WASHINGTON — The audio, social media platform Clubhouse has started rolling out an iOS app update on Aug. 29 that enables spatial audio support.

The company has said that the Android update will be “coming soon.”

“When you’re in the audience, you’ll now hear the people around you in 3D, which makes the experience a bit more lifelike and human,” Clubhouse said in the announcement blog.

“It’s also easier for your brain to track who is talking, thanks to subtle spatial cues. Spatial audio works best with headphones, wired or otherwise!”

This feature will work by introducing subtle spatial cues that position speakers on Clubhouse call into three-dimensional space around a user’s head.

This will make the remote listening experience a better approximation of being in a room full of people. It works best with headphones, either Bluetooth or wired. Clubhouse tweeted out a video allowing users to hear for themselves how it sounds.

“Hear ye, hear ye, spAAaAaAatial audio on Clubhouse! It’s like surround sound, but w/ your own headphones. A more vibrant, human experience! Plus makes it much easier to tell who’s talking,” tweeted Clubhouse.

Its implementation does not include head tracking like Apple’s, making audio from Netflix and Apple TV Plus shows seem like it’s coming from your playback device as you move your head.

“Hearing a lot of people in rooms playing with this and figuring it out, in case you’re wondering, you will *not* hear spatial audio when you’re on stage — only when you’re in the audience,” Clubhouse said.

Spatial audio is having a moment in 2021 after Apple embraced it across the company’s product lines.

Clubhouse’s implementation of spatial audio first assigns a specific position to each speaker and then evenly distributes them around a room. It then applies HRTFs, or head-related transfer functions, similar to what we’ve seen used by Microsoft in the HoloLens to make it seem like you’re in the center of a conversation.

“The temporal and spectral cues used by our auditory system to determine the direction of arrival of a sound source can be expressed in head-related transfer functions (HRTFs),” Microsoft said in a blog.

“HRTFs are measurements that capture the directivity patterns of human ears, that is, the way sound, arriving from a certain direction, reaches the left and right ear. HRTFs are a function of source azimuth and elevation, distance, and frequency.”

Sony added 3D audio to the PS5 and followed the launch of the Amazon Echo Studio with its own object-based 360-degree speaker this year, as per a media report.

(With inputs from ANI)

Edited by Saptak Datta and Praveen Pramod Tewari

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