources such as one-on-one conversations. The product is part of the TwirlingVR line, which includes the Twirling 720, a VR audio recorder with 4 microphone channels for 360-degree ambisonic recording. The Twirling720 series aims to provide high-quality VR audio recording solutions, combining microphones and recording devices into one integrated system.
The Audio-Technica BP3600 is an immersive audio microphone designed to capture spatial audio with precision and clarity. This microphone is engineered to provide a lifelike 3D audio experience, making it suitable for a range of applications such as music recording, field recording, and immersive audio production.
Additionally, the SonicPresence SP15C (USB-C) is another binaural microphone that records immersive 3D spatial audio. It features a wearable, weatherproof design and is compatible with over 25 audio and video recording applications on mobile and desktop. The SP15C records up to 24-bit/96kHz, making it a versatile option for capturing realistic and immersive audio experiences.
These immersive audio microphones are valuable tools for professionals and enthusiasts looking to create high-quality, lifelike 3D audio recordings for various applications.