Improved automatic gain correction in the set of new ZYLIA drivers
To ensure the highest quality of ZYLIA equipment, every piece of ZYLIA ZM-1 array is professionally measured at the assembly line to detect any sensitivity differences, which may occur between individual MEMS microphones. Those data are constantly monitored and analyzed for the benefit of all audio recording enthusiast. Based on captured measurement data Zylia specialists developed the automatic gain correction in the set of new ZYLIA drivers. It means a significant upgrade in the quality of the 360-degree sound scene recordings.
To be more detailed, this great new feature, allows to lower the sensitivity differences between individual microphones in ZYLIA ZM-1 from +/- 1 decibel down to +/- 0.1 dB! This results in higher performance of sound source separation algorithms applied in ZYLIA Studio and ZYLIA Studio PRO. It will also increase the quality of HOA signals (Higher Order Ambisonics) in ZYLIA Ambisonics Converter. From the user’s point of view, it means especially:
Introduced changes will be appreciated especially by professional sound engineers and audio researchers.
Additionally, a new ZYLIA ZM-1 driver for macOS:
Additionally, a new ZYLIA ZM-1 driver for Windows:
We are happy to announce the new release of ZYLIA Studio v. 1.8.0
Get to know all the changes.
ZYLIA Studio v. 1.8.0 main changes:
Bug fixes and improvements:
New release of ZYLIA Studio PRO and ZYLIA Ambisonics Converter Plugins are developed to address the needs of audio enthusiasts. The new plug-ins accommodate specific characteristics of Pro Tools and enable use of the DAW with the innovative ZYLIA ZM-1 microphone.
Because Pro Tools since 12.8.2 version supports a maximum of 16 channels per track instead of the 19 provided by the ZM-1 microphone, ZYLIA plug-ins in the AAX plug-in format work slightly different than in VST/AU version. They process the first 16 channels from ZYLIA ZM-1 recordings and omit the three bottom microphones. Users still benefit from the plug-ins’ unique features. ZYLIA Studio PRO enables spatial filtering and signal separation directly within a DAW, and also gives users access to various surround presets (up to 10.2/5.1.4). Number of virtual microphones is limited to 16. ZYLIA Ambisonics Converter in the AAX version supports conversion to 1st- and 2nd-order Ambisonics, enabling users to prepare 3D audio recordings.
We are happy to announce a new release of ZYLIA Ambisonics Converter v. 1.2.0 and ZYLIA Ambisonics Converter Plugin v. 1.1.0. Here are all the changes.
ZYLIA Ambisonics Converter v. 1.2.0
◦ Sensitivity of rotation slider
ZYLIA Ambisonics Converter Plugin v. 1.1.0
◦ Wrong sample rate warning
Download link - ZYLIA Ambisonics Converter plugin
Zylia announces the first release of ZYLIA Ambisonics Converter plugin.
ZYLIA Ambisonics Converter Plugin is a VST/AU plugin which enables conversion to Ambisonics directly within a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW). Thanks to ZYLIA Ambisonics Converter Plugin the whole recording system becomes even more powerful enabling new features for 3D audio production and surround sound recording.
ZYLIA Ambisonics Converter Plugin transforms a single 19 channel ZM-1 [http://www.zylia.co/zylia-zm-1- microphone.html] recording into Higher Order Ambisonics file that is compatible with top class tools for VR and 360 video production. It enables you to prepare 3D audio recordings for playback on the ‘Facebook 360’ and ‘Youtube 360’ platforms.
• B-format conversion (1st, 2nd and 3rd order of HOA)
• FuMa or ACN channel ordering & SN3D or N3D normalization
• ambiX and TBE formats
• Support for YouTube360 and Facebook360
• Correction of microphone position in the post-production stage
• Available as VST, VST3 and AU plugins
• macOS and Windows versions
• Compatible with DAW that supports at least 19 channels per track
Available in ZYLIA PRO Set.
What would happen if on a rainy and cloudy day, during a walk along a forest path, you could move into a completely different place thousands of kilometers away from you? Putting the goggles on would get you into a virtual reality world, you would find yourself on a sunny island in the Pacific Ocean, you would be on the beach, admiring the scenery and walking among the palm trees listening to the sound of waves and colorful parrots screeching over your head.
It sounds unrealistic, but such goals are determined by the latest trends in the development of Augmented / Virtual Reality technology (AR / VR). Technology and content for full VR or 6DoF (6 Degrees-of-Freedom) rendered in real time will give the user the opportunity to interact and navigate through virtual worlds. To experience the feeling of "full immersion" in the virtual world, realistic sound must also follow a high-level image. Therefore, only each individual sound source present in virtual audio landscape provided to the user as a single object signal can reliably reflect both the environment and the way the user interacts with it.
What are Six Degrees of Freedom (6DOF)
"Six degrees of freedom" is a specific parameter count for the number of degrees of freedom an object has in three-dimensional space, such as the real world. It means that there are six parameters or ways that the object can move.
There are many possibilities of using a 6DoF VR technology. You can imagine exploring a movie plan in your own pace. You could stroll between the actors, look at the action from different sides, listen to any conversations and paying attention to what is interesting only for you. Such technology would provide really unique experiences.
A wide spectrum of virtual reality applications drives the development of technology in the audio-visual industry. Until now, image-related technologies have been developing much faster, leaving the sound far behind. We have made the first attempts to show that 6DoF for sound is also achievable.
How to record audio in 6DoF?
It's extremely challenging to record high-quality sound from many sources present in the sound scene at the same time. We managed to do this using nine ZYLIA ZM-1 multi-track microphone arrays evenly spaced in the room.
In our experiment the sound field was captured using two different spatial arrangements of ZYLIA ZM-1 microphones placed within and around the recorded sound scenes. In the first arrangement, nine ZYLIA ZM-1 microphones were placed on a rectangular grid. Second configuration consisted of seven microphones placed on a grid composed of equilateral triangles.
Fig. Setup of 9 and 7 ZYLIA ZM-1 microphone arrays
Microphone signals were captured using a personal computer running GNU/Linux operating system. Signals originating from individual ZM-1 arrays were recorded with the specially designed software.
We recorded a few takes of musical performance with instruments such as an Irish bouzouki (stringed instrument similar to the mandolin), a tabla (Indian drums), acoustic guitars and a cajon.
Unity and 3D audio
To present interesting possibilities of using audio recorded with multiple microphone arrays we have created a Unity project with 7 Ambisonics sources. In this simulated environment, you will find three sound sources (our musicians) represented by bonfires among whom you can move around. Experiencing fluent immersive audio becomes so natural that you can actually feel being inside of this scene.
MPEG Standardization Committee
For scenario A, we used the regular stitched video from the Gear 360 and a 1st order Ambisonics audio file.
Scenario A - Basic steps taken:
Here are the detailed steps taken for the conversion to Ambisonics:
* Standard currently (August 2018) used on YouTube.
Since, the source material is the same as the one from scenario A, we’ll list here only the steps that differ.
Scenario B steps:
- Process stereoscopic video from Gear 360 on Insta360 Studio to have the ‘tiny planet’ effect;
- Convert the raw 19-channel file from ZYLIA Studio to binaural, using ZYLIA Studio PRO running in REAPER.
- Edit 360-degree video and Ambisonics audio on Adobe Premiere.
The most significant change is support for a new model of ZYLIA ZM-1. We added tailored spatial filters for a 3E microphone model to ZYLIA Studio and ZYLIA Studio PRO.
Source localization function is a new feature which will help you to find sound sources in the space. Thanks to that you will add a new virtual microphone in the right 3D position immediately.
To enable this function, press on the "Source localization" button in the left-upper corner of ZYLIA Studio PRO window. The localization algorithm works in real time. During playback of your 19-channel recording, estimated positions of the sound sources will appear on the VST/AU radar screen (blue icons). To add a virtual microphone in this position, simply click on the sound source icon.
ZYLIA Control Panel now is bundled with ZYLIA ZM-1 driver for macOS operating systems. Thanks to this application you will be able to manipulate LED brightness of your ZYLIA ZM-1 device.
To dim LED of plugged ZYLIA ZM-1 microphone, open ZYLIA Control Panel application and by using the slider decrease brightness to the desired level (you can turn the LED off as well). After closing ZYLIA Control Panel you'll be ready to start your recording session. ZYLIA Control Panel saves the last used LED brightness level and restores it right after application start.
But how to achieve a great rehearsal recording without spending too much time on technical issues? First, you need to know is what happens with the audio signal that goes to the recording device. The terms 'conversion' and 'converter' are crucial here.
Conversion of the audio into a digital form
Depending on the sampling frequency set, these snapshots are taken at different time intervals. For example, at 44.1kHz the analog-to-digital converter takes one sample every 1 / 44,100th of a second. It mins that it takes 44,100 samples representing the voltage every one second and converts them into appropriate numbers which can be stored in the digital form.
The audio signal recorded in this form, in order to be reproduced, must go ‘way back’ – so it needs to be converted into the analog signal, which will again be a variable electrical voltage. This process takes place in the digital-to-analog converter.
Audio bit depth
As it was already mentioned, in the 44.1kHz system, the audio-to-digital converter takes 44,100 samples per second. So, in the 48kHz system it is going to be 48,000, and so on. Increasing this value allows capturing more information about the sound which equals higher sound frequencies. This simply means that high-frequency instrument components can be better reproduced.
On mastering process, it is significant to operate on full band samples where low and high-frequency components are well heard. It is easier to mask some instruments by others in the same acoustic scene. Taking care of high sample frequency, you can guarantee your listeners’ natural timbre and feelings.
High sample frequency and bit resolution recordings are strongly recommended in compression, equalization and many additional audio effects. Standard configurations are 16 bits depth and 44,1k Hz sample frequency called CD standard. More advanced audio processing may require higher parameters.
In audio mastering process, the quantization noise prevents engineer to operate on well-recorded sound frequencies. Low bit depth frequency components are much distorted than the high bit. When mastering operator mix rehearsals with noise, the final record contains strengthened noise, which may be onerous for the listener and difficult to accept in professional audio production.