A survey of 3D audio through the browser : practitioner perspectives

Abstract

This paper examines the current eco-system of tools for implementing dynamic 3D audio through the browser, from the perspective of spatial sound practitioners. It presents a survey of some existing tools to assess usefulness, and ease of use. This takes the forms of case studies, interviews with other practitioners, and initial testing comparisons between the authors. The survey classifies and summarizes their relative advantages, disadvantages and potential use cases. It charts the specialist knowledge needed to employ them or enable others to.The recent and necessary move to online exhibition of works, has seen many creative practitioners grapple with a disparate eco-system of software. Such technologies are diverse in their both their motivations and applications. From formats which overcome the limits of WebGL’s lack of support for Ambisonics, to the creative deployment of Web Audio API (WAA), to third-party tools based on WAA, the field can seem prohibitively daunting for practitioners. The current range of possible acoustic results may be too unclear to justify the learning curve.Through this evaluation of the current available tools, we hope to demystify and make accessible these novel technologies to composers, musicians, artists and other learners, who might otherwise be dissuaded from engaging with this rich territory. This paper is based on a special session at Soundstack 2021

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