Educational Series: Basic Spatial Audio Mixing

I have started producing tutorial videos for my 3D-Audio class at New York University’s Music Technology program. This first video is an introduction to spatial audio tools and binaural audio. Here I re-propose them for the general audience.
The tutorial guides the students into how to use binaural audio beds from Dummy Heads, and how to mix those with object audio samples which are spatialized through plugins using underlying HRTF processing. Finally the video shows how to print a binaural render for 3D Audio reproduction over headphones.
The plugins showed are Ambeo Orbit by Sennheiser and SPARTA by Aalto University. I use REAPER as my DAW but the same plugins can be used over different ones.
Please listen with headphones or similar device.

Unearthing old projects #1 – A Virtual Surround Sound mix

A few years ago, I attended the 3D audio course at NYU Steinhardt taught by Dr. Roginska. This is the same course that I now have the honor to teach now in 2019. 
One of the assignments for that course was to create a Virtual Surround Sound mix of a 5.1 regular multichannel mix. Virtual Surround Sound is a way to enjoy multi-speaker content as 3D audio binaural format over headphones. It works by virtualizing each channel-based track through HRTF digital filters representing the auditory directional response of locations matching a regular 5.1 convention. 
To experience the 3D effect please listen using headphones!
1. Standard Stereo dowmix of 5.0 mix
2. 3D binaural VSS dowmix (use headphones)
  • For this assignment I used source material from MedleyDB (
  • Generic HRTFs were used, from the MIT database (KEMAR dummy)
  • No additional reverberation was added since tracks were already processed with artificial reverb.
  • Each source was assigned 1 or 2 virtual positions along a 5.0 configuration

(If I were to do this again, I would choose more dry source material and add artificial reverb myself at the mastering stage. Pre-baked reverberation does not virtualize well with directional HRTFs since that part of the sound is supposedly diffused)