Spatial Audio at Abbey Road Studios with Red Alumnus LifeScore

19th January 2021

Abbey Road Red’s Innovation Manager, Karim Fanous, introduces a special video and the first of a three-part blog series on spatial audio featuring LifeScore and Abbey Road’s Head of Audio Products and the founder of the Abbey Road Spatial Audio Forum, Mirek Stiles.

In this, Abbey Road Red’s first blog post of 2021, we are pleased to present a special video. As part of its incubation at Abbey Road Red, LifeScore chose to use its day in Studio Three to record audio assets for its new platform.

That was a great occasion. It was thrilling to watch and hear Philip lead the ensemble knowing that their crescendos marked a fulfilling incubation journey for all of us. But also, because he and the LifeScore team chose to capture the sound not just in stereo but fully spatialised audio.

Why is this important? Spatial Audio is all around us. To name a few signals: Apple has recently introduced Dolby Atmos and head tracking to its AirPod Pro and AirPod Max lines while Sony is offering ‘360 audio’ via its premium headphone range and music services like Tidal and Deezer.

Smart speakers like Amazon’s Echo and Apple’s Homepod offer immersive sound via Dolby Atmos and multiple speakers firing in different directions. Many new soundbars, like JBL’s Bar 5.0 Multibeam, are equipped with Atmos audio and are increasingly affordable. All major streaming video services including Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+ and Apple TV offer content with Dolby Atmos sound. Apple TV and Disney+ support AirPods Pro and Max Atmos and head tracking features, while Netflix is rumoured to be exploring it.

Gaming, ever the pioneer in this area has had a fresh boost in its console market. Microsoft is shipping a custom audio block more powerful than its Xbox One X’s 8-core CPU for audio alone in its new flagships. Sony’s PS5 dedicates the same amount of processing power previously housed in its PS4 solely to audio. With affordability, hardware specs and content provision converging, not to mention the established VR headset world and AR goggle bubble on the horizon, immersive audio is here to stay.
So, imagine a LifeScore powered adaptive music experience using high quality recorded audio presented not just in stereo but in spatial audio. The video below will take you on our journey into that possibility.
 

Spatial Audio at Abbey Road Studios with LifeScore

 
This is the first of a three-part blog series. In part two, our Head of Audio Products and founder of the Abbey Road Spatial Audio Forum, Mirek Stiles, will explain his approach to capturing the session, including the spatial audio microphone arrays and their placement in the context of the room and the players. In the third he will take you on a journey summarising his exploration of spatial audio as so far and what lies ahead.