New - TOA Ambience Plugins
Posted: 9 June 2016
When placing mono or stereo material into a 3D mix, sometimes you do not want it to be localised precisely. Version 1.2.0 of the TOA Upmixers VST plugin library includes new plugins to allow stereo or mono ambiences to be spread out over whole regions of space.
This is done by splitting the audio into separate frequency bands and placing each band separately, to give the impression of sound coming from all directions.
The stereo version ("TOA Stereo Ambience") has a "Spread" control varying from 0 to 1. At 0, this pans the left and right stereo channels hard left and right (+/-90 degrees). At 0.5, the left channel is spread over the left hemisphere and the right channel is spread over the right hemisphere, so sound is distributed over the whole sphere while maintaining left/right separation. Values above 0.5 overlap the left and right channels.
This is quite different from our main stereo upmixer ("TOA Upmixer - Stereo") which spreads a stereo image out over a "front stage" in a much more conventional way. (The image can be moved from the front with rotation or other transformations.)
The mono version ("TOA Mono Ambience") always spreads sound over the whole sphere; you can use TOA Manipulator plugins to shape this if needed. This plugin has a "Movement" control which should normally be set to zero, or a very small value. Setting it higher results in frequencies swirling around you, which can be somewhat unsettling!
These plugins are intended to provide a simple way to introduce mono or stereo ambiences into TOA mixes in a way that does not create a strong "front stage". This is particularly relevant to Virtual Reality applications.