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Anyone have any experience/encounters with Binaural (3D Stereo) Audio?

Nabeel Ansari

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Hey guys,

I'm working for a company and we're developing an open source C++ API for game devs. One of the big features we're going to implement is Binaural Audio (3D HRTF-transformed to stereo) and I was wondering what kind of impression Binaural Audio has in the general community.

I'm talking about stuff like the

. Think combining it with Oculus Rift; very immersive. We're also targeting mobile games. Think GPS, large-scale social audio games (travelling to and from sound sources, for example)

Have you ever tried it, heard of it, worked with it, tried to create it, etc. Tell me anything even if it's just "This is a cool idea!" or "This is a terrible idea!", because I'd like to know about the awareness level (that this is something games can be doing and are starting to try).

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Horror game use is indeed very obvious and attractive.

How about subtly mixing in binaural beats, hehe. Then see if a percentage of gamers trip out while playing the game.

Got a question regarding this that sort of fits in here...anyone tried out some binaural beat mixes on headphones and got a noteworthy effect of any kind? Beyond it just sounding weird?

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There is a ton of research in this field in academia:


Some of the people listed in thank you section of this have extensive research in this subject. Better break out Google Scholar and do some reading.

Before you go down this road, keep in mind speaker placement and frequency reproduction of the speakers will have a drastic affect on head related transfer functions. (HRTF) While in grad school I have listened to pieces/textural compositions that were able to do this, and some that failed miserably.

A good thing to study is also some of the magic frequencies that have a great perception on our perception of sound. Strong content at 8kHz will make a sound feel like it is sitting on top of your head. Try boosting that on a lead synth sound in track sometime, works wonders.

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We have a few DSP grad students on the team and yeah, we've been scrounging Google for HRTF implementation stuff. There's decades/tons of research, experiments, math analysis, but as far as code/computational examples, the only ones we can find are commercial game/sound libraries. We're creating our API under LGPL/MIT type license and we want developers to be able to commercially use it without restriction or fees, so we can't make use of anything that isn't free and completely open.

This may end up being a case of us writing our own implementation. We have the team for it, we just need to evaluate what's the best option.

One thing I can say is that we're not at all going to plan on speaker support; as you said, HRTF stuff just gets way way messed up. We're targeting mobile games (people with ear buds) and PC games (PC gamers usually have headsets or phones)

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