Spatial Audio: For Listeners

Spatial Audio: For Listeners


For Listeners

Stereo has been the standard sound playback medium since the late 1960s. Stereo was patented at Abbey Road by Alan Blumlein in 1931 (or ‘Binaural Sound’ as he called it), but wasn’t made available to the public till 1958. That is quite a long time from initial conception to mass adoption – so is it time for something beyond stereo as the norm?

There isn’t anything particularly wrong with stereo. It’s a fantastic format and is perfectly adequate for creating lush wide soundscapes. It’s also really convenient. Speakers in a room or headphones loan themselves to the stereo format. Until now anything beyond stereo for speakers in a room, was inconvenient, and for headphones, not possible.

That is all changing with headphone and sound bar technology that tricks the brain into thinking it can hear sound from speakers placed all around the head. The key ingredient in all of this is convenience. The general public now has a path to hear sound beyond stereo via convenient delivery – and that is an exciting thought.

To get an idea of what to expect we recommend visiting the online headphone demos at Dolby and DTS. The BBC also aired an episode of Doctor Who with Spatial Audio (SA). Would you not like to hear what your favourite artist can do with this technology to their music? We would…

Audio Examples


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Mirek Stiles

Head of Audio Products

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Abbey Road Studios

3 Abbey Road

Please note that Abbey Road is a working studio and business and as such, is not open to the general public for visits or tours. For information on vacancies and internships in the UK, please visit the Universal Music website.