NAMM updates (and a few others too)


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Nov 17, 2023
I just got back from NAMM over the weekend and wanted to share a few updates that I think members here might enjoy. Overall, it seems that there is strong industry support for immersive formats, at least from the people that make the music. Whether the same is true for the labels, I can't say!

There were several demo areas set up with spatial audio
1. Sony had two different demo setups for 360 Reality Audio. Besides general promotion, they were also touting a "Virtual Mixing Environment" for those without the space or budget for a full immersive mix studio.

2. PMC (speaker company) had a demo room and several information sessions on Dolby Atmos mixing. If memory serves, they were one of the driving forces getting Dolby Atmos music off the ground a few years ago.

3. AVID (i.e. Pro Tools) had a demo setup showing off the Dolby renderer that is now integrated into Pro Tools.

4. Sennheiser/Neumann (maker of of microphones and speakers etc.) had a large room equipped with a Dolby Atmos playback system. In another room they were showing a VR-based virtual mix environment by Dear Reality.

5. Genelec (speaker company) had a demo room and were showing off their latest gargantuan speakers.

Both the Sennheiser/Neumann and Genelec rooms hosted sessions where well known engineers showed off some of their projects new and old. Justin Gray presented some new work that sounded incredible. Very Snarky Puppy-esque. Other sessions presented throughout the weekend were by the likes of Elliot Scheiner, George Massenburg, Eric Schilling, Frank Filipetti, etc.

Other Product Support
1. RME (maker of high-end audio interfaces) was touting immersive audio in full page ads in the dailies. One of their enabling features is room correction filters on the outputs of the interfaces.

2. Audeze (headphone company) was showing their Maxwell gaming headset that has head-tracked Dolby Atmos decoding. In addition to gaming, I think the intention is that you can use it for mixing as well (if you don't have a proper studio). I listened to their demo and it was good. Way better than the Atmos virtualization you get on Air Pods Max.

Other Industry Updates
There are not one but TWO new immersive audio codecs on the horizon.

1. The folks that made Auro 3D announced the new Auro-CX codec at CES a couple weeks ago.

2. The Alliance for Open Media (many tech companies including the likes of Samsung and Google) have a codec in the works called "Immersive Audio Model and Formats" or IAMF.

It's hard to say how quickly (or if) these new codecs will catch on. MPEG-H (the technology behind 360 Reality Audio) took about 9 years from official published spec to any sort of substantial market adoption.
Thanks for the update!
I do remember Richard Chycki posting about his appearance to talk about Atmos too, specially on the RUSH catalog.