Ambisonics versus Audio Objects

Ambisonics is a suitable format to be leveraged by 3D renderers, including binauralizers. Unlike Audio Objects, it guarantees a fixed number of channels to be processed by Effects and by the 3D renderer itself, at the expense of some precision loss in terms of directionality. The precision obtained is directly proportional to the ambisonic order you choose, from 1st to 5th.

On the other hand, the Object-based pipeline offers greater precision in terms of directionality. This is because it preserves each Audio Object’s 3D position information despite the processing costs. It is thus up to the sound designer to find other means (for example, voice limiting or the 3D Audio Bed Mixer plug-in) to keep the number of Audio Objects, and thus processing costs, under control.

Ambisonics with Audio Objects

The Object-based pipeline in Wwise supports Audio Objects alongside other formats, including ambisonics. This means that the two representations are not mutually exclusive. For example, you can use Audio Objects to preserve the metadata of sounds that would benefit the most from optimal rendering of directionality, while using ambisonics for the rest of your sounds. In Audio Object parlance, every sound that is not preserved as an Audio Object goes to the bed. Ambisonics is ideal for representing a bed, because the spatial representation is invariant to rotation, and thus has uniform precision in all directions.

Setting up an ambisonic bed in the context of Audio Objects

The top-level audio bus must be set to use Audio Objects, but you can create a child ambisonic bus for the bed, thus forcing an ambisonic downmix of sounds routed to it. Sounds routed directly to the parent bus will be treated as Audio Objects. The ambisonic bed will also be treated as a single, multichannel object.

No software Object binauralizer Effects are distributed with Wwise, but some platforms support Audio Object binauralization at the Audio Device level. For example, Windows Sonic. In that case, the Master Audio Bus inherits the Audio Object configuration of the Audio Device, and the ambisonic bed can be made its direct child.

Refer to The role of the System Audio Device for details on the role of the Audio Device in the Object-based pipeline.

Was this page helpful?

Need Support?

Questions? Problems? Need more info? Contact us, and we can help!

Visit our Support page

Tell us about your project. We're here to help.

Register your project and we'll help you get started with no strings attached!

Get started with Wwise