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User Reviews by KVR Members for Spatial Audio Designer

Rate & Review Spatial Audio Designer Now!

9.00
Reviewed By fcscholz on 22nd June 2013
OS: Version: Win8
1 of 1 people found this review helpful. Was it helpful to you? YesNo

The Spatial Audio Designer (SAD) is a modern and multifunctional panning tool. SAD is developed and produced by a Hamburg based company called New Audio Technology. It can handle all Surround and 3D audio formats as well as upcoming multichannel solutions. One of the highlights is the ability to work on the mix with virtual speakers: with simple headphones you can listen to all the supported multi-format mixes (up to 22.2) in a virtual room environment. With this feature it's a great tool to "show" customers without a specific speaker-array surround (or 3D) mixes. I've used the Spatial Audio Designer already this way – very successfully.
But, first things first:
The Spatial Audio Designer covers Windows (XP and above) and MacOS (10.6.2 and above) and the major plug-in formats (RTAS, AU and VST). 32-bit and 64-bit hosts are supported. SAD features an off-beat copy protection. Neither iLok nor eLicenser are needed to authorize and use this software. First, you download a small application which generates a unique ID for your computer. Then, you have to insert this computer-related ID on the website. Your personal (computer-related) copy of SAD will be generated and made ready for download. An interesting option is to authorize standard USB storage for copy protection purposes. The USB flash drive can still be used as such; furthermore, it fulfils the duties of an iLok or eLicenser for SAD. That's pretty unusual, isn't it? You should use a Core2Duo (or above) and 2GB of RAM (minimum), 4GB or more (recommended).
Panning
There are many Surround panners out there, but this one is different. First, it can pan all formats like 5.1, 7.1, Auro-3D up to 22.2 (yes 3D, I mentioned it already), second it does not work speaker-related (like all the others do) but position-related. So you can change the speaker setting completely "on the fly" without updating or changing the pannings manually – nice. And you can use the existing automation data in SAD – a time saver.
Every signal (mixing channel) can be positioned freely by this panning tool. There are two areas: a bird's eye view (from the top) to pan front, surround and the sides; and a view from behind to define height of signal. In both views, a head is shown to visualize the relative position of the listener's head. The speaker positions are shown as well.
Virtualization
For laptop/headphones users (e.g. in trains or planes) and users without the desired speaker array, SAD offers a virtualization mode. This mode can be used where no appropriate speaker system is available to make Headphone Surround soundtracks as a special feature for Blu-rays or DVDs or to create new Headphone Surround 3D versions!
The virtualization is available for mono mixes up to 22.2 mixes too. It only works on headphones – but on all headphones. There are a lot of virtual locations to mix in and the company is constantly introducing new ones.

Verdict
The SAD is a really innovative tool which is – in this special form – competitor free in the market.
You can pan Stereo, Surround and 3D audio up to 22.2 with one panning tool. In the whole mixing process, the speaker settings are changeable on the fly, without losing mixing or automation data. This option can be used to play out several mix-versions (Stereo, 5.1, 7.1, 11.1 and so on). Virtualization on headphones or using real speakers is both possible. Whether your DAW supports the desired bus structure or not – SAD will handle it for you. I recommend this tool for all producers, engineers and other users who want to work on Surround and 3D audio and who have to, or want to, start without too much investment – it's a cool tool.

Latest 1 review from a total of 1

Discussion: Active

Discussion

12 July 2013 at 7:33ambailees7irish

It may be a great product, but the price sure isn't.

17 July 2013 at 1:32amtezza

Solutions for mere mortals :/

Ableton Live: Create Surround Sound Mixes With Max For Live | WinkSound
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MTeqNC1AnOU.

17 July 2013 at 2:11amtezza

This free plugin does the 3D for headphones thing from an existing multi-channel setup.

http://www.toneboosters.com/tb-isone/.

17 July 2013 at 1:30amtezza

Hey man, that was a great review, but I'm gonna have to side with Bailees on the price thing. I'm just learning music production and I really want to integrate surround mixes as part of my default workflow from the get go. This plugin looks IDEAL but I can't cost-justify it because I am not making money with music yet.

I can sort of understand that it's priced as a 'niche' product, but that sort of pricing is going to keep things niche instead of common. The digital age has been great for audio tools, but it has been unexpectedly BAD for listening due to the bulk of music distribution being via lossy compression, but also due to trends like "loudness wars" (google it). It's sad that DVD Audio has failed to reach popularity. Heck, even the aging audio CD, which was a huge improvement over vinyl, suffered from the loudness trend - we lost all that dynamic range in our mixes because the marketing execs want all the mixes to be LOUDER. So now dynamic range and audio quality doesn't mean squat. DVD Audio along with it's surround capabilities has been the baby that got thrown out with the bath water for the sake of online distribution - even though we have the bandwidth to distribute DVD Audio ISOs if we wanted to. Just yesterday I bought an album from Don Garbutt's website for 10 USD (paypal) and was directed to download the uncompressed WAV files (no DRM, no lossy compression).

I think it's time to move on by moving back. Back to preserving dynamic range, back to DVD Audio with it's beckoning surround format. This tool has the potential to make that very fun, but it won't happen if the real drivers of such a change (bedroom producers) are out-priced.

I hate seeing what's possible but not having it within my reach :(

But thanks for the review anyhow :).

17 July 2013 at 11:04amnewaudiotechnology

Hi everybody,
some points right from the developers headquarter:

1. The SAD isn't just a "headphone 3D maker". It is a multi-format panner tool for all kinds of formats like stereo (one dimentional), surround (2D) and every 3D format available on the market (e.g. IMAX (6.1), 2+2+2+2, Auro-3D, 22.2). Any format is a click away.

2. It is available for all workstations because it is a plug-in that supports AU, VST2.4 and RTAS. VST3 and AAX will be available as a free upgrade very soon.

3. The signal can be routed to real speaker systems as well as to a high quality headphone virtualization unit within the plug in.
So the user easily can take the production on the road and back to the studio.

4. For the headphone virtualization any standard stereo headphone can be used. The user can hear the mix in a real measured environment. So, e.g. one can listen to a 5.1 mix in the ARRI Stage One in Munich, in the Luna Studio or in a recording van.

Every user so is connected to all current and future formats right away. No matter if it is a bedroom studio or a multi-million post house.

Our users report, that the price tag is not too high for what it delivers. More than 90% of the users should be fine with the basic version that is the cheapest one, too. The only drawback is that one cannot address more than 8 physical audio hardware outputs with it. The rest of the feature set is exactly the same….

If you are only interested in surround (2D) monitoring our new tool, the Spatial Sound Card Software, might be something to test out, too. It is a virtual sound card. You DAW needs to provide surround capability though.

Please make sure to test the tool, it is something new, and needs some time invested. But it is worth to do so.
If there are any questions about this new audio dimension, please don't hold back.

Kind regards,
Tom.

General Manager - New Audio Technology GmbH.

THIS POST HAS BEEN REMOVED

17 July 2013 at 12:01pmtezza

Cheers for the info Tom. I'm sure it is well worth it for the industry professionals to which it is directed.

I'll download a trial of the basic version to give it a go for sure. I'm telling you now though, there is nothing in the kitty for even the 8 channel version. However I want to get familiar with it in case I really have to have it anyway! ;)

It will take me a while to test SAD as at the same time, I will be trying out various techniques using a combination of XY Send Nodes (which is crude, but works) for generating multichannel tracks the manual way in Ableton. I have some ideas about doing this channel gymnastics whilst still preserving the legacy 'panning' features of both the DAW and the plugin instruments/effects.

To complete the DiY hack-fest, I will try using these open-source tools to put together a surround sound DVD Audio disk. http://DVD-audio.sourceforge.net/

As a separate but related exercise, I will also test the free HRTF designer for combining said multiple channels in Ableton for headphone 3D track pairs.

Dunno when I am going to get time for all this as my day job is currently suffering whilst I do all this music stuff! LOL!

Any chance you'll do a 5.1 (6 channel) version for 62€ ??? (that's dividing by the same amount again - and is pretty much my actual budget for plugin tools). Limit it to AC3 (lossy) and 5.1 only and lose the 3D headphone thing... I reckon that sounds fair ;)

Never hurts to ask. But in all seriousness, this would be a good way to start popularising the format to generate market demand, whilst making your brand the go-to "people's choice" tool for the burgeoning 2D/3D music market.

17 July 2013 at 7:14pmbailees7irish

That's great that 90% of your users can afford it, Tom, but it's still expensive. Not everyone's at industry pro level income. I think tezza's point was that it would be nice if products such as these were made available for everyone, not just the 90% upper echelon.

18 July 2013 at 10:32ammpeg5

Well, i can see that it is a bit on the pricy side for some people. But if you look at what the latest and greatest hardware emulations cost, not to mention a full surround speaker setup, this is still a bargain.

If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys....
That said i think the developer is well adviced to think about a stripped down version with a reduced feature set.

Look at their Spatial Sound Card Software - it might solve your needs on a budget though.

18 July 2013 at 10:24pmnewaudiotechnology

Hey from Hamburg,.

well I'm a producer so not just a marketing guy who just care about is income. I needed to have a well working, time saving and new possibilities providing tool for multichannel production what also not bounds me to a daw or a place as well as to a format .That's what we developed with the Spatial Audio Designer. The Spatial Sound Card is indeed made for smaller as well as different needs and budgets.

So let's say it's a professional application what could be much more expensive. But for me it's very important to give also younger as well as nonprofessional producers the possibility to be aboard. In my mind we need to have as much as possible cool content in the market and definitely not only the stuff from the big boys, definitely not! But on the other hand I have to pay a lot of peoples to make that happen. So we try to offer not only a fair but even a low price for what is possible with our tools but also a price that enable us to do the development. The result is the pricing we offer. It's not cheap I agree, but possible. My hope is that everybody who checked the free trials and like what he hear will find a way to spend the money for a license. More and more university as well as private media schools are equipped so the possibilities for younger peoples to work with our tools for free increases.

There is a huge market today available for each of us – headphones! 80% of the peoples hear their music on headphones. So with a tool like the Spatial Audio Designer everybody is much closer to have a huge or even a small but a business and could become able to invest into the tools.

All the best,.

Tom?.

19 July 2013 at 6:29amtezza

Well I think the world is lucky to have such a product and it deserves to succeed. I am surprised that all big label music is not produced in surround. It's not like the technology hasn't been around long enough. I think surround sound systems in the home have been pretty mainstream since shortly after DVD movies arrived. It's a shame music hasn't kept up. With DVD Audio there is no excuse for music producers really - especially with the headphone spacialisation technology. This really is a big opportunity.

Tom, what did you think about my idea of another stepping stone product? Is it relatively easy to implement? or do you feel it will degrade the overall perception of the tool? As you say, from a market point of view 80 to 90 percent on listening is via headphones. A 'Lite' product without support for headphones would be thusly limited in it's application and market reach so anyone serious would buy your main product.

The Sound Card product also looks great. There are lots of times you're editing music without access to your surround studio even if you have one. I will definitely be interested in that. At the moment, I am 'faking' it in ableton using some crude hacks, but once I have made a good surround song to test with, I will start testing your tool.

Here is a screenshot of a setup I am testing with..
http://wwhub.s3.amazonaws.com/Ableton_surround_template_XY-Send-Nodes.png

19 July 2013 at 9:49amnewaudiotechnology

…well I think there are a lot of reason why the music industry didn't support surround. One is that they thought DVD is video only product. But mainly they are light years away from being creative especially in content creation:) Maybe they are awaken a bit from there 'Dornröschen' sleep, I plan with some majors headphone surround 3D products! Maybe a good information for all who read this;-) We will see….

In my mind DVD audio as well as SACD failed because of no video, nobody can hear the different at home to 'standard' mixes, and too often there wasn't one, and it's too expensive. I'm pretty sure the way to enhance the entertainment is to bring new content to the market, primarily in multichannel surround as well as 3D because the experience can get a much higher emotional impact as current productions. This was already given in Surround. So mainly the creators like composer and producer are the one who has to pick up the ball but they need to have the tools to enter in such new dimensions.

But the best production doesn't care anybody if less as 1% of the peoples in the world can hear it. So in my mind the way to cool content everybody NEED and can hear is the headphone application! And this is one main reason we developed the Spatial Audio Designer. I am a producer and composer and hate to waste my time while tring to pimp my DAW but without well results. So I'm with you;-).

Doing a SAD light would be another task we have to take care about: beta testing, distribution, marketing, upgrades etc. Currently we have to take care about where we spend the limited energy of the company and at the moment we try to enhance, bugfix an complete the product chain e.g. with a product like the Spatial Sound Card. It fills the gap between pro applications in a DAW and a quick surround monitoring with or without a DAW simply on your computer as well as on external device via USB or fire wire. The video guys are very keen about it because often they also have to edit multichannel audio along a video without having the possibility to control it.

I'm looking forward tezza, to you opinion about our tools and hope you agree it's maybe not a discount but for the possibilities you may reserve a bit money to get a license 2 or 3 month later. I'm pretty sure a low level product will not full fill your needs a very long time. Soon you want to have what you can get right now;-).

Best regards,.

Tom:).

19 July 2013 at 1:14pmtezza

Well I definitely want it NOW already LOL! Especially after watching your video. I left a comment for feedback on the video itself. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=um0hClmA9J8

Yes the 3D headphone revolution is where it's at. More people are watching videos via laptop as well and I don't think youtube, vimeo are offering surround (do the web browsers even support it???).

I shoot wedding videos and the like (small time professional) so I am also about the video. I've been using Sony Vegas and it has had 5.1 support for a very long time, but I am moving to Avid at the moment (there goes $1000 just for that). I'm still learning Avid at the moment. I haven't shot any 3D videos yet, but SAD might be another reason to change that.

19 July 2013 at 1:35pmnewaudiotechnology

Hey tezza,.

thanks for the comment, totally agree.

Something is happen with you, we notice everywhere around us. One 'open a door' and stand in front of three new doors where cool, helpful, nice, entertaining etc. possibilities are behind. This is what's driving me mainly regarding this headphone 3D Technology, a lot of cool audio stuff we can do for a very very long time because of a two ears, all day any application technology. We're not bound to facility's, places, time and majors.

Regarding that we try to enhance the possibilities with our tools the whole day. Maybe someday we become a major, than please remind me to what I said today;-).

Cheers,.

Tom:).

THIS POST HAS BEEN REMOVED

21 July 2013 at 1:11amNspace

"Doing a SAD light would be another task we have to take care about: beta testing, distribution, marketing, upgrades etc"(Tom)
Understandable... However there are other alternatives to ease the access of such redefining technology to users that might be interested in experimenting, students and other early adopters whom -in turn will help to spread out the call-.
This might very well be achieved by doing selective and focused promotions of the existing releases.

One example would be the time & quantity limited, important price reductions that are very often published in this very site, check http://www.kvraudio.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=262151&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0 Promotions that usually range from 20 to 80% and typically very time limited (even a few hours sometimes).

Alternatively you may let a few key connected people whose opinion you respect (Tezza iex.), to hand out invitations/promotion codes in order to reach certain profile of users that otherwise would not have access to this possibility and that would also mean they will give back valuable comments or at least usage experiences to be openly shared at forums and that conversely would contribute to your company gaining faster sales traction in its relevant markets, depending on the scope and effectivity of the strategy...

Yes you will have to be careful not to cannibalize potential sales, but at present prices, the segment does revolve around busy people who might scape the boundaries of the promotions/selective discount efforts..

I would say that these actions seem to be particularly relevant in a chicken-egg dilemma like the Surround state of things, that imho has been too long langhishing in the untouchable distance. And your company appears to have certain stronghold to stir up things a bit.Surely several people here -me included- would be willing to be part of.
Nacho.

21 July 2013 at 3:05pmnewaudiotechnology

Hi Nacho,.

I agree, we shouldn't sit in our crystal palace and wait for the clients;-) Indeed we need to give inducements to care about the new stuff who is possible with the SAD and it's a lot more then 'simple' surround. Taking of the ball of special offers, currently we give a discount of 33% to 66% until the middle of August who also implicate any SAD bundle. Should we post it to the bargain forum?

Indeed as I mentioned above we absolutely need the young producers and we do support them. Because of that mostly schools like SAE, universities and scientific institutes get a discount and we have a lot of them aboard and further asked for offers;-).

Furthermore our licenses hast two seats and we noticed that some young producers share licenses. It's not meant like that but for them it's ok for us;-).

And you're absolutely right, we need to have well known maybe famous or very active peoples in the scene and blocks who gives advices, ideas and very important, opportunities what can happen now and in the future also regarding the business side. Because of that obviously we do give NFR free licenses e.g. to authors and magazines as well as well-known producers and studios.

We either support producers who plan or are in productions while give advices, discuss ideas, make connections and post cool new stuff in magazine newsletters, Facebook as well as on our web site and in our online demo player http://www.newaudiotechnology.de/home/demoplayer/.

If you like to suggest something else what helps to spread out the vision of a new sound dimension what also enable enough income for us to keep on the development let me know. I'm open to discuss that:).

Best Regards,.

Tom:).

22 July 2013 at 6:42amNspace

Tom
Good to hear such a proactive approach and renewed energy in this matter, and great to see agreement at several angles put forward in this review comments.
In general terms it looks obvious that the more open and wide ranging the promotional effort, the more reduced the incentive and on the contrary, the more surgical the attempt, then the bigger it could get.
I would gladly talk about forums and places and activities where varying degrees of interest could be found, but it might get to be quite off topic in this thread.
I did checked your newaudiotechnology profile here and it does not allow messages, so maybe this place or possibly (?) other could be a good platform for this talk...
About "Should we post it to the bargain forum?". It is just a thread inside a forum and usually a few KVRs keep it busy. Don't remember to have seen actual developers posting there, but that actually happening would definitely mean a sharpening focus from their part, plus surely KVR administration would probably see with good eyes that level of firm involvement on this site, though, I am not the one to give you an answer, since in this place I am just a happy learner.
I have been interested in Spatialization since 2003 when I was able to take part in a seminar in one of the two main branches el XXth century's Classic Contemporanean music called Electroacustic Music, one sub-brach of which, is calles Acousmatic Music, and so -like this one- there are whole sectors that could be interested in your development... and could very likely welcome a communicative approach like you are sharing here.
Kind Regards
Nacho

22 July 2013 at 5:53pmNspace

PS: Forgot to mention that Acousmatic Music utilizes diverse (custom) multispeaker designs for the diffusion of their music.

24 July 2013 at 2:43amtezza

Perhaps we need to start a Surround/3D area in the forums?

Even if it is a little unpopulated in the short term, it will provide space for the discussion to grow - taking an active role in growing this area of music production :).

24 July 2013 at 12:31pmnewaudiotechnology

Absolute agree tezza and because of the headphone Issue where we 'opened a door into a new dimension', I think the surround / 3D / spatial / holographic or however you will name this, is a huge task for more the music production already;-).

Cheers,.

Tom?.

16 March 2014 at 12:54pmmpeg5

Looking at the price tag again... there are new versions and even a whole new concept, a virtual sound card, at a way lower price tag starting from € 69,-... it is called "Spatial Audio Designer In-One" and "Spatial Sound Card".

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