miniDSP Teams With Dirac To Deliver New Ambisonic USB Microphone

ambiMIK-1 with 3D audio processing designed to record immersive, spatial audio that can be played back over any stereo headphones.
The new ambiMIK-1 Ambisonic USB microphone from miniDSP.

miniDSP, a Hong Kong-based developer of digital signal processing platforms, announced the introduction of the new ambiMIK-1 Ambisonic USB microphone that incorporates 3D audio software from Dirac, which is headquartered in Sweden.

The ambiMIK-1 plugs directly into a standard USB port to capture stated 360-degree sound for a variety of applications. No sound card, external preamp, or XLR cables are required. The bundled Dirac 3D audio software — designed for the ambiMIK-1 microphone — is designed to allow producers to turn captured 3D sound into binaural audio for immersive listening through standard headphones or VR headsets.

“With the ambiMIK-1, we have democratized 3D audio recording, playback, and content creation,” states Tony Rouget, founder and CEO of miniDSP. “The ambiMIK-1’s unique combination of ultra-portability, high sample rate, and low price mean virtually anyone can record rich, high-quality, spatial audio, whether they’re capturing the immersion of a live music performance or the 360-degree soundscape of a virtual reality experience.”

Ambisonic microphones include multiple capsules for capturing sound from different directions. The ambiMIK-1 comes with four 14-millimeter, low-noise cardioid capsules, along with built-in analog-to-digital converters, an embedded preamplifier, and USB processor in a lightweight aluminum body. It’s capable of recording 32-bit, multichannel audio at sample rates up to 192 kHz.

miniDSP teamed up with Dirac for the custom virtual studio technology/audio unit (VST/AU) software plugin needed for editing and processing in Windows- and Mac-based digital audio workstations. For each of the ambiMIK-1’s four capsules, Dirac measured microphone response in 300 directions (1,200 total measurements) to develop the custom filters required for turning raw microphone recordings into 3D audio. The ambiMIK-1 with Dirac can output audio in Ambisonic B-format, often used for post-processing in virtual reality applications, or binaural format for listening to spatial sound with headphones.

“The custom solution we developed for miniDSP draws from our extensive research into 3D audio psychoacoustics and multichannel digital filter optimization,” says Mathias Johansson, Dirac co-founder & CEO. “It leverages our proprietary, dynamic head-related transfer function (HRTF) database to create highly accurate, localized sound for any 3D audio application. With the Dirac-enabled ambiMIK-1 microphone, content creators of all types can record dynamic, spatial sound that can then be experienced by fans over any headphones. It’s a technology once reserved for the professionals, now delivered to the masses.”

The ambiMIK-1 microphone comes with a license for the custom Dirac VST/AU plugin, a shielded USB cable, a mini tripod, and a wind screen. It’s available now for $349. Go here for more information.


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