This past weekend, the Audio Engineering Society held its annual North American convention in the Jacob Javits Center in New York City. I was participating as an AES speaker, but I also knew that AES includes an exhibit floor packed with the best professional audio equipment from all the top manufacturers, and I didn’t want to miss that! So, in between my game audio panel presentation on Saturday, and the Sunday tutorial talk I gave on the music system of the LittleBigPlanet franchise, I had the pleasure of searching the show floor for what’s new and interesting in audio tech. Here are some of the attractions that seemed most interesting for game audio folks:
One of the most interesting technologies on display at AES this year was Fraunhofer Cingo – an audio encoding technology developed specifically to enable mobile devices to deliver immersive sound for movies, games and virtual reality. Cingo was developed by the institute responsible for the MP3 audio coding format. According to Fraunhofer, the Cingo technology “supports rendering of 3D audio content with formats that add a height dimension to the sound image, such as 9.1, 11.1 or other channel combinations.” This enables mobile devices to emulate “the enveloping sound of movies, games or any other virtual environment.” While I was there, Fraunhofer rep Jennifer Utley gave me the chance to demo the Cingo technology using the Gear VR headset, which turns Samsung mobile phones into portable virtual reality systems. The sound generated by Cingo did have an awesome sense of spatial depth that increased immersion, although I didn’t personally notice the height dimension in the spatial positioning. Nevertheless, it was pretty nifty!