by Eduardo Patricio
In general VR related workflows can be complex and everyone seems to be looking for standard solutions. Here, we will show you, step by step, how to prepare a 360 video with spatial audio in, possibly, the shortest way!
After following steps A, B and C, you’ll have a video file with 1st order Ambisonics spatial audio that can be played on your computer with compatible video players (e.g. VLC) or uploaded to YouTube.
OK, let’s have a close look at each step.
Having said that, a small horizontal offset is not the end of the world
With the gear in place, start recording both audio and video and clap in between the mic and the camera. The clap sound spike can be used to sync the footage later.
Here’s a video showing all the sub-steps in Reaper:
If you need to check how the recording sounds, add a binaural decoder plugin (e.g. IEM Binaural decoder) to the audio track, after ZYLIA Ambisonics Converter.
Now you can enjoy the spatial audio
*Software tools used
Allegro generic alternative for us to test: https://allegro.pl/oferta/ramie-przegubowe-11-magic-arm-do-kamery-8505530470
We are happy to announce the release of the ZYLIA ZM-1 driver for macOS. From now on, all macOS system versions will be handled by a single installer. This is not the only improvement. Users with macOS 10.15 now are carefully walked through the installation process in order to make sure that the ZM-1 driver is loaded properly. The driver itself has also been improved. We fixed a minor bug related to LED light control and handling audio devices by Google Chrome.
Zylia is building a future of immersive and fully navigable audio for Virtual Reality by creating an installation of 53 3rd order Ambisonics microphone arrays
Zylia introduced a six-degrees-of-freedom (6DoF) multi-level microphone arrays installation for navigable live recorded audio.
What does it mean? We are working on technology that gives people the possibility to listen to a concert or live performance from any point in the audio scene. With our technology you are able to record an audio scene from different points of the space – the center of the stage, from the middle of a string quartet, audience, or backstage. Audio recorded in such a way can be used together with virtual reality projections and allow the user to freely move around the space giving the natural experience of audio scene and the possibility to listen to it from different perspectives.
6DoF installation and test setup
The first step of test recordings was to install 9 3rd order Ambisonics microphone arrays on the same level and record musicians playing their performance. Such an approach allowed the listener to move around those 9 points and listen to their music from different perspectives. However, microphones placement on a single level introduced limitations in terms of audio resolution in the vertical plane.
Since we like challenges we decided to increase the number of microphones to 53 and build an installation on five different levels. It allowed us to freely move in every direction of the recorded scene in a truly immersive experience. The second idea behind this test setup was to check the limits of Ambisonics recordings in order to achieve a fully navigable audio scene. We placed the microphones arrays densely in the recorded scene and we received a spatial audio image of very high resolution.
We used 53 19-channel mic arrays – which gave us 1007 audio channels recorded simultaneously. Microphones were connected to a USB hub and the recordings were operated via a single laptop.
The audio recorded from each microphone array was converted to 3rd order Ambisonics using our ZYLIA Ambisonics Converter plugin (it can be done in real-time or offline). After the recording, we used our interpolation software. This software is a MaxMSP plugin, that generates 3rd order Ambisonics spheres based on the signal from all microphones in the position you are at the moment. When you put your headphones and VR headset and move around the space the algorithm in MaxMSP takes your position and interpolates 3D sound in the position you are at the moment.
We used 3rd order Ambisonics microphone arrays. It is important because the higher the order the more precision we get in the spatial localization of sound around the listener. We are able to recreate the sound with a very high spatial resolution which influences the audio quality - an extremely important aspect for listeners.
With this simple approach, you can record the natural audio scene for your VR/AR productions and use it right away without complicated work-flow in post-production. You can record live events and stream audio directly to the listener giving him the possibility to freely choose the position in this real-time recorded space for an ultimate immersive audio experience.
Cinematic trailers for VR, audio for games, live performances recording, domes with multi-loudspeakers installations
by Eduardo Patricio
Earlier this year (2019), during Easter, we recorded a string quintet concert* with 2 ZM-1 microphones. One in front of the ensemble and 1 behind it. Very simple and portable setup with powerful postproduction possibilities!
Here’s a quick example of the multi-track possibilities we have from the recordings:
How we did it
Using ZM-1 microphones basically allows you to have multi-track recordings from single mics.
Here’s what we did for this project in 5 steps.
1. We recorded the 19 channels from each ZM-1 directly onto DAW tracks on each laptop. The result was 2 uncompressed, 24-bit, 48KHz wave files.
Resulting multi-channel audio file being played back in Reaper.
2. After the recording, we loaded both multi-channel files onto a single DAW session, onto separate tracks. We synchronized the files manually using a clear transient sound (the classic "clap to sync").
Two 19-channel audio files on 2 DAW tracks.
3. We added ZYLIA Studio PRO plugin to the tracks containing the multi-channel files (one instance of the plugin for each). The plugin converts the recorded information into perfect sound spheres, from which you can extract sounds from any direction.
ZYLIA Studio PRO plugin interface before adding any virtual microphones.
4. We added virtual microphones, by clicking on the plus sign in the middle of the circle and defined their direction (in the horizontal and vertical planes) and polar patterns (width). Obs.: That means we basically set up a complex microphone arrangement after the recording, and one that can be tweaked or changed at any moment (!).
NOTE: If you don’t know yet how to work with virtual microphones and ZYLIA Studio PRO, you can check the following additional resources:
4A. From the main microphone recordings, 7 virtual microphones were used as seen in the following screen capture:
ZYLIA Studio PRO with 7 virtual microphones in place.
The virtual microphones Z1 – Z5 were narrow (shotgun-like) ones, pointing at each instrument and using S2 separation mode.
Z6 and Z7 form a wide stereo pair, pointing 45˚ up, to capture some of the overall sound and a great deal of reverberant sound.
4B. From the rear microphone recordings, 5 virtual microphones were used as seen in the following screen capture:
ZYLIA Studio PRO with 5 virtual microphones in place.
Detailed configuration of each virtual microphone:
Z1: 0˚ azimuth, 33˚ elevation, 60˚ width;
Z2 and Z5 form a stereo pair with a sum of 90˚ azimuth, pointing up (-45˚ elevation), and with 60˚ width;
Z3 and Z4 form a stereo pair with a sum of 80˚ azimuth, pointing down (-51˚ elevation), and with 60˚ width.
5. We directed each virtual microphone to individual tracks in our DAW and carried on with a regular basic mixing strategy (leveling, panning and EQing).
Section of DAW showing the tracks receiving signals from virtual microphones Z1-Z5 (Main ZM-1 microphone).
To sum up
If you would like to move/copy all sessions and recordings from one device to another, first open the ZYLIA Studio directory. The default location is:
Windows: "C:/Users/<user_name>/AppData/Local/Zylia/ZYLIA Studio"
MacOS: "/Users/<user_name>/Library/Application Support/Zylia/ZYLIA Studio"
Copy the folders “calibration” “sessions” and also the file “ZS.sqlite” to a pen drive/ external disk.
by Pedro Firmino
In this article, we will give you an alternative way of recording and coloring your guitar tone using the ZYLIA ZM-1 microphone by taking advantage of multiple channel recording.
Please, remember that these are suggestions based on our own experience and might not be suitable for your specific situation. While trying our methods, make sure to listen and adapt to your instrument, environment, and musician.
When miking a guitar it’s important to understand that this instrument is not designed to be experienced at close distances making it more challenging to find a balanced positioning for recording, especially if you plan to use the ZM-1 to obtain several channels for posterior mixing. After all, it’s one of the ZM-1 strengths.
Here we will guide you to make the most out of the ZM-1 recording abilities.
Position the ZM-1 between the neck and the sound-hole.
At 25 cm distance, the results were quite flexible to work with, however, if you see clipping happening on the VU meter of ZYLIA Studio, reduce the gain on ZYLIA Control Panel or move the ZM-1 further from the sound source.
Record your take and take some time to listen to the results. If you’re happy with the tone of the guitar you may proceed to mixing stage, if not here are some options for you:
- increasing distance of the ZM-1 and the guitar for more room tone and less presence.
- positioning ZM-1 closer to neck, giving you more treble and percussive sounds.
- positioning the ZM-1 closer to the soundhole, provides more lower end and less treble.
- using another channel of the ZM-1 recordings to add brighter tone to the mix.
This last option shows one of the great advantages of recording with the ZM-1, which it will be mentioned next.
Separate the take and Mix your tone.
Using ZYLIA Studio or ZYLIA Studio PRO, you are able to get different tones from your instrument with a single recording due to the multiple channels. It can also be useful if you want to add some reflections from the environment.
After Separating the take, try using the Auto-mix feature. The tone resulting of this feature might surprise you, but if that’s not the case you are always able to mix the tone by controlling the different channel parameters in the MIXER window.
Are you looking for more low end in your tone? Simply adjust the level of the channel correspondent to the microphone closer to the sound-hole of the guitar (In this example Musician 2).
Or perhaps you want more room tone and a wider stereo image of your recording? Increase the levels of the back microphones and apply panning (Musician 4 and 5).
We proudly announce a new release of the ZYLIA ZM-1 Driver for macOS v2.6.0 with full support for macOS 10.15 Catalina.
From now on all of the ZYLIA applications can operate on the latest version of the macOS system.
The ZYLIA ZM-1 microphone has a lot of applications. One of them is the possibility to record your sound scenes and represent them in a binaural way. What does binaural actually mean?
According to Wikipedia,
Since ZYLIA ZM-1 is a 19-channel microphone array, it is possible to simply record 360 sound and convert it to a binaural representation.
It is easy. Just convert the 19-channel audio recorded with ZYLIA ZM-1 to ambisonics, using ZYLIA Ambisonics Converter, then use a binaural decoder VST plugin such as the one from the IEM suite (https://plugins.iem.at/).
From the artist point of view, you are able to present your music scene or performance in a new way, giving your audience a true feeling of being inside your music and experiencing performance in a more natural way. You can play with your listeners, triggering additional emotions by incorporating the binaural way of recording into your music workflow.
From the sound designer point of view, it is a huge field for experiments. Check those simple recordings to experience the movement of sound objects.
It is also the perfect solution for field recordists. You can record immersive 360 scenes and represent them in a binaural way, presenting a vivid experience of being on the spot.
We are happy to announce the new release of ZYLIA Studio v1.10.1. This time we are introducing some bug fixes and small improvements.
We are happy to inform about the new release of the ZYLIA ZM-1 driver for macOS v2.5.0 with ZYLIA Control Panel application.
The new software gives you the possibility to:
ZYLIA Control Panel can now select the specific firmware upgrade patch based on your ZM-1 serial number. This patch includes a unique set of gain coefficients, which are applied to each acoustic sensor of your ZM-1. Thanks to this, it is possible to lower the sensitivity differences among the sensors down to +/- 0.1 dB. This results in higher performance of the sound source separation algorithms applied in ZYLIA Studio and ZYLIA Studio PRO, and higher precision of A2B conversion in ZYLIA Ambisonics Converter.
*Due to changes in the newest macOS 10.14.6 recording does not continued when MacBook lid is closed.