Browse Definitions:
Definition

3D audio (three-dimensional audio)

Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn

3D audio is a simulation of the natural positioning of sounds for various applications including video presentations and games, virtual environments and sound stages.

3D audio relies on a variety of technologies to create a more life-like or dramatic immersive experience for music, movies, video and video games as well as virtual reality (VR). The technologies are also used for training simulations, educational applications and even therapy. 

Some 3D audio techniques use manually mixed tracks for voice, instruments, ambient sounds and sound effects that are spread among two or more speaker channels. Stereo, quadrophonic and numerous multi-speaker surround sound technologies are produced this way. Binaural 3D audio is produced by recording with dual microphones. This is an old technique often adopted by modern applications. Some binaural microphones simulate human hearing simply by placement of the microphones. Others based on biomimicry (the imitation of naturally-occurring systems) include anatomic models of the human ear or even the entire head. Binaural 3D audio is particularly well suited to virtual reality because it is easier to produce than other methods and also helps keep down the weight of VR headsets because it operates with only two speakers.

As is often the case, proprietary technologies and a lack of standardization are hindering development of the industry.  Licensing of some technologies used for 3D audio can be quite expensive, and there are many competing formats. The pioneering Dolby Labs, for example, offers a large number of 3D audio formats based on various numbers of speakers. Other 3D audio companies include 3Dio, Auro, Dysonics, Ossic, RealSpace, Sennheiser and VisiSonics.

See and hear an introduction to 3D audio -- grab your headphones first:

This was last updated in April 2016

Continue Reading About 3D audio (three-dimensional audio)

Join the conversation

1 comment

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.

It's nice but I feel it's still limited.It's been a while since I had the need for that kind of sound. Playing games and videos from a game consoles hooked to your home entertainment system may be you best bet for the closest 3D sound. Until they have sound cards for PC's that can support many speakers, like 5 plus a sub-woofer, we will deal with it the best we can.
Cancel

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

Powered by:

SearchCompliance

SearchSecurity

  • copyright

    Copyright is a legal term describing ownership of control of the rights to the use and distribution of certain works of creative ...

  • keylogger (keystroke logger or system monitor)

    A keylogger, sometimes called a keystroke logger or system monitor, is a type of surveillance technology used to monitor and ...

  • password

    A password is an unspaced sequence of characters used to determine that a computer user requesting access to a computer system is...

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • business continuity plan (BCP)

    A business continuity plan (BCP) is a document that consists of the critical information an organization needs to continue ...

  • call tree

    A call tree -- sometimes referred to as a phone tree -- is a telecommunications chain for notifying specific individuals of an ...

  • mass notification system (MNS)

    A mass notification system is a platform that sends one-way messages to inform employees and the public of an emergency.

SearchStorage

  • RAID (redundant array of independent disks)

    RAID (redundant array of independent disks) is a way of storing the same data in different places on multiple hard disks to ...

  • data migration

    Data migration is the process of transferring data between data storage systems, data formats or computer systems.

  • compact disc (CD)

    A compact disc is a portable storage medium that can be used for recording, storing and playing back audio, video and other data ...

SearchSolidStateStorage

  • NVMe (non-volatile memory express)

    NVMe (non-volatile memory express) is a host controller interface and storage protocol to enable a solid-state drive to use the ...

  • SSD RAID (solid-state drive RAID)

    SSD RAID (solid-state drive RAID) is a methodology commonly used to protect data by distributing redundant data blocks across ...

  • Tier 0

    Tier 0 (tier zero) is a level of data storage that is faster, and perhaps more expensive, than any other level in the storage ...

SearchCloudStorage

  • RESTful API

    A RESTful application program interface breaks down a transaction to create a series of small modules, each of which addresses an...

  • cloud storage infrastructure

    Cloud storage infrastructure is the hardware and software framework that supports the computing requirements of a private or ...

  • Zadara VPSA and ZIOS

    Zadara Storage provides block, file or object storage with varying levels of compute and capacity through its ZIOS and VPSA ...

Close