3D audio through headphones is finally making it into consumer products. This is in large part due to the implementation of highly responsive head tracking, crucial for an immersive experience. But a truly immersive 3D audio experience takes more. Because everybody has unique ears, one has to take into account how you personally hear the world, which is encoded in your unique HRTF. At the University of Antwerp we have developed a measurement kit so you can measure your HRTF at home, in a way similar to that in specialized facilities. Moreover, using the same hardware from the measurement kit and your high-quality HRTF, you can turn REAPER into a head-tracked virtual 3D mixing studio, attuned to your ears.
The kit contains everything you need to measure your personal HRTF, except for some accessories we presume you already have: a quiet room with a swivel chair, a laptop (Windows) and a music device (smartphone, MP3 player, ...) connected to a loudspeaker. The measurement is fairly easy. You are seated on the swivel chair in front of the loudspeaker, with a head tracker attached to your head and two microphones inserted in your ears. An app running on the laptop guides your through the measurement. While a sound file is being played through the loudspeaker, you rotate your head in all possible orientations. Hence, from the viewpoint of your head, every chirp is coming from a different direction, allowing the app to measure how you perceive sounds coming from all possible directions. After about 15 minutes of rotating your head, the collected data can be uploaded to the Earfish website where your personal HRTF is extracted in SOFA file format.
With your personal HRTF and the hardware included in the kit you now have the necessary tools to turn REAPER into a personalized virtual 3D mixing studio, thanks to the fantastic SPARTA plugins (ambiBIN and binauraliserNF) that allow importing your personal SOFA file and connecting with the OSC head tracker. The head tracker can easily be mounted on your favorite headphones, the USB sound card makes sure that your headphones are fed with high-quality audio.
The hardware kit, including the extraction of one HRTF costs 200 EUR, postal services not included. Your friends and colleagues can use the same set to measure their HRTFs, at an extra cost of 50 EUR per HRTF.
Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Earfish is a project of the Active Perception Lab of the University of Antwerp, a small multidisciplinary team of engineers, physicists and cognitive psychologists, that works on sound localization in humans and bats. With Earfish we want to take our patented technology beyond the scientific realm and make it possible for everyone to use a high-quality personalized HRTF. If you have any questions regarding our technology, or if you are interested in a collaboration, please reach out to us.
Dr. Jonas Reijniers
Prof. dr. ir. Herbert Peremans
Prof. dr. Bart Partoens
Dr. Fons de Mey