Cutting-Edge 3D Sound For OpenAL Gaming
Most of our R&D centres around a family of techniques called "Higher Order Ambisonics" (HOA) which can produce 3D audio of a quality far beyond what stereo or conventional surround sound systems like 5.1 can deliver. The same material can also be played on many different speaker layouts.
Ambisonics and Gaming are perfectly matched because games mix their audio live and know exactly where sounds should come from in 3D space. This means there's a natural place to put these cutting-edge audio algorithms so they can produce fantastic sound for the gamer without exposing all the internal complexities of spherical harmonics, HOA decoding and the other fascinating things we work with!
Our Rapture3D products include an "OpenAL driver", which plugs into various PC video games. This driver acts like an audio hardware accelerator, but is actually software, using very advanced algorithms. It uses your normal sound card. Some OpenAL games include a version of it, some can be persuaded to use it easily and some more can be made to work if you're prepared to make modificiations to your system. Take a look at our compatible games page for more details.
Standard editions of Rapture3D use standard speaker layouts that you may have set up on your computer such as stereo, 5.1, 7.1 or 3D over headphones. We even support 3D7.1, which uses your 7.1 hardware but raises and lowers some speakers to give you better height resolution.
Our flagship product, Rapture3D "Advanced", goes much further and lets you set up your own custom speaker layouts. It takes a few minutes for it to calculate out how best to use a custom layout, but this only needs to be done once, and afterwards your games will make the best use it can of your speakers. This means that if you haven't put the speakers of your 7.1 system quite where you should have, you can tell Rapture3D and it will that into account. Or if you want to use a system with many more speakers for your virtual reality CAVE or cinema, you can. For instance, our test lab is currently set up with a completely bespoke 21.1 system, and sounds great!