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 (http://medleydb.weebly.com/description.html)
  • 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)