Immersive audio, spatial audio, 3D sound – whatever you want to call it, it’s fast becoming one of the most talked about new technologies in music production and sound engineering, promising to (literally) open up new dimensions in music creation.
Here we’ve rounded up six of the most useful tools for artists and producers who want to create, mix, and master their music in immersive audio, whether it’s Dolby Atmos, 360 Reality Audio, or any other multi-channel format for 3D sound.
1. Dolby Atmos Processor
Platforms: Mac/PC | Formats: Pro Tools only | Price: £249 / $299 | Discharge
The official production software for mixing and mastering in Dolby Atmos, Renderer brings together Dolby’s industry-leading audio production tools, the Dolby Atmos Production Suite and the Dolby Atmos Mastering Suite. This suite allows editing of every corner of your Atmos mix, with 128 inputs that can be placed and adjusted in the middle of the Atmos field.
2. Steinberg Nuendo 12
Platforms: Mac/PC | Formats: Independent| Price: £895 / $999 | Discharge
If money isn’t an issue, then Steinberg’s industry-standard post-production mega suite is more than capable of mixing, tweaking, and tweaking Dolby Atmos mixes. The newest addition includes a Binaural Renderer that gives you a full immersive experience within any set of cans you own.
3. VISR Production Suite
Platforms: Mac/PC | Formats: VST3/Reaper only | Price: Free | Discharge
A variety of open source immersive audio tools, VISR Production Suite features a spherical workflow and the most extensive ability to sync your mix with VR headsets if your mix is intended to be used in a fully immersive context. Plugins currently only work in Reaper, but support for other DAWs is on the way.
Platforms: Mac/PC | Formats: Ableton only | Price: Free | Discharge
An open source, immersive audio toolset designed exclusively for Ableton Live, Envelop is not only a versatile, composition-focused selection of devices that integrate seamlessly into Live’s vibrant ecosystem, it’s also completely free!
5. Waves Spherix
Platforms: Mac/PC | Formats: VST3/AU/AAX | Price: £165 / $199 | Discharge
Featuring a brick wall compressor and limiters, Waves’ Spherix is explicitly designed for mixing immersive audio elements and includes multi-channel side chain reaction via Spherix weighting control. Hopefully these creative immersive mixing tools will become more common.
6. SkyDust 3D Sound Particles
Platforms: Mac/PC | Formats: VST3/AU/AAX | Price: £232 / $299 | Discharge
Endorsed by none other than Jean-Michel Jarre, SkyDust is the first synthesizer built specifically to generate immersive 3D audio. Not only does it sound phenomenal, but it offers an incredible amount of possibilities for creative modulation: LFOs, envelopes, and MIDI can be used to control the position of its 256 voices (each made up of eight oscillators) within 3D space, taking into account -Amazingly complex and multidimensional synthscapes.
The best part is that those who do not have the spatial audio recording or playback facilities to enjoy SkyDust 3D can purchase a binaural version (which emulates 3D sound using normal headphones) for a reduced price. In fact, SkyDust 3D supports more than 30 output formats, including stereo, binaural, 5.1, 7.1, 7.1.2 (Dolby Atmos), 9.1.6, and Ambisonics.