by Zaneta Lejwoda
In this article, we will show how to configure Ardour session to work with ZYLIA Studio PRO.
Briefly, we connect 19-channel track recorded with ZYLIA ZM-1 microphone with "output" tracks for virtual microphones (and leave out the connection to master) and then route "output" tracks to the master bus.
Now the most complicated thing – routing. Open Audio Connection Manager (Window → Audio Connections or Alt+P). In this window, you can see a matrix of Sources and Destinations.
By Zaneta Lejwoda
In this tutorial we will explain how to configure Reaper session to work with ZYLIA Studio PRO software.
Similar settings are applicable for more virtual microphones – just add more “output” tracks and set them up as above (remember to choose a proper audio input channel number).
It is possible to record directly from a ZM-1 microphone into a Reaper DAW.
Routing for recording is similar to a mixing setup. You should add track for 19-channel recording with plugged ZYLIA Studio PRO and “output” track for each virtual microphone. Remember to set up appropriate number of “Zylia Studio PRO” track’s channels and assign each “output” track’s audio input to corresponding virtual microphone output.
Input monitoring using Aggregate Device (available only for macOS users).
ZYLIA Studio PRO Reaper Template
We are happy to announce a new version of ZYLIA Studio PRO, the VST/AU plugin delivered with the Indiegogo ZYLIA PRO package. We introduced a lot of changes based on your input and suggestions.
The biggest feature of ZYLIA Studio PRO 1.1 is something we like to call the Energy Map. Once activated it shows the approximate location of the loudest sound sources around the microphone. You can now easily locate the sound sources using this feature. Just point your Virtual Microphone at the hottest point on the Energy Map.
This works for live recordings (directly from the microphone) and for pre-recorded sessions.
Figure 1. ZYLIA Studio PRO with its new feature - Energy Map. Quickly locate sound sources using a visual cue.
Updated Surround Presets and more Virtual Microphones!
We updated the built-in presets with new Surround Options. Now you can quickly choose a set-up and record a surround sound scene. We included presets like Surround 5.1, 5.1.4, 10.2, and even 22.2! To make it so we increased the maximum number of virtual microphones up to 24.
Please, note that the presets are not available in the VST3 plugin version, but you can use the *.zspro files bundled with the installers.
Figure 2. ZYLIA Studio PRO v1.1 using a 22.2 surround preset. You can see the 22 virtual microphones arranged to reproduce the 22.2 surround setup.
Changes to sources management
Based on your suggestions and feedback we also improved how you can manage Virtual Microphones. First, we added an option to assign icons to instruments. You can select an instrument's icon when you add a new Virtual Microphone. You can also change the icon by clicking the menu button next to the microphone's name and selecting "Change icon". If you use ZYLIA Studio and import calibration settings to ZYLIA Studio PRO the icons will be transferred automatically as well.
Figure 3 ZYLIA Studio PRO v1.1 showing the new icon selection window. You can now assign an icon to a virtual microphone to quickly identify microphones on the radar screen.
Figure 4 ZYLIA Studio PRO v1.1 showing the option to adjust the position of multiple microphones at once. Notice also the brand new icons representing the instruments in the ensemble.
To manage larger ensembles, we added a feature to select and change the azimuth and elevation of multiple instruments at once. You can now rotate the whole scene by simply using the Command/Control key and selecting more instruments. Then you can adjust the position of those instruments at the same time. We also added the option to sort the microphone's list by their names or by the assigned output channel, so now you can quickly navigate your setup.
We recently updated the ZYLIA Studio application for macOS, Windows 10 and Linux. New functionalities were added and small bugs were fixed. Below you can read about main changes in the software.
One-button automixing in ZYLIA Studio
Firstly, we introduce the long-awaited one-button automixing feature. It was one of the promised Stretch Goals in our Indiegogo campaign and pre-announced in a YouTube video. Since then we worked with sound engineers and musicians to fine-tune this feature so it’ll give you a maximum value.
The automixing feature automatically adjusts gains and pans of each instrument in the mix to enhance its sound. It is designed for a typical band setup. We take into account each instrument’s type and analyze its sound. Then we take into account what instruments were used during the recording and adjust the mixer properties accordingly. Check it out for yourself by using the demo recordings!
Wavpack to WAV export
The second big feature is a built-in Wavpack decoder. Wavpack is an open lossless compression algorithm and ZYLIA Studio allows you to store all recordings in this format. But some of audio editing software doesn't support Wavpack. We added an option to convert compressed audio files to WAV/PCM upon export. If the recording is longer than the allowed WAV/PCM file size can handle, then the recording is split into smaller chunks. You can find the new export options on the Mixer’s export dialogue.
Finally, we fixed a lot of bugs and improved applications stability on Windows. We also addressed a problem on Windows for users whose user name contains less common characters (e.g. Chinese symbols, some eastern European, etc.), now ZYLIA Studio should support all Unicode characters.
So go ahead and download your copy of ZYLIA Studio v1.6 today.
By Jakub Zamojski & Lukasz Januszkiewicz
Recording and mixing surround sound becomes more and more popular. Among the popular multichannel representation of surround sound systems like 5.1, 7.1 or cinematic 22.2, especially worthy of note is an Ambisonics format, which is a full-sphere spatial audio technique allowing to get a real immersive experience of 3D sound. You can find more details about Ambisonics here (What is the Ambisonics format?).
Our previous blog post “2nd order Ambisonics Demo VR” described the process of combining audio and the corresponding 360 video into fine 360 movie on Facebook. Presented approach assumes using of 8-channel TBE signal from ZYLIA Ambisonics Converter and converts audio into the Ambisonics domain. As a result we get a nice 3D sound image which is rotating and adapting together with the virtual movement of our position. However, it is still not possible to adjust parameters (gain, EQ correction, etc.) or change the relative position of the individual sound sources present in the recorded sound scene.
In this tutorial we are going to introduce another approach of using ZYLIA ZM-1 to create a 3D sound recording, which gives much more flexibility in sound source manipulation. It allows us not only to adjust the position of instruments in recorded 3D space around ZYLIA microphone, but also to control the gain or to apply any additional effects (EQ, Comp, etc.). In this way we are able to create a fancy spatial mix using only one microphone instead of several spot mics!
Spatial Encoding of Sound Sources – Tutorial
In the end of July 2017, using ZYLIA ZM-1 microphone we have recorded a band called “Trelotechnika”. All band members were located around ZM-1 microphone, 4 musicians and one additional sound source – drums (played from a loudspeaker). During the post-production process, we applied ZYLIA Studio PRO VST plug-in (within Reaper DAW) on recorded 19-channel audio track. This allowed us to separate the previously recorded instruments and transfer them into the individual tracks in the DAW. Those tracks were then directed to the FB360 plug-ins, where encoding to the Ambisonics domain was performed.
“Spatial Encoding of Sound Sources” - a step-by-step description
Below, you will find a detailed description of how to run a demo session presenting our approach of recording and spatial encoding of sound sources. Demo works on Mac Os X and Windows.
After opening the session, you will see several tracks:
3. Separated signals from ZYLIA Studio PRO are passing to 5 individual tracks. You are able to adjust the gain, you can also mute or solo instruments, or you can apply some audio effects. A good practice is to use a high-pass filter for non-bass and low-pass for bass instruments to reduce a spill between them. We applied these filters to our session:
4. Spatialiser track – receives 5 signals from tracks with separated instruments. Spatialiser allows to distribute sound sources in desired positions in the 3D space.
a) Click on FX and choose FB360 Spatialiser.
d) Back to Spatialiser view. You will see an equirectangular picture and five circles with numbers. Each circle represents a sound source position in the space. By default, sources are located in the positions corresponding to the real positions of the instruments in the picture, but it is possible to adjust it by clicking on the circle and dragging it around the picture.
6. Now video is synchronized with audio. Adjusting the location of play-head in REAPER’s time line will affect the video’s time. Tap space bar to play audio and video. Rotation of the video in the player is tracked by the decoded and binauralized Ambisonics sound.
7. A good practice is to play video from the beginning of file to keep the synchronization. In some cases, it is necessary to close the VideoClient + VideoPlayer and load 360 video again to recover the synchronization.
8. Now you are able to rotate video across the pitch and yaw axis. Your demo is ready to run.
by Maciej Lenartowicz
Integrating new tools into existing work-flows may be a difficult task, especially when those tools introduce innovative features, such as “virtual microphones” in ZYLIA Studio PRO.
This article will guide you through the process of setting up a connection between ZYLIA Studio PRO (running within REAPER) and your DAW of choice (assuming it supports ReWire protocol).
Example session in REAPER with ZYLIA Studio PRO. Notice that REAPER runs in ReWire mode.
4. Now you can create a new project in REAPER or load existing one. Use ZYLIA Studio PRO as you would otherwise, i.e. create a new track for every virtual microphone, with just one exception – these new tracks won’t be sent to master track. To do so, enter “Routing” menu for a track in REAPER and disable “Master send” option.
To route audio form virtual microphone out of REAPER, you need to select “hardware” output for a track. These are the very same channels that will be available in Ableton. Click on “Add new hardware output...” menu and select one of the outputs from the list. It is advised to start from “ReWire Output 3” (for Z1 virtual microphone) since first and second outputs are usually associated with a master track
Ableton session set to receive audio from REAPER.
ZYLIA Studio PRO – A Powerful Tool to Support Music Makers from Enthusiasts to Pros
Zylia announced the first release of ZYLIA Studio PRO which is an extension of primary software (ZYLIA Studio) supporting ZM-1 microphone array. Exciting new features for music makers of all levels will blow your mind.
ZYLIA Studio PRO is a VST/AU plugin which gives you an access to spatial filtering and signal separation directly within a DAW. Thanks to ZYLIA Studio PRO a whole recording system becomes even more powerful tool for pros with new features for 3D audio production, sound source separation and functionality of surround microphone.
ZYLIA Studio PRO transforms a single 19 channel microphone ZYLIA ZM-1 recording into a number of Virtual Microphones which are easy to steer in any direction around the mic. You gain a possibility to set and monitor Virtual Microphones of multiple polar patterns or characteristics - live or during post production!
Choosing presets for surround or ambient recordings (2.0, 3.0, 5.1, 7.1 and more) makes your life easier. No need for time-consuming microphones placement. You record your music scene directly into 5.1, 7.1 playback!
ZYLIA Studio PRO plugin extends all the features provided by ZYLIA Studio [link]. You can set many number of Virtual Microphones and adjust their characteristics and positions, during the recording or in the post‑production stage. Outputs of the Virtual Microphones are available as separated tracks directly in your DAW software, so you can apply effects and mix the tracks in the same way as for any other single-track recording.
To sum it up, right now ZYLIA users have an access to ZYLIA Studio which is a dedicated application acting as the “Control Center” for the ZYLIA ZM-1 hardware and enables musicians to record songs and extract recorded instruments to individual tracks, and ZYLIA Studio PRO which is a VST/AU plugin giving an access to spatial filtering and signal separation directly within a DAW.
ZYLIA Studio PRO - Use case
This is a part of an article written by Lukasz Kurzawski, a sound engineer, who tested ZYLIA ZM-1 together with ZYLIA Studio PRO software. He compared traditional multitrack recording techniques with recording using the ZYLIA ZM-1 microphone in an acoustically challenging environment – music ensemble recorded in a church.
I started by creating 3 virtual microphones that were pointing at the locations of the instruments: Z1 – flute, Z2 – cello, and Z3 – harpsichord. See the below screenshot for the setup of virtual microphones.
After that I have added an extra stereo pair of virtual microphones Z4 and Z5. It appeared that this pair gave an excellent result in terms of tone and panorama effect. It is really incredible that you can change the wideness of this stereo pair and its position in both horizontal and vertical pane. In this given recording setup the cello and the harpsichord are placed naturally lower than the flute, so by changing the elevation parameter of the virtual microphones you can be more selective on each instrument. An interesting effect was to change the aim of the Z4 and Z5 pair in the vertical pane by pointing it up 45 degrees. This setting resulted in a much deeper spatial effect without losing the detail of each instrument (this setting was used in the final mix). With such setup of Z4 and Z5 I was missing a better exposition of the harpsichord so I added a bit more of the Z3 (harpsichord virtual mic). The end result was a very good sounding mix – the best I have managed to create from this recording session.
As a final touch I tried to add more space to the recording to reflect great acoustics of the church. In order to do that I have created another stereo pair of virtual mics Z6 and Z7 which was aimed at the space without sound sources. In this setting I missed a little bit of flute so I have added more of the Z1 (flute virtual mic) to the mix."
More of this article at ZYLIA Blog
Pricing and Availability
Author: Łukasz Kurzawski
The main aim of the test was to make a comparison of traditional multitrack recording techniques with recording using the ZYLIA ZM-1 microphone. I compared the both approaches in terms of offered recording capabilities, tone and sound quality. I have chosen acoustically challenging environment – music ensemble recorded in a church (see the Test details box for more details on this).
The traditional recording setup
For this type of recordings I usually use a traditional recording setup. It consists of 8 small diaphragm condenser microphones (4 stereo pairs).
You can check the result of the recording with the traditional setup by playing back the file Church_traditional_setup.wav, Samplitude screenshot from the recording is presented below (Fig. 1). It presents well the balance between the microphones: the first two tracks are the main microphones which dominate the overall mix (in red).
Fig. 1 Samplitude screenshot.
ZYLIA microphone in the middle
The whole ensemble was recorded also simultaneously with the ZYLIA ZM-1 microphone. The microphone setup was very easy – just one microphone, one stand and one USB cable plugged into the computer. The ZM-1 was set in the middle of the ensemble – very close to the stand of the main stereo pair (approx. 1 meter away from all musicians). See the picture below as a reference (Fig. 2).
Fig. 2 Ensemble recording.
I tested two heights for the microphone 1.7 m and 2.15 m. The stereo mixes are stored in the files Church_Zylia_170cm.wav and Church_Zylia_215cm.wav, respectively.
The resulting stereo mix from the ZYLIA microphone was good and on par with the recording using a traditional setup. I found that the height of 1.7m for the microphone was optimal for this recording. In this setup the aisle of the ZM-1 was closer to the sound sources. The height of 2.15m gave worse results in terms of tone and spatial feeling. This was interesting because in a traditional setup you can expect a better spatial feeling when putting the stereo pair higher.
Magic in ZYLIA Studio PRO
To be honest before the tests I was really sceptical about the tone and spatial effect of recording with ZYLIA but the end results surpassed my expectations and opened my mind for completely new recording capabilities. The recording process with ZM-1 was very straightforward and quick to setup but the whole fun and magic really started when I launched the ZYLIA Studio PRO VST plugin within Reaper. It is really incredible what you can do in the post production with ZYLIA Studio PRO. I started by creating 3 virtual microphones that were pointing at the locations of the instruments: Z1 – flute, Z2 – cello, and Z3 – harpsichord. See the below screenshot for the setup of virtual microphones (Fig. 3).
Fig.3 ZYLIA Studio PRO, VST plugin.
After that I have added an extra stereo pair of virtual microphones Z4 and Z5. It appeared that this pair gave an excellent result in terms of tone and panorama effect. It is really incredible that you can change the wideness of this stereo pair and its position in both horizontal and vertical pane. In this given recording setup the cello and the harpsichord are placed naturally lower than the flute, so by changing the elevation parameter of the virtual microphones you can be more selective on each instrument. An interesting effect was to change the aim of the Z4 and Z5 pair in the vertical pane by pointing it up 45 degrees. This setting resulted in a much deeper spatial effect without losing the detail of each instrument (this setting was used in the final mix). With such setup of Z4 and Z5 I was missing a better exposition of the harpsichord so I added a bit more of the Z3 (harpsichord virtual mic). The end result was a very good sounding mix – the best I have managed to create from this recording session (file Church_Zylia_VST_Z4Z5Z3.wav).
As a final touch I tried to add more space to the recording to reflect great acoustics of the church. In order to do that I have created another stereo pair of virtual mics Z6 and Z7 which was aimed at the space without sound sources. In this setting I missed a little bit of flute so I have added more of the Z1 (flute virtual mic) to the mix. The effect is recorded in file Church_Zylia_VST_Z6Z7Z1.wav. All the above mixes were made using the recording from the ZM-1 placed at the height of 1.7 m. Setting it higher at 2.15 m limits a bit the possibilities of changing the balance and space of the recording.
My personal view
Recording using ZYLIA microphone really changed my thinking about music recording. Using the mic and the plugin I have access to almost infinite number of additional virtual microphones on any side of the “magic ball”. On top of that I can point virtual microphones or stereo pairs up and down changing their elevation – this opened my mind in a completely new “vertical” way. These capabilities offer great flexibility and many extra options during post-production. In addition the ZYLIA ZM-1 can fix microphone placement mistakes or mask bad acoustic conditions of the recording venue. Something that is currently not possible, or not so easy, using traditional methods.
Overall I am very satisfied with the recordings and final mixes achieved using ZYLIA. The ZM-1 microphone together with the ZYLIA Studio PRO VST plugin opens up a whole new exciting range of opportunities for recording engineers and audio creators. What is really important is that you can do a lot of modifications in the post-production. As a sound designer you can decide on the spatial effect, the tone and balance of the instruments after the recording is made from the comfort of your studio by listening to the effects of your work in good listening conditions. The creators of the mic already announced addition of new options to the software like the possibility to change the width and characteristic of individual virtual microphones. This will give complete control over the recording/mixing process into the hands of sound designer and will open endless possibilities. Now it is only up to you how you are going to use them...
In this release of ZYLIA Studio we bring a lot of performance and UI improvements. First thing you will notice during launch is a brand new splash screen shown during the application’s launch.
Second big improvement is the possibility to change the location where ZYLIA Studio stores its data. You can now select the data directory (directory where all ZYLIA Studio’s data is located) in the Options menu. Just click the cog icon, then in the section “Data storage” choose “Change data location”. This will restart ZYLIA Studio and use the new directory by default. You can select any directory you want, but we recommend using an internal or a fast USB drive due to data transfer limitations of standard USB flash drives, etc.
You can also use this feature to transfer data between different instances of ZYLIA Studio 1.4.0.
Finally, we improved memory management, which results in lower RAM consumption (up to 5 fold decrease!) and higher UI responsibility, especially for sessions with high number of recordings.
Based on your feedback, we improved how some controls work, like the solo/mute buttons or gain/pan sliders in the mixer.
Some of animations were also updated for a better and smoother experience with ZYLIA Studio.
Check it out now!
by Łukasz Januszkiewicz and Jakub Zamojski
When Facebook 360 is not enough
In July 2017, we had a pleasure to meet a vocal play band called Audiofeels (https://www.facebook.com/audiofeels/) and record their performance with our 19-capsules ZYLIA ZM-1. Then we used ZYLIA Ambisonics Converter and transformed the 19-channel recording into 8-channels TBE, which is 2nd order ambisonics format required by Facebook 360 Spatial Workstation plug-ins. The audio and the corresponding 360 video was combined into fine 360 movie and published on ZYLIA’s Facebook.
Unfortunately due to additional audio compression, Facebook 360 player may introduce an audible decrease of audio quality. Another issue may be a presence of annoying pops and clicks during the playback - especially on slower PC’s. It is well known problem with 360 video and the 2nd order ambisonics audio playback.
Flawless 360 movie
In this article we describe how to run our short 360 movie flawless in offline mode - without any additional audio and video coding. Demo will work on MacOS and Windows machines, and here are the steps you need to take:
1. Download and install Reaper software – https://www.reaper.fm/download.php The evaluation version is fully functional and perfect to run with our demo.
2. Download and install Facebook 360 Spatial Workstation software - https://facebook360.fb.com/spatial-workstation/ It is a free bundle of spatial audio VST plug-ins.
3. Download a Reaper session prepared by ZYLIA. It is already configured with our audio tracks and all required effects (download)
4. Download our 360 movie – two versions are available: high quality [3840x1920] (download) and medium quality [1920x960] (download). High quality version sometimes tends to pause in FB360 Video Player on slower CPUs.
5. Run Reaper and open the session (zylia_demo_vr.rpp) – you should see one track with 8‑channels WAVE file. Choose desired audio output device.
6. Click on FX button located on the track. If VST plug-ins are correctly installed, you will see FB360 Spatialiser, FB360 Control and built-in JS: Master Limiter. Make sure the Spatialiser is set to bypass mode (unchecked).
7. Click on Spatialiser and then click on “Load” button placed on the video grid. Video Player will open. Choose “Slave” mode and load provided video. You’ll see box “H264 is not a recommended codec” - click “X”.
8. Set the video format to “Mono” and the display mode to “Desktop”. In “Connect to DAW” you should be able to choose your computer’s name. If not, try to restart Reaper and repeat the steps 6-8. You are ready to click on “Open” button. Video box will appear.
9. Back to FX window and click on FB360 Control. Ensure that “Listener Roll”, “Listener Pitch” and “Listener Yaw” are gotten from video – controls should be darkened. Open video box and try to rotate the image - “Pitch” and “Yaw” sliders should follow the image rotation.
10. The video is synchronized with audio. Changing location of play-head in Reaper’s timeline affects on video’s time. Tap space bar to play audio and video. Rotation of video affects on binaural decoded ambisonics sound.
11. Good practice is to play video from the beginning of file to keep the synchronization. In some cases, it’s necessary to close the VideoClient + VideoPlayer and load 360 video again to recover the synchronization.
12. Your demo is ready to run.
Another method to synchronize ambisonics audio and 360 video is to use SpookSyncVR (http://www.spook.fm/spooksyncvr/). This application allows to connect GoPro VR Player (http://www.kolor.com/gopro-vr-player/download/) with Reaper. The main advantages of using SpookSyncVR are:
You can find tutorial how to use SpookSyncVR under this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lzLxmEIYBl4 The only difference between Reaper session from the above tutorial and our session is that instead of ATK plug-ins, the FB Spatial Workstation plug-ins were used. You have to assign “Listener Pitch” to “pan_pitch” (OpenSoundControl parameter) and “Listener Yaw” to “pan_yaw”. “pan_pitch” and “pan_yaw” are available in “Send pan” Spook’s field.
In FB360 Control turn off “Get from video”:
Now our 360 demo is ready to run. Enjoy it!
Source recordings cannot be published anywhere else in the original or modified form.