Clubhouse has started rolling out an update on their iOS app that allows spatial audio support and according to the company, the update for users on the Android platform would be “coming soon”. The way the feature is going to work is that it introduces subtle spatial cues that put the Clubhouse calls, speakers, into a three-dimensional (3D) space around your head, giving the remote listening experience a feeling that is almost better than being in a room full of people. It works best with headphones, either over Bluetooth or wire.
Clubhouse made the announcement in an advertisement tweet, using a video that allows you to hear for yourself how it sounds. It captioned the tweet;
“Hear ye, hear ye spAAaAaAatial audio on Clubhouse!
It’s like surround sound, but w/ your own headphones. A more vibrant, human experience! Plus makes it much easier to tell who’s talking.
thanks to @juberti for this one rolling out now on iOS, Android coming soon! pic.twitter.com/Zit6F9ijRK
— Clubhouse (@Clubhouse) August 29, 2021”
Clubhouse’s spatial audio works in such a way that it first assigns a specific position to each speaker and then distributes them around a room evenly. It then applies head-related transfer functions (HRTFs), similar to what has been used by Microsoft in the HoloLens that makes it appear like one is in the center of a conversation. Clubhouse’s implementation does not have head tracking like that of Apple, which makes audio from Netflix and Apple TV Plus shows seem like sound is coming from your playback device as you move your head.
Spatial audio is definitely having a reigning moment this year since Clubhouse’s spatial audio is coming after Apple embraced it across all of its own product lines. Recall that Sony has also added 3D audio to the PS5, which followed the launch of the Amazon Echo Studio with its own object-based 360-degree speaker this year. Even Verizon is said to be getting in on the game.
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