Dolby, the creators of Atmos, has been quietly building and trialing a new iOS mobile music production app that appears to be pitched at the SoundCloud market although the technology could well have much broader applications for anyone acquiring audio on a smartphone.
The program is codenamed “234” measures background noise before you record and then removes it from the recording.
Dani Deahl from The Verge has tried it out and says…
“The app itself is incredibly easy to use. Simply tap the record button and the app will measure room tone for a few seconds before starting the recording session. Once you stop recording, you can quickly polish the audio through adding a preset and tinkering with a few tools. Tool options include eliminating the room tone (unwanted background noise), adjusting the amount of bass and treble, adding “boost” (loudness), and trimming. I’m usually very skeptical of one-button solutions for fixing audio, so I was eager to see if Dolby’s app could follow through on its claims. I recorded my voice with a window slightly open to create a more tonal background. The presets gave me varying success. “Standard” made me sound muddy, while “bright” put too much emphasis on plosives (popping sounds made from saying words with hard consonants, like “popping!”). There was one I liked — “deep” made my voice sound more full and widened. The app looks glossy, but it’s obviously a work in progress. None of the presets worked enough magic to make my voice sound like it was recorded with a professional microphone. The mic level metering didn’t work either, failing to trigger when I recorded at high volumes.”
Josh Constine from TechCrunch says…
“Overall, the app is polished and intuitive with a lively feel thanks to the Instagram logo-style purple/orange gradient color scheme. The audio effects have a powerful impact on the sound without being gimmicky or overbearing. There’s plenty of room for additional features, though, like multi-tracking, a metronome, or built-in drum beats. For musicians posting mobile clips to Instagram or other social apps, 234 could make them sound way better without much work. There’s also a huge opportunity for Dolby to court podcasters and other non-music audio creators. I’d love a way to turn effects on and off mid-recording so I could add the feeling of an intimate whisper or echoey ampitheater to emphasize certain words or phrases.”
Based on the leaks from The Verge and TechCrunch it looks as if there will be “packs” of audio effects to augment their sounds with EQs settings like “Amped, Bright, Lyric, Thump, Deep, or Natural”. Apparently they say that recordings can then be exported, shared to Dolby’s own audio social network, or uploaded directly to SoundCloud through a built-in integration.
Dolby Have Registered 234 As Trademark
In our research for this article we have found evidence on the Justia Company Profiles website that Dolby have registered both ‘Dolby 234’ and ‘234’ as trademarks.
Try It For Yourself?
Although the reports say that Dolby have shut down the page where you can apply to be a tester of this 234 app, when we checked at 09:30 GMT the page appeared to be active and open for people to sign up to the test.
The page says…
“Sign up for a chance to experience an exciting new technology
We’ve developed an exciting new technology for creators. For a short time, we’re providing access to a limited group to try it out before the public release.
Sign up now for a chance to get exclusive access and help us shape this into an even better experience for the music community.”
Dolby Back In The Consumer Market?
It is interesting to see how Dolby is breaking back into the consumer market, first with the Dolby Dimension headphones, which we covered in our 5 Pro Audio Industry Predictions For 2019 From The Production Expert Team and now this Dolby 234 app to help the SoundCloud generation get better audio. Of course Dolby hasn’t been just a high end pro audio brand. Dolby B noise reduction was very much pitched at the consumer cassette recording market. But with their push and collaboration with DTS, Fraunhofer and others to get a generic immersive audio delivery format up and running it is good to see Dolby back in the consumer market.