The Auro-3D® Creative Tool Suite allows you to add immersive 3D sound to your existing workflow, whilst making the 3D content available through a single file distribution, and played back in digital cinema, or home theatre via Blu-ray™.
Expanding Dimensions In Sound
Audio reproduction has evolved from a point source (Mono), to a single dimension (Stereo), to two-dimensional Surround sound (5.1/7.1). Now we are starting to see three dimension sound systems and the two key players are Dolby with it’s Atmos system and the Auro-3D system.
To produce three-dimensional sound, any reproduction system must include a vertical Z-axis (top-to-bottom), in addition to the existing X (side-to-side) and Y (front-to-back) planar axes found in current systems. Our friends at Auro Technologies have chosen to take a three-layered approach with Lower, Height, and Top Layers which they believe creates a realistic immersive three-dimensional soundscape, and have produced the new integrated Auro-3D® Creative Tool Suite to help us to work flexibly and efficiently across all of these dimensions in sound.
Auro-3D Creative Tool Suite
As Pro Tools can currently only handle up to 7.1, Auro Technologies have had to produce a set of solutions to work round this limitation. The Auro-3D Authoring Tools consist of a set of plug-ins which now includes 3D panning and mixing with support for all Auro-3D formats and various Surround formats, as well as encoding with the Auro-Codec® Encoder.
A basic Auro-3D session consists of the Auro-Panner™, Auro-Bus, Auro-Mixing Engine, and Auro-Return plug-ins. Each plug-in is inserted on its own DAW audio track and connects to the A3DHost processor. The Auro-Panner™ sends its track’s audio to a selected Auro-Bus, which routes the signals to one or more Auro-Mixing Engines. The Auro-Mixing Engine lets you set Auro-3D downmix configuration settings, mixes the audio, and then sends it back to the DAW using the connected Auro-Return plug-ins for monitoring and bouncing of the mix.
The Auro-DMix Control plug-in allows the mixing engineer to dynamically downmix all channels in an Auro-3D configuration to the (Auro-encoded) Surround formats. These formats are backwards compatible with, and can be correctly played back on any existing non-3D speaker configuration, thanks to the Auro-DMix Control plug-in.
The Tools include the A3DHost, which runs as a background process and forms the core of the Auro-3D ecosystem to which all plug-ins are connected.
Auro-Matic Pro v2 Up-mix Plug-in
As we all have a lot of legacy content in stereo or surround, Auro Technologies have also updated their up-mix plug-in so we can take one dimensional content (stereo) and up mix to 5.1, 7.1, or Auro 3D; or take 2 dimensional content (5.1/7.1) and up-mix that to Auro 3D. We will be reviewing the new Auro-matic Pro v2 up mixing plug-in very soon to see how it performs up-mixing to surround.
All the plug-ins are available in AAX and are compatible with Pro Tools 10 and 11 but are only currently available on the Mac platform.
More on 3D Sound
Especially with 3D pictures in the cinema world we need a believable 3D sound delivery system, so over the coming weeks we are also planning some more features on 3D sound and we hope to visit the Auro Technologies headquarters in Belgium and report on our experiences with the Auro-3D system.