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Gemma Robinson

Behind the Scenes with Audioscenic’s Research & Development Team

1st May 2024 – Southampton, United Kingdom - Spatial Audio is at the forefront of conversations whether it be in music, gaming, television, or live events. This constant demand drives companies to hone their algorithm as the technological era pushes the envelope. Audioscenic, one of the leaders in 3D audio reproduction, explains their ever-evolving effort to deliver the most realistic spatial experience. So how does the team maintain momentum in an accelerated industry? The Southhampton-based company invited us into their research and development lab to speak with their team about what day-to-day operations in spatial audio is like.

In 2017 Audioscenic was founded by Marcos Simon and Filippo Fazi, after they contributed to a collaborative research project between three UK universities and the BBC. The goal being to bring spatial audio into people’s homes, which remains a key focus for Audioscenic. Their Amphi AI Beamforming technology is malleable so it can be integrated into pre-existing products. With the spatial audio market teeming with opportunities and potential applications there were several avenues the team could’ve taken. Early prototypes produced had a large span of form-factors from mobile phones to home surround systems with dozens of speakers. Though the brand’s maturation streamlined their efforts as they pave their way into the future.

We outlined two key areas including spatial computing audio and automotive technology to approach, which ensures that we are using the proper research resources to deliver a sustainable revenue stream through licensed software,” comments Dan Wallace, Audioscenic’s Research and Development Lead.

Dan Wallace Headshot (1).png Image: Dan Wallace, Audioscenic’s Research and Development Lead

The Audioscenic R&D team is comprised of a wide range of experts including Software, DSP and Computer vision teams. From the founders to the R&D personnel, each team member is not only passionate, but also holds a PhD or masters degree in spatial audio. The team actively attends academic and industrial conferences to learn from others in the field, but in addition they survey competitor products from an experiential and technical standpoint.

We have developed a suite of in-house tools that we use to understand what processing and algorithms may be present in commercially available devices and plugins,” says Dan Wallace, Audioscenic’s Research and Development Lead. “To increase the potential reach of our technology, our engineers have their finger on the pulse of spatial audio development even outside of work.

This promotes the team to think, listen and test faster in order to remain in the race.

By focusing on aligning with mass-market partners to improve the sound in various Spatial Computing devices like laptops and monitors, the R&D department has a thruline.

While our technology shines brightest when paired with an array of loudspeakers, with two audio channel devices our algorithm enhances the audio quality despite small speakers through effects like psychoacoustic bass enhancement,” Wallace continues. The engineers have made numerous algorithmic improvements that are specific to devices with two audio channels.

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Part of the research comes through a series of demos with consumers, internal stakeholders and partners. The R&D department not only showcases the improvements but receives honest feedback for how to refine the experience. “For us, it is crucial that we put excellent tech into the problem while simultaneously looking to improve the user experience in a practical way,” shares Wallace. “This means our technology needs to sound the best while also being implantable into a pre-existing product.” They also look for the ‘wow factor’ reaction by non-expert listeners, which defy measurements, and reveal the true user experience.

As R&D engineers, we can be tempted to endlessly add features and customizability to our suite of products. However, we understand that for mass-market acceptance a simple and intuitive user interface is essential,” says Wallace. “We regularly evaluate the user experience of competitor products and applications to help us as we design user controls that are familiar, while still highlighting the distinctiveness of our user-tracked spatial audio functionality.” By paying close attention to reviews as well as points of contention in the user experience, the R&D engineers have a more detailed image. “Seeing positive reviews from users of our technology is extremely rewarding. Many of our engineers spend so much time developing the product that it is often difficult to judge the true impact of the technical achievement.

For more information about Audioscenic, please click here.